Source says Nic Batum wants no part of the Trail Blazers


Source says Nic Batum wants no part of the Trail Blazers

By DWIGHT JAYNES (@dwightjaynes)

76 Update: Chris Haynes spoke with Nic Batum's agent regarding the situation. Be sure to read it here.
UPDATE:Batum is denying this report on Twitter, and others may deny, too. He is smart enough to know that if the Blazers wish, he's going to be back in Portland in the future and he doesn't want to have to deal with this. The Blazers have told him that they will match any and all offers -- meaning he'd have to come back next season.I'm not at all surprised he's denied this. He almost has to if he wants to stay in good graces with fans he may end up having to play in front of in the future.It's going to be interesting to see which side gives in -- Batum and his determined agent or the Trail Blazers.

Nic Batum does not want to return to the Portland Trail Blazers "under any circumstances for a variety of reasons," according to an NBA source close to the situation.

Batum, a free agent who visited the Minnesota Timberwolves this week, is said to have told the Blazers Tuesday that he does not want to return to the team.

Minnesota has reportedly offered Batum 45 million over four seasons as a free agent but is said to be willing to negotiate a sign-and-trade deal with the Trail Blazers for a package that might include players and future draft choices. Batum's agent tried to negotiate a contract extension during the season but believes the team low-balled him with an offer estimated around 6 million.

"Batum never wants to play in Portland again," the source said. "And has determined that Minnesota is the best for him and his family."

Apparently Batum has a relationship with Wolves point guard Rickey Rubio and while in Minnesota this week developed a relationship with the team's coach, Rick Adelman.

Oregon Ducks Men's Golf advances to NCAA Champions


Oregon Ducks Men's Golf advances to NCAA Champions

The No. 6 Oregon Ducks knocked off second-seed Illinois in the NCAA Men's Golf Championship semifinal on Tuesday with a 3-2 win, punching their ticket to Wednesday's final round. 

"It's a fairy tale," Oregon coach Casey Martin told reporters about playing behind a home crowd at the Eugene Country Club. "What an epic way to finish the season."

Oregon will play first-seed Texas in the final round. Texas will be seeking a fourth all-time national championship, while Oregon is in pursuit of its first.

Aaron Wise, a sophomore who is turning pro after the NCAAs, won the individual title for Oregon in stroke play and made the clinching putt in Oregon’s quarterfinal victory over LSU. 

It was uncertain if Texas star Beau Hossler would be able to play in the championship final due to a shoulder injury. However, Hossler tweeted that he would be fine, indicating that he intends to play in the final. 

Time to start the Kevin Durant to Portland conversation?


Time to start the Kevin Durant to Portland conversation?

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant will be the hottest free agent target this offseason, and while he has spent his entire NBA career with one team, that one team seems to be the one who is most likely to be left out in the cold. 

Before his season even ended, Durant was linked to the Washington Wizards, San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors, while other teams like the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers have had players take to social media to recruit the seven-time All-Star and NBA MVP. 

So, with the 2016-17 salary cap is reportedly expected to hit $92 million and will continue to rise, is it possible to throw the Trail Blazers in to the mix? Coming off a season in which the Trail Blazers had the lowest salary cap and rose to the levels of the Western Conference Semifinals, Neil Olshey has money to spend. With a team on the rise, Durant could find himself in a place that once passed him up in the NBA Draft. 

Durant can make more money in Oklahoma City because the Thunder have his Bird Rights, which allows him to earn up to 30 percent of the team's cap. Durant could sign a one-year contract with the Thunder and become a free agent next summer, allowing him to receive 35 percent of the team's salary cap. 

So, as the free agency circus officially begins next month, Durant to (insert team name here) is worth a discussion. 

Isaac and Suke discussed the prospects of Durant to Portland in the video above. 

Warriors create new NBA math and if you don’t understand it you’re doomed


Warriors create new NBA math and if you don’t understand it you’re doomed

I think there’s a big misunderstanding right now about why the Golden State Warriors have been so successful. And the reason I think that is because I continue to hear people say, “You can’t play their game. You can’t let them draw you into a three-point contest.”

I believe it’s quite the opposite. You MUST hit some threes against Golden State or you’re never going to catch them. What you can’t do is try to match the Warriors’ degree of difficulty on those three-point shots.

But more on that later.

For now, let me say that the Warriors are really good at the NBA’s new math. And many other franchises still aren’t figuring that out. So in many games it’s almost as if they’re playing an unfair contest where they get three points for their shots and the other team is getting two. And three is better than two.

In Game Six of the conference finals, the critical game at Oklahoma City, the Warriors made 21 three-point shots. The Thunder made three. Do the math, folks – Golden State had a 54-point advantage from the three-point line.

That’s a stat that’s extremely difficult to overcome by other means. You can talk about rebounds, second-chance points and free throws, but those 54 points are difficult to find in other categories.

In the final three games of the conference finals – all Warrior wins – Golden State outscored Oklahoma City 141-69 from the three-point line, while shooting better from three than two.

The only way to overcome that without making more threes is to just pound Golden State on the offensive boards and in the paint. But the Warriors make it difficult to do that by using small lineups that are hard for bigs to defend.

I wish the Thunder would have stuck with its big lineup more often and used Enes Kanter more frequently – just to facilitate more efficient work in the paint. It would have been an interesting experiment.

For years, the basketball statheads have been preaching to shoot either threes or layups – and doing away with the mid-range shots. Here’s a scoop: they were right.

You’ve got to wise up to the math here. Shooting threes is becoming a necessity if your opponent is doing it. And you don’t need to make as many as the Warriors do, you just need to not get buried under an avalanche of threes.

But that doesn’t mean you have to make the insanely difficult shots the Warriors take and make.

A three is a three – whether you’re making the shot from near halfcourt or just a hair behind the line in the corner. Stick to the easy ones and don’t try to play a H-O-R-S-E game with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson.

That’s the game you can’t win.

This is why I think the Trail Blazers are on the right track in the way they play, by the way. They are acquiring outside shooters (they could use a few more of them) and encourage three-point shooting when the shots make sense.

It’s the right way to play and Portland would be even better if it could find just one or two players proficient at offensive rebounding and inside scoring. And if one of those players is a rim protector, all the better.

If you can’t stop the other team’s threes, you better keep them from killing you at the rim.

And that’s just the basic NBA new math.

Portland Steel take tough loss against LA Kiss, 54-42


Portland Steel take tough loss against LA Kiss, 54-42

ANAHEIM - The Portland Steel lost a tough game against the LA KISS, 54-42, in front of 7,150 at Honda Center on Saturday night. The loss extends the Portland losing streak to eight games to start the season.

Quarterback Shane Austin got the start under center for the Steel (0-8) and completed 23-of-42 passes for 223 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. He added one touchdown rushing. Steel wide receiver Tyrone Goard hauled in nine passes for a game-high 103 yards and a career-game high four touchdowns.

Goard hauled in a 31-yard touchdown from Austin to open the Portland scoring in the 1st quarter. At the end of one, the KISS led 14-7.

Austin would rush for a touchdown early in the 2nd quarter. A barrage of touchdowns by Goard and KISS wide receiver Donovan Morgan would close out the half. Each would catch two touchdowns to end the half. The game was knotted at 28.

Goard scored the only touchdown in the third quarter when he hauled in an 8-yard touchdown. His fourth touchdown of the game set a new career-game high. At the end of the 3rd quarter the Steel led 35-28.

Morgan, the J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the game, would catch his fourth touchdown of the game to open the final quarter. Steel wide receiver Gilson would catch his lone touchdown of the game on a 21-yard touchdown as he streaked down the sideline and into the crowd. He held on to the football and gave Portland a 42-35 lead.

KISS fullback Rory Nixon would rush for a touchdown with less than four minutes remaining, a missed extra point gave the Steel a one-point lead. A mishandled kickoff return in the end zone by Steel kick returner Christian Wise would end up in the hands of Jamil Merrell to give the KISS the lead. On the ensuing kickoff, KISS place kicker Joey Cejudo was able to send the football off the cross bar and was recovered by LA’s Fredrick Obi. The KISS would convert that turnover into another touchdown and gave them a 54-42 advantage.

Portland suffered two injuries on the night, newly activated wide receiver Darryl Thompson suffered a hamstring injury during warmups. Defensive back Tim Shelley II slammed into the wall during the final LA KISS touchdown before the half and was ruled out for the rest of the game with a hip injury.

The Steel will return to Moda Center on Friday, June 3 to face the Tampa Bay Storm. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. For all ticket information and for the most updated information on the Portland Steel, head to

Oregon Softball season ends in Super Regionals

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Oregon Softball season ends in Super Regionals

EUGENE, Ore. — Two outs away.

Up 1-0 in the seventh inning over UCLA, with the chance to sweep their NCAA Super Regional series Sunday at Jane Sanders Stadium, the Oregon softball team squandered that lead and then lost a tiebreaking third game later in the day. The Bruins moved on to the Women’s College World Series, while the Ducks played their final game with a record-setting senior class that included pitcher Cheridan Hawkins, catcherJanelle Lindvall and outfielders Koral Costa and Alyssa Gillespie.

After romping over the Bruins in Saturday’s series opener, the Ducks (48-10) turned to freshman pitcher Megan Kleist in the second game Sunday. She held UCLA in check through six innings, before surrendering a game-tying home run in the seventh. The Bruins (40-14-1) went on to win in nine innings, 2-1, then beat Oregon’s ace Hawkins in the deciding game, again by a 2-1 score.

“Right now it hurts a lot,” UO coach Mike White said. “Especially for the seniors, who can’t go back out there and make amends.”

Oregon’s senior class will be able to look back on an unprecedented four Pac-12 championships during its time in Eugene. But the group will also remember frustration on the national level; the Ducks lost both of their games in Oklahoma City last spring, and couldn’t get back this season in what set up as the program’s best shot yet at contending for an NCAA title.

“It’s been a good four years,” Hawkins said. “But this is a hard day.”

Sunday began with promise for the Ducks, the visiting team in the first game of the day. Sophomore Jenna Lilley tripled to lead off the top of the first, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Nikki Udria. But Oregon couldn’t muster any more runs off UCLA starter Selina Ta’amilo (19-5).

Kleist (17-6) made the 1-0 lead stand up until there was one down in the seventh, with Oregon just two outs away from OKC. That’s when Gabrielle Maurice homered to tie the game, breaking a streak of 11 2/3 scoreless innings by Kleist in her two postseason starts this spring. She remained on the mound into the ninth, when Mysha Sataraka led off with a double and scored two batters later on a single by Madeline Jelenicki.

“They came up with the big hit,” White said. “That changed all the momentum in the world, and we just couldn’t recover. …

“I think Megan Kleist proved to everybody why she should have started that game. It was our offense that let us down, it wasn’t our pitching.”

Continuing the string of improbable events, Hawkins then lost for the first time in 11 starts. And she did so due in part to a couple of walks, which have been few and far between during the senior left-hander’s late-season resurgence.

Hawkins (24-4) walked the leadoff hitter in Sunday’s nightcap on four pitches, the runner eventually scoring on an error. Again in the fourth, Hawkins walked the leadoff hitter, who scored on a double by Sataraka.

The Ducks pushed across a run in the bottom of the seventh, when Lilley’s two-out double made it 2-1. Udria followed with a line drive to left field, but it was snared for the final out of the game.

Oregon squandered a glorious chance in the first, unable to score after getting runners at second and third with one out, and loading the bases with two out. UCLA reliever Paige McDuffee (6-1) settled in after that, with the Ducks unable to get another runner into scoring position until the sixth, when Lauren Lindvall popped out to second after two UCLA errors put UO runners on the corners.

“They gave us a little bit different look today than yesterday,” Janelle Lindvallsaid. “As hitters we were trying to communicate, trying to come up with an approach that would work, and maybe we switched around too much. That’s one of those things you’ll never know, and that’s what sucks about it.”

What trail does Portland blaze next?


What trail does Portland blaze next?

Written by Derek Harguth 

Coming off the heels of a historic ‘15-’16 season, Rip City is still left buzzing about their Portland Trail Blazers. Although their season ended on what most consider to be a proud note, the city finds itself left with more questions than answers. One of the defining characteristics that has always been true about Blazer fans, is that they all have a very good memory. Good, bad, or indifferent, they all know who the team has been, where the team has been, and what the team has been over the course of the franchise’s history. As many highs as this team has had, it’s had its fair share of haunting history as well. And as magical as this last season was, don’t think for one second that fans have forgotten about the offseason leading up to it. Knowing what they know about both the current situation and the last, Rip City can only ask what’s next?

For those of you still hungover from all the Blazer booze, remember that last offseason was the one where ⅘ of the starters left the team. From last year’s roster to the current one, only five players were on both. It was every team’s worst nightmare. Obviously, you don’t hear anyone in Portland complaining today. The team that was then created for this season was eventually embraced and beloved as if “Portland Meltdown 2K15” never happened. But it did, and we’d all be wise to not forget that, as it could be the key influence in what and who we prioritize this offseason. At this point,we all know that both the organization and the players that left had their reasons for their roles in events that unfolded last offseason. Some had issues with individual roles, simple issues of money, contracts, or just lack of morale. Depending on how you look at it, some chalk it up to just being the nature of the sports business. Some say it was selfishness in the locker room. Others say it was poor leadership in the front office. However you want to spin it, at the end of the day, one thing is incontrovertible: This city deserves a team that’s here to stay.

It doesn’t matter who’s on it, Trail Blazer fans will always commit to a Blazer team that commits to them. If you look back at the season, you’ll remember that this team didn’t just earn our respect because they got the wins; they earned our respect because of how they got the wins. When they realized they had nothing to lose, they threw caution to the wind. They became fearless. Pure talent is great and all, but in Rip City, we love the work horse and the underdog more. And whenever this time of year rolls around, people start debating how to prioritize the three core options: current roster, draft picks, and free agents. This year, it is quite clear that they need to protect the team they have first.

There’s potential value in both free agency and in the draft, but at such a delicate time for this franchise, keeping the critical pieces of this team together must be priority number one. General Manager Neil Olshey will always tell you that he’s a big believer in leveraging the draft system. But he will also tell you that he will never make a move just to make a move. Whether you agree with everything he’s done or not, that’s the kind of thinking we need this offseason. So in that regard, we should thank our lucky stars that the fate of this team currently rests in his hands. Because if nothing else, he understands that obviously, sacrifices must be made to achieve the ultimate goal. But he also understands that they can’t sell their soul to do it.

49ers' Armstead, Buckner 'have big plans' to dominate NFL


49ers' Armstead, Buckner 'have big plans' to dominate NFL

Not often do two college teammates in the same position group reunite in the NFL as first-round picks.

That's exactly what happened in San Francisco when the 49ers selected defensive linemen Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner in back-to-back drafts.

And the two defenders couldn't be more excited for the opportunity, and plan to pick up where they left off.

"I feel like in college, we complemented each other very well," Armstead told the team's official website. "You couldn't focus on either one of us because you had either me or him on the other side. We have big plans playing together, trying to dominate people."

Armstead and Buckner each list on the team's website at 6-foot-7, with the latter being eight pounds heavier at 300 even.


Warriors outlast Thunder, punch ticket to Finals


Warriors outlast Thunder, punch ticket to Finals

OAKLAND – They beat the odds, clobbering them into submission.

Facing a 3-1 deficit in the Western Conference Finals, the Warriors rallied to take three successive games over Oklahoma City, finishing the epic comeback with a 96-88 victory in Game 7 Monday night before a delirious sellout crowd at Oracle Arena.

Stephen Curry scored 36 points and Klay Thompson fired in 21, as the Warriors become the 10th team to overcome a 3-1 deficit in the NBA playoffs – and the first to do so in the West finals.

Draymond Green added 11 points and also had a team-high nine rebounds, as the Warriors battled the bigger Thunder nearly even on the glass, 47-46.

Curry splashed 32 3-pointers in the series, the most ever for a player in a seven-game playoff series.

Ratcheting up the defense, the Warriors overcome a 42-point first half, their lowest total at home all season. They trailed by as much as 13 before storming back.

Kevin Durant scored 27 points to lead the Thunder. Russell Westbrook added 19.


Timbers drawn into Group B for CONCACAF CLT


Timbers drawn into Group B for CONCACAF CLT

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers have been drawn into Group B of the 2016-17 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League tournament alongside C.D. Dragon of El Salvador and Club Deportivo Saprissa of Costa Rica. The CONCACAF Champions League draw, which set the eight, three-team pairings that comprise the tournament’s group stage, was held Monday night at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach, Fla. The full tournament schedule will be announced at a later date while the eventual CONCACAF Champions League winner will earn a berth in the 2017 FIFA Club World Cup.

The 2016-17 edition of the competition marks Portland’s second appearance in the CONCACAF Champions League tournament over the last three seasons after qualifying as MLS Cup champions in 2015. The Timbers previously appeared in the 2014-15 edition of the tournament by finishing with the best overall record from the conference opposite the MLS Supporters’ Shield winner in 2013.

The Timbers will play both Saprissa and C.D. Dragon at home and away in a round-robin format and the club with the most points from the group will advance to the tournament’s knockout round. Both home games against C.D. Dragon and Saprissa are included in Timbers Annual Memberships. Further ticket details will be announced at a later date once the group-stage schedule has been finalized.

Based in El Salvador, C.D. Dragon qualified for the 2016-17 CONCACAF Champions League after winning the 2016 Clausura of the Primera Division in El Salvador for the first time in club history. Founded in 1939, C.D. Dragon have won the league twice, finishing runner-up on two occasions in 1951 and 1953.

Club Deportivo Saprissa, who have appeared in the CONCACAF Champions League on five occasions, returns to this year’s edition of the tournament, marking their third consecutive appearance. Founded in 1935, Saprissa have won three Champions Cup titles, winning in 1993, 1995 and 2005.

The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) is the governing body of football in the region, and one of six continental authorities that administer the sport along with FIFA, the world governing body. Founded in 1962 as the CONCACAF Champions Cup, the CONCACAF Champions League tournament adopted its current format in 2008 and crowns the continental club champion among a field of 24 teams representing CONCACAF member associations. The 2016-17 CONCACAF Champions League tournament marks the 52nd overall edition of the annual international club competition.

Luke Heimlich named Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week


Luke Heimlich named Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week

SAN FRANCISCO – Oregon State sophomore Luke Heimlich has been named the Pac-12 Conference’s Pitcher of the Week Monday, just a day after throwing his first career complete game.

Heimlich struck out a career-high eight in a shutout victory over UCLA, clinching the series sweep of the Bruins to complete the regulars season. He did not issue a walk and surrendered only five hits. The Bruins were 0-for-6 against Heimlich with runners in scoring position. 

The win went to Heimlich, who improved to 7-4 on the year, lowering his earned run average to 3.53 in the process. 

Heimlich was one of four Oregon State pitchers who helped keep the Bruins scoreless the entire series – the first time in school history the Beavers shut out an opponent three consecutive times. Heimlich, Travis Eckert, Max Engelbrekt and Bryce Fehmel combined to limit UCLA to 18 hits and two walks over 27 innings.

The honor is the first of Heimlich’s career, and it gives the Beavers four Pitchers of the Week for the second consecutive season. Eckert, twice, and Drew Rasmussen have also been honored this season.

Oregon State student-athletes have been named Pitcher of the Week 81 times, second only to Stanford’s 82.

For more information on the Oregon State baseball team, follow the club’s official Twitter account at, by Facebook at or on Instagram at