Stotts early favorite for Coach of the Year? His players think so and they could be right

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Stotts early favorite for Coach of the Year? His players think so and they could be right

Tualatin, Ore. – Most didn't expect the Portland Trail Blazers to be a team in contention this soon. It was suppose to be a retooling period, but so far, it's been anything but that.

You can credit LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum, Wesley Matthews, JJ Hickson or the top rookie thus far in Damian Lillard for the recent success the Trail Blazers are experiencing at the moment.

And rightfully so. Each player has played an integral role in why the Trail Blazers are four games above .500 and why they are currently sitting in the seventh spot in the Western Conference standings.

But let us not forget who has made these pieces fit...Trail Blazers Head Coach Terry Stotts. And according to his players, he should be a serious early Coach of the Year candidate.

“I definitely think he is [an early Coach of the Year candidate] because of the way he handles our team,” Lillard said. “What everybody expected from us, it wasn't this. I can remember when people were saying 'We don't expect much' and 'It's going to be a rough year,' and in my head, I believed in our team and he did, too. As long as we continue on the same road as we are now, I think it's definitely a possibility he could win the award.”

It's been well documented what the Golden State Warriors have been able to accomplish under second-year Head Coach Mark Jackson. Last season the Warriors were 23-43 (lockout year). This season they are one win away (22-11) from surpassing that win total and are holding down the fifth spot in the Western Conference.
While not trying to take any credit away from Coach Jackson, Batum just wants everybody to keep in mind the differences between the Warriors and the Trail Blazers.

“Mark Jackson has the same team as last year. Our team is a totally different team,” Batum said. “We got a lot of young guys and people didn't expect us to be 19-15 in January and to be in the seventh and eighth spot after 34 games. You got to give credit to the coaching staff and Coach Stotts because he's doing a great job with us.”

The Trail Blazers have won 11 of their last 14 games and haven taken eight straight at the Rose Garden. They are 5-0 in overtime periods and in games decided by six or fewer points this season, they are an amazing 10-2. That speaks to the late in-game adjustments Stotts has made when the game calls for touch, quick, accurate decisions.

The Jan. 1 win over the New York Knicks was a prime example: Hickson was working on securing his 19th double-double of the season and was well on his way with 18 points (9-for-11 from the field) and nine rebounds. Stotts subbed him out the game to insert Jared Jeffries with 5:05 left in the third quarter.

Luke Babbitt started the fourth and played the entire quarter at the four, moving Aldridge to the five to allow Babbitt's three-point presence to keep the court spread. Babbitt only went 1-for-3 from distance in that span, but Lillard, Aldridge, and Batum were able to maneuver in space because of No. 8.

Making the call to sit your starting center and best rebounder the last 17 minutes of a tight game is a bold move, and it's a move not too many coaches are willing to make in the NBA.

That's why this team is where they are now.

“A lot of it is feel, trust and sometimes it's just searching,” Stotts said. “That New York game in particular, JJ had a great first half. We built the lead with Luke in the game. I didn't want to screw it up. If you can find something that's working, you want to stick with it, but at the same time, you don't want to overplay your hand. It's a tough call, but those are some of the decisions you have to make as Head Coach.”

Not to mention that the Trail Blazers have a bench that is producing an NBA low 17.4 points per game. Yet still, Stotts is finding ways to make it work and win ball games.

“I would definitely say he should be Coach of the Year right now,” Aldridge said. “I think he has taken a bunch of pieces and he's meshed them together to put us in position to win every night and to put us in position to be in the playoffs right now. So he definitely deserves to be recognized for what he's done.”

Stotts says he was well aware what people were saying about this Trail Blazer squad when the roster was shaped and that didn't change his goal at all: The goal pf making the playoffs.

“Every situation that I've been in as a Head Coach or an assistant, you just try and do the best job that you can,” he said. “There's a lot of noise out there and one of the thing that you find out, that you have to coach your team and coach your players. Communication is important. You can't get caught up in all that [media talk}, good or bad. We want to make the playoffs. We can be a playoff team. We're not right now, but we can be.”

Despite the Trail Blazers impressive start, Stotts isn't content with where they are at the moment. He says their defense still needs to improve, the trust on offense could be better, and bringing it consistently on the road is a must.

However, he's happy with the progress his team has made from the beginning of the year.

“I'm pleased,” Stotts said. “I'm pleased with how we've comeback from a couple of four-game losing streaks. We had a bad road-trip and then we took advantage of our homestand. I'm pleased with the way we compete most nights and I'm pleased with our improvement. From day one, what I wanted from this team was to compete and to get better and build championship habits. I think we are doing that, we're not there yet, but I think we are doing that and that's the part that's most pleasing.”

As for the Coach of the Year talk, Stotts says that's no concern of his. His main focus is the improvement of this team and letting everything else play out.

“The record at the end of the season will be whatever it is, but as long as those big picture items are accomplished, that's all I'm concerned about,” Stotts said.

Practice Update:

LaMarcus Aldridge did not attend practice today. He was visiting the doctor about his right wrist that has been bothering him off and on this season.

Right now, Stotts doesn't know the severity.

"I don't know. Obviously it's bothering him so there's always concern. He's been playing with it. So hopefully it doesn't get worse and it gets better."

Update: X-rays came back negative and a MRI confirms right wrist sprain. Aldridge is probable for Thursday's game vs. Miami.

Top 10 things to know about Trail Blazers' media day (No's 6-10)

Top 10 things to know about Trail Blazers' media day (No's 6-10)

As the Trail Blazers’ arrived at Monday’s media day, we knew they were a deeper and more expensive team than last season.

But we also found out some other interesting tidbits.

Some players had developed new shots. Some had adopted a new mindset. And others had a new position.

To help you sift through the day’s events, here are the Top 10 things you need to know from Monday’s four-hour media day, including the sixth-through-10th most important storylines.

The top five storylines can be found here.

6. Allen Crabbe and his “small things”

There will be a lot of eyes on wing Allen Crabbe this season, eyes looking to see if he is worth the four-year, $75 million deal he signed in July.

On Monday, there was nothing to see (practice doesn’t start until Tuesday), but there was plenty to hear as the fourth-year player revealed his offseason emphasis, which included three facets that should be encouraging to coach Terry Stotts and Blazers fans.

  1. Becoming better with the ball in his hands.
  2. Adding a post game to his repertoire.
  3. Becoming a better defensive rebounder.

Crabbe called his points of emphasis “small things,” but if they come to fruition, they will be huge to the Blazers and Crabbe’s stake as an $18 million player.

The last time we saw Crabbe he was one of the team’s better perimeter defenders and a solid three-point shooter (39.4 percent last season). Outside of those two very valuable assets, Crabbe’s game was limited.

He was shaky with the ball in the open court. Had trouble creating his own shot off the dribble. And he was a rather non-existent factor as a rebounder (2.7 last season), with one notable missed defensive rebound against the Clippers in last year’s playoffs.

So if Crabbe just adds two of his three areas of emphasis, it would greatly enhance his chances of living up to his monster contract.

One thing Crabbe made certain on Monday: Just because he might be sleeping in silk sheets now doesn’t mean he will be resting on his laurels.

“It’s not like I’m coming in relaxed because I got a new contract, or because I played last year,’’ Crabbe said. “I know as fast as it came, it can be gone just as quick.’’

The Crabbe-Evan Turner competition will be interesting to watch in the preseason, and it sounds like Crabbe is anxious for Tuesday’s training camp to arrive.

“That’s where you earn your money, where you earn your minutes,’’ Crabbe said of the preseason practices. “I want to go out there and I want to play and prove to people I’m getting those minutes because I’m worthy of them.’’

If he adds ball handling, a post game or better defensive rebounding, he will be more than worthy.

7. CJ McCollum and being at ease

Probably the most unsettling words on Monday for Blazers’ opponents came from CJ McCollum, who said he is entering this season more at ease mentally.

“I think there is less pressure,’’ McCollum said.

Last year, McCollum said it was somewhat “nerve wracking” for him to produce in his third season after spending most of his first two seasons injured and out of the rotation.

After a breakout season last year (20.8 points, 4.3 assists, team-best 41.7 percent three-point shooting), McCollum says he enters this season feeling more “comfortable.”

“I know what it takes to do it,’’ he said.

Built into comfort is a more nuanced understanding of the game, both from what the Blazers are doing and what the opponents are trying to take away.

“I’m understanding the game better, thinking the game through,’’ McCollum said.

Already one of the game’s more crafty shot makers, McCollum figures to be even more dangerous with the comfort a year of experience and knowledge brings.

8. Al-Farouq Aminu and the move to power forward.

One of the more underrated facets of the Blazers’ late-season push and success in the playoffs was the effectiveness of Al-Farouq Aminu at power forward. But internally, the Blazers knew his shift from small forward to power forward was a difference maker, so during his exit interview last May, coach Terry Stotts posed a question:

How do you feel about moving to power forward next season?

Aminu, who is as carefree as they come on the team, shrugged his shoulders and gave a familiar reply … “I just want to play.’’

“He asked my comfort level,’’ Aminu said. “I told him it was pretty high. It’s something that if it’s in the best interest of the team, it’s something I want to do.’’

So heading into the season, the team has made no secret that Aminu will be the team’s starting power forward, in part based on their analytics team projecting a 53-win season with him at power forward and in the mid-40’s with him at small forward.

A dogged and versatile defender, Aminu was a surprise offensive weapon last season with streaks of three-point shooting (36.1 percent last season) and huge rebounding nights, even if his ball handling looked more like an exercise of hot potato. The ability to have a three-point threat at power forward helps create one of the key components to Stotts’ flow offense: spacing.

Of course, Aminu will also see some time at small forward, adding another card to Stotts’ deck of versatile players.  That makes Aminu one of the Blazers’ central players moving forward, and he doesn’t seem to care which forward spot he plays.

“If I’m on the court,’’ Aminu said, “I’m happy.’’

9. Ed Davis and his added bulk

There are two factors that explain everything you need to know about Ed Davis and his summer:

1. He lifted weights five times a week.

2. He estimated he ate five-to-six meals a day.

“I cranked up the calories,’’ Davis said.

The result? An estimated 15-to-20 pounds in added weight (he says he’s about 245 pounds today), which includes noticeably larger biceps from a year ago.

The Blazers’ top big man reserve was among the team’s better defenders last season, but if he had a defensive weakness it was holding his ground against the brawn of players like DeMarcus Cousins, Brook Lopez and DeAndre Jordan. It’s why the team felt the need to go out and secure a rim protector like Festus Ezeli.

With the team exercising caution in bringing Ezeli back from an offseason knee procedure, Davis will be a key element to the team’s early season interior defense, and the front office has to be happy to see his thicker arms and more dense frame.

10. The battle for the 15th spot

Who wins spots in the starting lineup won’t be the only competition at hand during the next month. Olshey brought in an intriguing stable of talent to challenge holdover Luis Montero for the 15th and final roster spot.

The options for the final roster spot are varied, from guard Tim Quarterman, to forward Grant Jerrett, to center Greg Stiemsma.

Stotts said he will make sure he takes time every day from his evaluations of lineups and combinations to monitor the competition for the 15th spot.

“That’s what entire month of October is for,’’ Stotts said. “You don’t want to have preconceived notions but that’s why you bring guys in. I’ll keep an eye on it daily because it’s the decision we will have to make at some point.’’

Top 10 things to know about Trail Blazers' media day

Top 10 things to know about Trail Blazers' media day

As the Trail Blazers’ arrived at Monday’s media day, we knew they were a deeper and more expensive team than last season.

But we also found out some other interesting tidbits.

Some players had developed new shots. Some had adopted a new mindset. And others had a new position.

To help you sift through the day’s events, here are the Top 10 things you need to know from Monday’s four-hour media day, starting with the top five most important storylines.

1.Mason Plumlee says he has developed a mid-range jumper.

Nothing was potentially bigger Monday than the oh-by-the-way revelation from the Blazers starting center that he had developed a mid-range jumper this summer.

Plumlee cautioned the development is “not a storyline,” but anybody who has followed the Blazers understands what this could mean to the team’s success.

Plumlee last season was an exceptional passer. He was a solid rebounder. And he was supremely athletic for his size and position.

But he was also painfully non-existent as an offensive threat.

When he would receive passes from Damian Lillard or CJ McCollum in the middle of defenses last season, Plumlee wouldn’t even entertain the thought of shooting. Instead, he would look to only pass, even though the defenses were playing off him and daring him to shoot.

Even without the threat of a shot, Plumlee was a dangerous weapon. Just ask the Los Angeles Clippers, who were torched by Plumlee in the first round of the 2016 playoffs to the tune of 8.0 points, 13.2 rebounds and 5.7 assists.

Now, if Plumlee has indeed developed a reliable shot around the free throw line, it will force defenses to be more honest in guarding him, making him not only a bigger scoring threat, but also a factor in creating better spacing for the Blazers, which will allow for him to better pick apart defenses with his sharp passing.

Last season, Plumlee might have taken five mid-range jumpers, usually to beat the shot clock. So will we really see Plumlee consistently shooting mid-range jumpers this season?

“For sure,’’ Plumlee said on Monday.

The fourth-year center said this summer he broke down his shooting form much like a golfer studies and changes his swing.

 “I’m happier with my form going into the season,’’ he said. “I really broke down my shot this offseason. I’m looking forward to expanding my game within our offense, just being more prepared for the same situations.’’

 Plumlee, who early last season made adjustments to his free throw stroke with great success, says his shot will look different this season.

 “Look, I’m not here telling you all I’m going to make every shot I take,’’ Plumlee said. “That’s something I felt was going to be open, the way we play basketball. To me, it’s not a storyline or anything. It’s going to be taken within our offense and it’s something I’m looking forward to improving upon. I’m not here as a finished product … but it’s something to be worked on each day and taken advantage of in games.’’

By the way, Plumlee was also singled out by team captain Damian Lillard as a player who impressed during offseason pickup games. Lillard said he was impressed with how Plumlee was moving – footwork being another facet Plumlee said he worked on this summer. Lillard also estimated that Plumlee took 20 charges during pickup games.

Whether all of this translates to the games remains to be seen. But how much Plumlee has evolved offensively will be a key subplot to the Blazers’ preseason.

2.Word from the players: Maurice Harkless opening eyes

No player on Monday was mentioned more by his teammates than Maurice Harkless.

Damian Lillard recalled being on the losing end of pickup games at the team’s facility because Harkless couldn’t miss with his outside shot.

Unsolicited, CJ McCollum brought up Harkless’ improvement.

And newcomer Evan Turner took note first of the “unreal guard play,” then remarked on the versatility and athleticism of Harkless.  

Harkless, whose late-season insertion into the starting lineup at small forward helped change the team, said he spent much of his summer altering his shot.

The biggest change, Harkless said, is he no longer looks at the ball as it is leaving his hands. And judging from Lillard’s experience of being on the losing end of pickup games because of Harkless’ shot, the adjustment is working.

“It’s really helped a lot,’’ Harkless said. “It’s nothing mechanical. A couple of guys have been telling me that for a while, but I spent the whole summer buying into it. I would have guys watching my eyes the whole time.’’

Like Plumlee, if Harkless shows improvement with his shot, it could be a game-changer for the Blazers. His value last season was in his defensive versatility in being able to guard anyone from Chris Paul to Klay Thompson to Draymond Green, and his ability to get rebound baskets or scores off slashes to the basket.

If there was a downside, Harkless shot 27.9 percent from three-point range, and he wasn’t encouraged to take mid-range shots. Now, if his shot has improved, Harkless could be a complete player who could make coach Terry Stotts’ job of doling out playing time even tougher.

“I’m just another guy on the team, trying to get minutes,’’ Harkless said. “That’s up to coach to decide. We are all just pieces to the puzzle – he’s supposed to put it together.’’

If Harkless has a more consistent outside shot, he becomes a much more important piece to that Blazers’ puzzle.

3. Meyers’ mindset: Leonard free of pressure, negativity

Nobody on Monday was more introspective and honest than Meyers Leonard, who was stunningly blunt about his mental struggles last season and his approach to this season.

Leonard, who says he is ahead of schedule on his recovery from April shoulder surgery and will begin full-contact practicing on Oct. 8, said last season was “by far the most stressful of my life, without a doubt.’’

Between turning down a $40 million contract extension in November, to trying to play through a separated shoulder early in the season, Leonard said his mind was never right last season. He said for the first time in his life, he feared failing.

“I told everybody I was fine,’’ Leonard said. “I wasn’t.”

 It’s what many figured throughout his struggles last season, when he averaged 8.4 points and 5.1 rebounds and was replaced in the starting lineup by Noah Vonleh: his biggest hurdle was between his ears, not the job in front of him on the court.

He says he has freed his mind of the pressure that comes with being a self-proclaimed people-pleaser with the help of journaling. He started on July 17 with writing in a “gratitude journal” with which he begins each day documenting what he was grateful for the day before.

Later, he writes in his “mindset journal” which answers his “Why?” each day   (i.e. why wake up?) by stressing his core values. 

“When you lose your why, you lose your way,’’ Leonard said.

The goal of these exercises is to flood his mind with positive thoughts, which he hopes translates to the court.

Leonard, of course, could be one of the most unique and potent weapons on the Blazers. As one of the game’s top three-point shooting 7-footers and a solid mid-range shooter he provides spacing that enables Lillard and McCollum to attack the rim easier. And last year,  Leonard was the best Blazers big man in guarding physical offensive centers like DeMarcus Cousins, Marc Gasol and Greg Monroe.

The potential is there, but so too has been the getting caught out of defensive position, his propensity to foul, and his tentative nature to take open shots.

Now, with a surgically-repaired shoulder and a 4-year, $41 million contract, his mind is cleared of what stressed him last season, and his focus has shifted to what he can do, instead of what he hasn’t done.

On the court, he says he worked this summer to get his shot off quicker, hone his mid-range shot and further develop his post game, which included work with facing up much like Dirk Nowitzki and Tim Duncan.

But it is clear that Leonard won’t make his full impact until he gets his mind right, and he appears to at least have started that journey, if not made headway. Part of that process is tempering even his own expectations. He says he doesn’t believe he will figure everything out until he is 27. He turns 25 in February.

“Mentally, I’m in the best place in my life,’’ Leonard said.

4. Damian Lillard’s health and conditioning

One of the undercurrents of the season will be whether Damian Lillard’s plantar fasciitis resurfaces in his left foot.

Last December, the painful condition that is centered in his heel, became so troublesome that Lillard missed seven games.

Lillard on Monday said his foot “feels great” even though there are days he thinks about it.

“But it hasn’t caused any pain,’’ Lillard said.

Lillard is well known for his relentless workout regiment and his emphasis on honing his skills, but interestingly he said his focus this summer was more broad.

“My conditioning and my strength in my legs and health is what focused on the most,’’ Lillard said. “The stronger I am and the better shape I’m in, then I can be more efficient … that’s what’s most important – get to the end of the game and still be effective.’’

5. Festus Ezeli and his knees: Signed not for October but later

One of the more telling quotes of Monday came from Neil Olshey, the Blazers’ president of basketball operations, in regard to the organization’s plan for center Festus Ezeli, one of the team’s free agent signees.

“Sometimes there are signings that are not about Oct. 1,’’ Olshey said. “They are about later in the season.’’

That is the case with Ezeli, the muscular center who was signed to a two-year (partially guaranteed) contract because of balky knees. In August, Ezeli had a platelet-rich-plasma treatment done on his left knee, the same knee that was operated on in February, which sidelined him for 31 games while he was with Golden State. In 2013-2014, Ezeli did not play because of surgery to his right knee.

“The good news is we have a lot of depth at that position and can be patient,’’ Olshey said, referring to Mason Plumlee, Ed Davis and Meyers Leonard.

After the Aug. 23 procedure to his left knee, the Blazers estimated Ezeli’s return at six weeks, which would be a mid-October return. Ezeli on Monday said he started running last week.

“My knee is getting better,’’ he said. “It’s getting better and getting stronger. We are going to go based on feel. There is no rush. We just want to do everything right.’’

Trail Blazers FanFest slated for October 2nd

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Trail Blazers

Trail Blazers FanFest slated for October 2nd

Fans will have their first opportunity to watch the 2016-17 Portland Trail Blazers live in action when the team holds its 12th annual Wells Fargo Fan Fest on Sunday, Oct. 2, at the Moda Center.

The free event features first-come, first-served general admission seating, with doors opening at 3 p.m. The afternoon will be headlined by an intra-squad scrimmage at 4 p.m.

Free family passes are available now at all Wells Fargo branches in Oregon and Southwest Washington. Parking on the Rose Quarter campus will be free, subject to availability. Fans may click on the link at http://www.nba.com/blazers/fanfest to download their tickets.

Wells Fargo Fan Fest is a great opportunity for fans to get an up-close look at this year’s Trail Blazers, including NBA All-Star Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Meyers Leonard, Allen Crabbe, Al Farouq Aminu and more.

Fans will also get a chance to see performances by this year’s BlazerDancers and Stunt Team, and receive prize giveaways from team mascot Blaze the Trail Cat.

The Trail Blazers Foundation and Wells Fargo are taking it to the court once again to offer $100,000 in grants for schools across Oregon and Southwest Washington in support of their academic, art, athletic or community programs. Visit trailblazers.com/takeittothecourt between Oct. 2, 2016 and Jan. 1, 2017, to apply for up to $10,000 for your school.

Trail Blazers add Greg Stiemsma to training camp roster

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USATI

Trail Blazers add Greg Stiemsma to training camp roster

UPDATE from TRAIL BLAZERS PR: 

The Portland Trail Blazers have signed center Greg Stiemsma to a training camp contract, it was announced today by president of basketball operations Neil Olshey.

In four NBA seasons with Boston, Minnesota, New Orleans and Toronto, Stiemsma (6-11, 260) has averages of 3.2 points (50.9% FG, 70.5% FT), 3.3 rebounds, 0.5 assists, 1.14 steals and 15.0 minutes in 203 career games (42 starts).

He will wear No. 54 for the Trail Blazers.

----

The Portland Trail Blazers are bolstering their fall camp roster, this time with a big man. 

In a report from on Twitter by Adrian Wojanorowski of The Vertical, 

Stiemsma is not new to the NBA. He's 30. After four seasons in international and D-League play, in which he earned 2010 NBA D-League Defensive Player of the year, he got his chance in the NBA with the Boston Celtics. In his 203 career NBA games in which he's suited up for Boston, Minnesota, New Orelans and Toronto, Stiemsma has averaged 3.2 points and 3.3 rebounds. He's started 42 games.  

His most recent stint in the NBA came in Toronto, where he played in 17 games during the 2014-15 season. 

A camp invite for the Orlando Magic last season, the 6'11" big man was waived following an Achilles' strain that prevented him from competing in preseason competition. 

The Trail Blazers currently have just 14 players with guaranteed salaries, so the former undrafted Wisconsin grad will battle Tim Quarterman ($75,000 guaranteed), Luis Montero  (unguaranteed) and Grant Jerrett (unguaranteed) for that last regular-season roster spot.

Portland is pretty deep with big men: Mason Plumlee, Meyers Leonard, Ed Davis, Noah Vonleh and Festus Ezeli. But Leonard’s and Ezeli’s injuries could open the door for Stiemsma, so he's an intriguing addition to this Blazers squad.

The world of AAU basketball: Gary Trent's son transfers to a P.O. box

The world of AAU basketball: Gary Trent's son transfers to a P.O. box

Greg Doyel is one of the best columnists in the country and he's got a great story about the son of former Jail Blazer Gary Trent, an up-and-coming high school star, transferring from his Indianapolis high school to a prep school that isn't really a school.

The senior Trent was a poster child for the era when Trail Blazer players were known more for their appearances in court than on the court. He notoriously punched his pregnant girlfriend in the face and kicked her in the ribs. In separate incidences, he allegedly punched and choked a man and hit another over the head with a pool cue. If you're new to the area or just want a refresher course on those dark days of the Trail Blazers, you can find the text of an "Outside the Lines" show on ESPN that sums up just some of the team's problems.

Well, anyway, Trent's son, a senior, is going to transfer to a "prep school" in Napa, Calif. --  Prolific Prep -- that really isn't a school at all. It's a basketball program that houses its players with a host family and sends them to a nearby Catholic school for their education. The "school" has a website but no physical address. I bet they have nice uniforms, though. It's, of course, not the first "school" of this type to make basketball its top priority.

It's a very interesting tale about what a segment of the current basketball development process has become in this country and I recommend it.

Damian Lillard raps about the grind and loyalty in latest track

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USATI

Damian Lillard raps about the grind and loyalty in latest track

The Portland Trail Blazers were hard at work in San Diego this week, with nearly every roster player in attendance preparing for the upcoming season ahead. 

Though, while All-Star point guard Damian Lillard works to build another playoff caliber team, Dame DOLLA remains in mid-season form. 

What'd you think?

Trail Blazers License Plates are now available

Trail Blazers License Plates are now available

The Portland Trail Blazers specialty license plate is now available.  The  license plates were authorized by the 2015 Oregon Legislature and were debuted during the Trail Blazers home game versus the Atlanta Hawks on January 20th, 2016

The license plate is only for passenger vehicles titled and registered in the state of Oregon. 
 

 

 

In addition to regular title, registration and plate manufacturing fees, the Trail Blazers specialty plate has an additional $40 surcharge due when you first order the plate and again every time you need to renew your registration.  All of the surcharge funds will go directly to the Trail Blazers Foundation.

Blazers back in San Diego for offseason team retreat 2.0

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USATI

Blazers back in San Diego for offseason team retreat 2.0

Voluntary workouts may have begun for NBA players, though for members of the Trail Blazers, they're anything but. 

In what became one of the largest, most defining moments in which the entire season's foundation was built off of, members of the Trail Blazers have returned to San Diego for team bonding and summer workouts, and it seems they have better turnover. 

If you follow CJ McCollum on Snapchat, you would know that he arrived in San Diego off a tour from China where he visited both Beijing and Shanghai on behalf of the NBA. 

In his Snapchat story, McCollum, along with Damian Lillard, Meyers Leonard, Allen Crabbe, Evan Turner, Al-Farouq Aminu, Ed Davis, Shabazz Napier, Maurice Harkless, Pat Connaughton, Festus Ezeli and assistant David Vanterpool have spent time on campus at San Diego State University where they worked out and at various restaurants as a group around town. So far, 11 have been spotted on CJ's Snapchat.

Jake Layman, Mason Plumlee and Luis Montero have not shown up on CJ's story yet, though that doesn't mean they're not there. Noah Vonleh, who underwent a procedure to remove a bone fragment from his right thigh, was not in attendance. Vonleh was in San Diego last year. 

We'll continue to update you all the latest goings on. Stay tuned!

Podfather Godcast with Kevin Calabro

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Podfather Godcast with Kevin Calabro

Dwight breaks down the latest in local sports and talks extensively with Trail Blazers new TV voice Kevin Calabro. How does he think Blazers fans will receive him being a former enemy of the state as the Sonics announcer. And why take up a local gig again? Learn more about Calabro here. Check back every Thursday (or subscribe on iTunes) for a new podcast.

Plus, you don't want miss Dwight's rant on Portland traffic. He hates it more than anyone!

LISTEN HERE: