Trail Blazers move into summer league championship game

Trail Blazers move into summer league championship game

LAS VEGAS --  The Portland Trail Blazer summer-league team will play for the tournament championship Monday night at 7 o'clock in Thomas & Mack Center.

And how unlikely is that?

The Portland entry opened pool play by losing two of its first three games and lost Pat Connaughton and Zach Collins to injury. Yet the team has rallied around Jake Layman, Caleb Swanigan and three free agents and found a new lease on life.

VIDEO: Coach Moran proud to be apart of this team

Sunday night the Blazers knocked off previously undefeated Memphis, recovering from a 19-point, second-quarter deficit.

The Trail Blazers trailed almost from the opening tip and faced a 23-15 deficit after the first quarter, as the Grizzlies shot 47.4 percent from the field while Portland made just 6 of 15 shots. But the summer version of the Trail Blazers is a gritty bunch and they didn't quit.

Portland narrowed the lead to three points early in the third quarter and then finally took a 54-53 lead with 5:50 to play in the third period. The Blazers led by as many as four in the quarter but were down 63-61 heading into the final quarter.

VIDEO: Blazer players excited to play for Championship

Swanigan had his double-double by then with 13 points and 10 rebounds. The Trail Blazers grabbed the lead back in the final quarter and led by eight with three minutes left and coasted home.

Free agent big man Jarnell Stokes continued his solid play, standing tall with 22 points and 15 rebounds. Guards Nick Johnson and RJ Hunter continued their solid play.

VIDEO: Stokes - Swanigan is my best friend

Blazers: Crabbe deal is a gain... but is another trade on the way?

Blazers: Crabbe deal is a gain... but is another trade on the way?

According to ESPN, the Trail Blazers have traded Allen Crabbe to Brooklyn for forward Andrew Nicholson, then plan to waive Nicholson and will stretch Nicholson's contract.

The move lowers Portland's luxury tax bill by about $44 million, according to sources, and creates a $12.9 million trade exception that will be available for one year.

But the money side of this is only half the story. Portland parts ways with Crabbe and I can't say that's a bad move.

To me, Crabbe was the epitome of a good shooter but not a good player. For the most part, he disappeared in key times, had trouble defensively and was not a good passer. His contract was too large and it's ironic Portland traded him to the team that gave him that deal in the first place.

I believe this trade is a precursor to some other move or moves. The Blazers now have more flexibility. As I said earlier today, I still do not see any three-way deal with Houston on the horizon. Whatever is going on doesn't have anything to do with that proposed trade.


Blazers trade Allen Crabbe to the Nets

Blazers trade Allen Crabbe to the Nets

The Portland Trail Blazers have agreed to a trade with the Brooklyn Nets, swapping Allen Crabbe for Andrew Nicholson, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. 

According to Wojnarowski, the Blazers intend to waive Nicholson and stretch his salary to help create some cap relief.

In waiving Nicholson and stretching his contract, the Blazers will take just a $2.8 million cap hit over the next seven seasons.

For Brooklyn, they finally got their man. The Nets offered Crabbe a 4-year, $75-million offer last off-season, only to see the Blazers match the deal. 

Crabbe had been speculated in many trade scenarios, but a trade kicker in his contract made him hard to offload. However, Crabbe intends to waive his kicker, worth an extra $5.7 million, for the Nets. 

For the Blazers, they finally get to shed one of their bloated contracts and move closer to creating some cap flexibility. According to Bobby Marks, the Blazers luxury tax bill drops from $48.3 million to just $4.4 million with Crabbe off the books.

The Blazers need to create as much cap space as possible if they hope to retain 2018 free agent Jusuf Nurkic, and this move helps them do just that. The trade also creates a $12.9 million trade exception for the Blazers that expires next summer.



The Portland Trail Blazers have acquired forward Andrew Nicholson from the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for guard Allen Crabbe, it was announced today by president of basketball operations Neil Olshey.  

“Allen has been a model teammate on the court and ambassador for the organization off the court,” said Olshey.  “He will be missed by all of us who shared the last four seasons with him. We wish him the best of luck as he continues his career in Brooklyn.”

Nicholson, 27, has averages of 6.0 points (46.7% FG, 32.1% 3-PT, 77.3% FT), 3.0 rebounds and 0.4 rebounds in 285 games (36 starts) over five seasons with Orlando, Washington and Brooklyn.

Selected with the 19th overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft out of St. Bonaventure, Nicholson (6-9, 250) split the 2016-17 season with Washington and Brooklyn, posting averages of 2.6 points, 1.6 rebounds, 0.3 assists and 9.0 minutes in 38 games.

Crabbe holds career averages of 8.3 points (45.6% FG, 41.1% 3-PT, 84.8% FT), 2.3 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 226 games (24 starts) over four seasons with the Trail Blazers. Acquired in a 2013 NBA Draft day trade with Cleveland, Crabbe ranks third among all-time franchise leaders with a career 41.1% mark from three-point range (minimum 100 3-pointers).

Follow us on Twitter and stay tuned to CSNNW for all the latest information. 


Can we please just forget all about that Melo/Ryan Anderson deal? It's dead

Can we please just forget all about that Melo/Ryan Anderson deal? It's dead

OK, enough is enough. Social media not only breaks stories but it perpetuates them. Ad nauseam.

Such is the case with that three-team-trade rumor that would have sent Carmelo Anthony to Houston and Ryan Anderson to Portland, among other things. It's still a topic of conversation on Twitter and elsewhere even though it's very clear that the whole thing is dead.

I've said this from the beginning -- I don't think Portland was interested in adding Anderson to its roster and I'm real certain the Trail Blazers didn't want any part of his nasty contract. And then when it became known that Portland wanted Anthony and wasn't interested in helping Houston get better, that should have ended the discussion.

Read this one more time -- the Trail Blazers are NOT interested in helping the Rockets get better. It would make sense that Neil Olshey has no interest in being the guy who helped the Rockets get to the Western Conference finals. And I don't think that's something he's going to change his mind about.

I still think Portland will make some sort of deal prior to training camp. Seems to me that moving the decision date on Pat Connaughton's contract option was a signal that there is still an opportunity for something to happen. The Trail Blazers still have a chance to use Connaughton in a deal, perhaps, or pick up his option and keep him after roster space is cleared by some other trade.

But until something else happens, can we just put the whole Houston/Ryan Anderson thing to rest?

It's over.

Carmelo Anthony to Portland? Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum make their pitch

USA Today

Carmelo Anthony to Portland? Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum make their pitch

BEAVERTON – If Carmelo Anthony never joins the Trail Blazers, it won’t be because of a lack of effort from the Blazers’ two cornerstones – Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum.

Through a series of cryptic and vague comments on Wednesday at Lillard’s youth basketball camp, both Lillard and McCollum said they have been in contact with Anthony in attempts to lure him to Portland via a trade.

“I spoke to him,’’ Lillard said. “Because obviously he makes us a better team. So obviously with that being out there and being a real possibility, I don’t see why I wouldn’t reach out to him and let him know the interest is mutual if he is interested in us.’’

What was Anthony’s response?

“I’m not going to share all that,’’ Lillard said. “We had the conversation about it because it’s something we need to talk about, so he knows it’s not something that just a team (is interested) ... it was myself and CJ would love to have him, so we reached out to him, texted him, that’s it.’’

McCollum, who was making an appearance at Lillard's camp, was more cryptic, saying he has spoke to Anthony “indirectly” through the trainer they both share. He added that he is flying to New York on Thursday to train and will “say hello (to Melo) if he’s there.’’

“If we get him … when we get him … I think we could be top three in the West, easy,’’ McCollum said. “I think he’s interested. Obviously I feel he wants to play with his team – the Banana Boat friends. I know he wants to play with CP (Chris Paul) and LeBron, and those are good options, but I feel we are a good option.’’

Anthony has a no-trade clause, and it is believed he wants to steer his destination toward Houston, where he can team with Paul and James Harden. But to get to Houston, a third-team will likely need to be involved in a trade, which is where Portland has entered the conversation.

The Blazers, however, do not want to help Houston gain another star, and instead are hopeful to convince Anthony that he can win, and perhaps win big now, in Portland alongside Lillard, McCollum and blossoming center Jusuf Nurkic. However, it is unclear whether Anthony would waive his no-trade clause to come to Portland.

That's why Lillard and McCollum reached out - to change his view of Portland by assuring him he would be wanted. 

“He’s Carmelo Anthony,’’ Lillard said. “You add another guy who can score 50. Over the last decade, he’s been one of best players in the league. Playing against him he’s a cerebral player. He’s smart. He played in the triangle. I can only imagine what it would be like to have him isolating on one side, and CJ in the corner, and me in opposite wing and Nurk on the opposite …  I could only imagine how tough it would be to guard us.’’

That Lillard and McCollum reached out privately to Anthony is consistent with their public pursuit of NBA stars this offseason since the Blazers were swept in the first round of the playoffs by Golden State.

On social media, both Lillard and McCollum pushed a pursuit of former Indiana star Paul George, a desire that Blazers president of basketball operations Neil Olshey pursued by making a trade offer centered around the team’s three draft picks on the Monday before the NBA Draft. Indiana turned down the offer and instead traded George to Oklahoma City for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.

Later, in July, McCollum shared a promo on social media that showed Anthony wearing a No. 7 Trail Blazers uniform.

“I mean, what’s the worst that can happen?’’ McCollum said when asked about pursuing players via social media. “If you want something you go get it, if it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out. But I think it’s important if you want a free agent, you let them know, you have to express that. Sometimes (a player) is just reading articles and doesn’t know what going on, but if you speak directly you can give them an idea of exactly what you are thinking.’’

For Lillard, this summer has been another step in his becoming more vocal and more active in trying to recruit players to Portland. Last summer, he visited with Dwight Howard and Chandler Parsons during free agency, and this season he has been behind pursuing George and Anthony.

“I want to win a championship. It’s that simple,’’ Lillard said. “After my rookie year I’ve been in the playoffs every year and the playoffs are fun … but at this point we need a breakthrough. I’m tired of watching … each year it bothers me more.’’

Both Lillard and McCollum said they feel Olshey is listening to them, and that he is trying to improve the roster.

“Like I said, I do my job and I’ll allow them to do their job, but there comes a point where we have to improve individually with what we have but also we have to improve as everybody else improves their roster,’’ Lillard said.

Trail Blazer summer-league team represented the franchise well

Trail Blazer summer-league team represented the franchise well

LAS VEGAS – Before the start of the annual Las Vegas Summer League tournament, I made the offhand remark that when it was finished, every team but one would tell you the truth -- that winning a summer-league championship is about as big a deal as a single melting ice cube on a typical 113-degree day here.

The other team – the one that won the tournament – would tell you, though, how meaningful and important it was. That it is a sign of good things to come.

But I didn't expect the Los Angeles Lakers to take it to the extreme, with Magic Johnson telling the assembled crowd and a national television audience, “The Lakers are back.”

Sorry, I don’t buy that. Especially with the Lakers, They have a long way to go to be “back” – that is, at the point when they were “Showtime” and the most popular team in the NBA.

Johnson knows better than anyone that summer league stuff is mostly meaningless and no guarantee of future success (or failure).

Portland’s summer-league experience was a little different than most teams here. The Trail Blazers were not loaded with a crop of youngsters who will someday be wearing a Portland uniform.

Sure, you’you'll be seeing more of Jake Layman, Caleb Swanigan, Zach Collins and (maybe) Pat Connaughton. But the Trail Blazers’ march to the championship game was fueled by some very tough and experienced free agents here playing for a job.

It would be nice to say that a few of those guys will be in training camp this fall trying to win a roster spot with Portland, but barring a trade that frees a couple of roster spots, that isn't’t likely to happen.

The free agents wearing Portland uniforms likely played well enough to earn invites to teams that offer a much better chance of them earning a spot. The Trail Blazer roster is, for right now at least, on lockdown.

So what does this fun run to the last night of the tournament mean for the Portland franchise? I’m glad you asked.

I think it was important. First, the franchise showed it could make some shrewd moves in bringing in experienced free agents who could help its roster players in important ways – like getting them the ball where they needed it, on time, and were unselfish enough to defer to those players when necessary. The group followed orders and played hard.

Of course the summer also showcased the Portland coaching staff, which I’m more impressed with every season. Jim Moran was the head coach and looked very comfortable in that position.

But all the assistants have input in the summer and they did a terrific job of instituting the Portland system and getting the most out of the players they had.

This Portland team played to its strengths, which meant pounding the ball inside with Swanigan and Jarnell Stokes. And this was a physical group that did that very well.

I think the showing of this team was good for the franchise, reflecting favorably on its organizational abilities and system. And it was especially good for Swanigan and Layman, who showed they could handle the responsibility of being important players. Both improved with each game.

I believe Swanigan will earn rotation minutes with sheer effort and versatility. He is a willing banger and a very good passer who chases every rebound.

Of course doing those things against veteran NBA players is a lot different than doing it in summer league.

And come on, Magic, you know that as well as anyone. I love the guy but for now, the only thing "back" with the Lakers is Johnson himself.



Caleb Swanigan of the Portland Trail Blazers was named to the All-NBA Summer League First Team, it was announced today.

Swanigan, the 26th pick of the 2017 NBA Draft, averaged 14.9 points (43.6% FG, 25.0% 3-PT, 78.3% FT), 10.4 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.14 steals and 30.1 minutes in the first seven games of the Las Vegas Summer League, helping the Trail Blazers to reach the Summer League Championship game. After going 1-2 in preliminary play, Swanigan lead Portland to four straight victories, setting up a showdown with the Los Angeles Lakers for the Summer League Championship. Swanigan recorded a double-double in four of the first seven Summer League contests, and is one of two players to average a double-double in Las Vegas this year.

Swanigan joins teammates Damian Lillard (2012) and Noah Vonleh (2015) as current Trail Blazers who have received All-NBA Summer League honors.

Lakers bury Blazers' title hopes under an avalanche of threes

Lakers bury Blazers' title hopes under an avalanche of threes

LAS VEGAS -- The hope of a summer-league championship died hard for the Trail Blazers Monday night. But it died just the same.

The Los Angeles Lakers knocked down 14 of its 24 three-point field goals and shot 61.5 percent from the field overall to beat Portland in the title game 110-98.

Portland let through most of the first half and by as many as eight points, but only by one, 59-58, at halftime. Caleb Swanigan, earlier named to the Summer-League all-star first team, owned the first half. He had 11 points, eight rebounds and five assists in 17:44. Jarnell Stokes led the Blazers in the first half with 14.

It was a hot-shooting opening half. Portland fired at a 51.1 percent clip but the Lakers were better at 59 percent, including 8 of their 12 three-point attempts.

Kyle Kuzma -- probably the best shooter in the summer league -- hit a howitzer from well beyond the arc at the third-quarter buzzer to give Los Angeles an 84-79 lead going into the fourth quarter. The Blazres fell behind quickly in the fourth, as the Lakers rattled off the first eight points of the period to capture a 92-79 lead.

Kuzma was unstoppable, as he has been for much of this tournament. He hit 11 of his first 14 shots, six of eight from long range, and had 30 points in the first three quarters. Portland fought back, as it has done throughout this tournament, but the lead was too much to overcome.

Swanigan led Portland with 25 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists.

Let the #BeatLA chants begin: Blazers vs. Lakers in SL Championship game

Let the #BeatLA chants begin: Blazers vs. Lakers in SL Championship game

Update: Lonzo Ball will not play for the Lakers in tonight's Summer League Championship game.

The Portland Trail Blazers (5-2) started Las Vegas Summer League tournament play as a number 16 seed and now the Blazers find themselves in the Summer League Championship game.  On Sunday, Portland beat Memphis 87-82 to advance to the championship game of the summer league tournament.

Memphis led by as much as 19 points in the first half of the semifinals game before the Blazers clawed back into the game. Portland ended the first half on an 11-2 run and cleaned up the turnovers in the second half.

It was another double-double night for Blazers’ rookie big man Caleb Swanigan.  Swanigan recorded his fourth double-double of summer league, finishing with 15 points and pulling down 11 rebounds.

Former Oregon Duck Dillon Brooks scored a team-high 16 points off the bench for Memphis (5-1) in the losing effort.

In the second semifinal matchup of the day on Sunday, the Lakers (5-2) and Mavericks (5-1) squared off.

LA ended up beating Dallas 108-98 despite losing rookie Lonzo Ball for the majority of the second half against the Mavs with calf tightness.

Ball told the media on Sunday that he would receive treatment Monday before figuring out if he can play in the championship game.

Before Ball suffered the injury early in the second half, he had recorded a double-double with 16 points and 10 assists.

Once, the Blazers knew who they would face in the championship game, the Trail Blazers twitter account tweeted out #BeatLA.  Maybe the rivalry can get back on track with this Summer League showdown. 

The Las Vegas Summer League Championship game will be played at 7:00pm on ESPN on Monday night.

We will get you ready for the Trail Blazers and Lakers championship matchup on Monday with The Scoop Pregame show streaming live on your mobile phone, tablet, or computer at 6:45pm at  Plus, you can catch a special edition of Talkin' Ball as soon as the championship game ends. 

Quick Links:

Trail Blazers move into Summer League Championship Game

Carmelo Anthony as a Trail Blazer? It’s certainly well worth a try

Video:  Stokes: Didn’t know who Swangigan was, now he’s my best friend

Video:  “I’m so proud to be apart of it, to be honest,” coach Moran

Video:  Coach Moran: Team is excited about playing in championship game

Video:  Dwight one-on-one with Olshey as he evaluates summer league players


Championship Game Details:

Where:  Thomas and Mack Center, Las Vegas NV

When: Monday at 7:00pm

Television: ESPN

Live streaming: The Scoop Pregame Show streams at 6:45pm at The Scoop Postgame Show will stream immediately after the game at

Summer League Semifinals: Trail Blazers face unbeaten Grizzlies

Summer League Semifinals: Trail Blazers face unbeaten Grizzlies

The Portland Trail Blazers (4-2) have the attitude of “win and advance” right now in Las Vegas.  The Blazers beat the San Antonio Spurs (3-2) on Saturday afternoon 94-87 after Jake Layman scored 13 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter.

Portland rookie Caleb Swanigan scored 16 points and pulled down 9 rebounds in 32 minutes of action, while  RJ Hunter also added 16 points in the win.

The Blazers will now take on the Memphis Grizzlies (5-0) on Sunday. 

Former Oregon Duck Dillon Brooks as helped the Grizzlies to stay unbeaten and get by the Miami Heat in double overtime on Saturday, 98-85.  Brooks had 14 points and four steals.  He finished 5-for-11 from the field in 26 minutes of action.

The Lakers and Mavericks square off in the other semifinal game on Sunday.

The Las Vegas Summer League Championship game will be played at 7:00pm on Monday night.

We will set the table for the Trail Blazers and Grizzlies semifinals matchup on Sunday with The Scoop Pregame show streaming live on your mobile phone, tablet, or computer at 2:45pm at

Quick Links:

Trail Blazers win again, move into Summer League “Final Four”

Carmelo Anthony as a Trail Blazer? It’s certainly well worth a try

Video: RJ Hunter: Job Hunting in Las Vegas

Video:  Jake Layman has high praises for the free agents

Video:  Coach Moran evaluates the free agent players

Video:  Coach Moran all smiles as Blazers head to Final Four


Game Details:

Where:  Thomas and Mack Center, Las Vegas NV

Television: ESPN2 3:00pm

Live streaming: The Scoop Pregame Show streams at 2:45pm at The Scoop Postgame Show will stream immediately after the game at