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#pounditSunday, March 7, 2021

Articles tagged: Portland Trail Blazers

Trail Blazers pay tribute to late owner Paul Allen with rose on seat

Paul Allen

The Portland Trail Blazers were hoping to have fans in all seats for their season-opening game on Thursday night, with the exception of one chair.

The seat where team owner Paul Allen would sit was pulled down at the Moda Center in Portland. A Blazers hat saying “rip city” and a rose was left on the seat.

Allen died on Monday at the age of 65. The Microsoft co-founder owned both the Trail Blazers and Seattle Seahawks. He bought the Trail Blazers in 1988 and played a big role in the development of the Moda Center, which was previously named the Rose Garden.

Allen was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 1982 and was successfully treated for it until it returned this month, leading to his death.

Blazers GM not planning to blow up the team

Neil Olshey Blazers

Despite some external pressure to “blow it up,” the Portland Trail Blazers seem to have no intentions of doing so.

In an interview this week with Blazers courtside reporter Brooke Olzendam, general manager Neil Olshey discussed the team’s long-term plans.

“We’re keeping the core together, knowing Dame [Lillard] and CJ [McCollum] have at least 3 years left on their contracts,” he said. “And we give that group the best chance to win without impeding our ability long-term in terms of being into a number that’s completely non-liquid.”

The Blazers just re-signed center Jusuf Nurkic to a four-year, $48 million deal this summer. Meanwhile, Lillard and McCollum are each under contract through the 2020-21 season, as Olshey mentioned.

After winning 49 games last year but getting swept in the first round, Portland has faced calls for a roster shakeup. That makes a fair amount of sense for a team that has to hang with the likes of Golden State and Houston in the Western Conference despite being built around two undersized, score-first guards who are both below-average defenders.

Lillard, in particular, recently had to address concerns about his future with the Blazers. But regardless of all the noise, the team clearly feels that they have enough to stay competitive for several more years to come.

LeBron James takes shot at Blazers for not drafting Kevin Durant

LeBron James

LeBron James and his Cleveland Cavaliers have become the punchline of many jokes during these NBA Finals, so you can’t blame the three-time NBA champ for trying to deflect some of that attention elsewhere.

While meeting with reporters on Thursday, LeBron was asked if he knew years ago that he would end up doing battle with Kevin Durant in important games all throughout his career. That led to LeBron praising Durant and taking a swipe at the Portland Trail Blazers.

“You knew he was built for greatness from the time he was drafted,” LeBron said with a smirk. “I mean, everybody knew that besides Portland, I guess.”

The Blazers, of course, drafted Greg Oden No. 1 overall in 2007 instead of Durant. The decision could haunt their franchise for eternity, and Durant even took a shot at Portland over passing on him earlier this year. As long as Durant keeps coming up clutch in big games like he did in Game 3 of the NBA Finals, the Blazers can do nothing but wonder what could have been.

Blazers GM Neil Olshey says team won’t overreact to quick playoff exit

Neil Olshey Blazers

The Portland Trail Blazers were swept by the New Orleans Pelicans in the first round of the NBA Playoffs, leading many to wonder if there were big changes in store for the organization.

While obviously still assessing the damage, Blazers general manager Neil Olshey seemed to indicate that there was no plan to blow things up and start anew.

Obviously, some distance is needed. It’s understandable why many fans and even players are frustrated, but snap decisions on Portland’s future aren’t helpful right now.

New Orleans newspaper has savage burn of Blazers after Pelicans sweep

new orleans pelicans logo

Print media is not dead because one newspaper just sucked the life right out of the Portland Trail Blazers.

The Blazers were swept Saturday by the lower-seeded New Orleans Pelicans in their first-round playoff series. In response, the front page of the New Orleans Times-Picayune’s Sunday edition had this great headline burning Portland.

For those unfamiliar, “Put a bird on it” is a famous quote from the TV show “Portlandia.” The double entendre of it referencing the Pelicans makes it even more savage that the headline used Portland’s own namesake against them.

While that is definitely a Hall of Fame-worthy troll job, The Times-Picayune should probably proceed with caution here. After all, the Blazers are not responding too kindly to disses from the media in light of their elimination.

Trail Blazers get funny Wikipedia update after loss

Jrue Holiday

The Portland Trail Blazers lost their second consecutive playoff game to the New Orleans Pelicans at home, which led to some interesting Wikipedia editing.

Jrue Holiday scored a game-high 33 points in leading the visiting Pelicans to a 111-102 win over the Blazers in Game 2 of their playoff series on Tuesday. Afterwards, someone had some fun with Portland’s Wikipedia page and named Holiday their “owner.”

Holiday is averaging 27 points, five rebounds and 5.5 assists per game in the playoff series. Things might get even better from there now that the Pelicans are heading home with a sweep on their mind. The next two games will be on Thursday and Saturday, with New Orleans looking for the sweep.

Blazers have perfect response to Kevin Durant joking about being picked first

Kevin Durant

The NBA All-Star Game unveiled a new format this year in which the top two players in votes received are captains and got to choose teams. While the draft took place behind closed doors to prevent fans from knowing the order in which players were selected, reporters learned that team captain LeBron James made Kevin Durant his first overall pick.

In an interview after his Warriors beat the Timberwolves on Thursday, Durant joked about “finally” being pick No. 1.

Of course, K.D. was referencing how he was the second overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft. That year, the Trail Blazers infamously selected former Ohio State star Greg Oden instead of Durant. But we have to give the Blazers credit, because they’re owning it.

That’s fantastic. Oden appeared in just 82 total games with the Blazers from 2007-2012 because of a chronic foot issue. He spent some time with the Miami Heat during the 2013-14 season, but he has not played in the NBA since.

To his credit, Oden has admitted that his NBA career was a disappointment and opened up about his struggles with addiction.

Report: Trail Blazers have inquired about DeAndre Jordan

DeAndre Jordan

The Portland Trail Blazers are the latest reported entrant in the DeAndre Jordan sweepstakes, but nothing is imminent on that front.

According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, the Blazers have registered their interest in the star center, joining the Cleveland Cavaliers and Milwaukee Bucks in that queue. However, he adds that the Los Angeles Clippers have yet to be moved by any of the discussions or proposals on the table and are not close to moving their star big man.

The status quo seems to be holding here. There’s a lot of smoke — the Clippers are certainly willing to listen, if nothing else, and Cleveland’s interest raised eyebrows around the league. However, the price tag is almost certainly high, and nobody has come particularly close to reaching it yet. It remains to be seen if that changes.

Blazers burn Warriors with funny tweet

The Blazers used a fun exchange on social media to burn an NBA team that will soon be moving from Oakland to San Francisco.

On Sunday afternoon, ESPN tweeted a link to an article on its site regarding a tattoo Damian Lillard has on his chest that will also appear on one of the Warriors’ new Nike uniforms. The Blazers responded by referencing the popular phrase “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”

A Twitter user responded by saying, “They act like Dame isn’t from Oakland smh.” That’s when Portland unleashed the below gem.

Ouch. The Warriors, who now call Oracle Arena in Oakland home, will be moving to San Francisco in the not-so-distant future as the brand new Chase Center is expected to be ready in time for the 2019-2020 NBA season.

We still have a little while until there are meaningful NBA games to watch. However, in the meantime, we can settle for the social media accounts of teams flexing their muscles.

Damian Lillard: Carmelo Anthony ‘didn’t seem opposed’ to joining Blazers

Star Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard has been pressing Carmelo Anthony to try and join him out west — and he thinks he’s getting somewhere.

Lillard told Marc J. Spears of the Undefeated that, by his reading, the forward could ultimately be talked into waiting his no-trade clause and approving a move to Portland, and that Anthony “didn’t seem opposed” to such a move when the subject came up.

“I didn’t want to press him,” Lillard said of Anthony. “I ain’t a big fan of doing all the extra recruiting and all that stuff. And I guess they call it tampering or whatever. It’s not against the rules for us to interact with each other. We all peers, we all play in the same league and everybody hints at playing with each other. ‘What you think about this?’ ‘What do you think about that?’ All that matters is whether it got done or did not get done. Or hasn’t got done, and it hasn’t got done. So, it is what it is.

“I’m not giving up on anything. I just think I’ve done what I can do. And camp is a few weeks away. And you have to focus on getting ready with who we are, plan on going in as we are. Whatever changes, the front office will be the ones making that change, with the Knicks and our front office or whatever. But I get my mind focused on what I can control at a certain point.”

Lillard has been quite obviously trying to talk Anthony into approving a deal, but all indications were that the Knicks forward wanted to go to the Houston Rockets to play with Chris Paul and James Harden. Perhaps something has changed, but there has been no indication that it has.