The clock is ticking in the countdown to the FIBA Basketball World Cup starting this weekend.
Although Portland’s star point guard was cut from the final roster over the weekend, Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com reports that Damian Lillard could be added to the USA Basketball roster should Derrick Rose, or another player decide to opt-out.
Prior to being left off of the final 12-man roster last week, the Portland Trail Blazers’ All-Star point guard was informed that there could be a possibility he’d be added to the roster if one of their players, in particular Derrick Rose who has been dealing with knee soreness, was unable or opted not to continue the journey, a league source told CSNNW.com.
“He’s the player on deck,” we’re told.
Rosters for the tournament must be delivered within 24 hours of the tournament’s start, so basically Rose or someone else would have to bow out of the tourney before 3:30 AM PDT tomorrow for Lillard to make the team.
Also, Rose, who has been consistent in saying his knee injuries won’t keep him out of the tourney, doubled-up on that stance via ESPN.com’s Marc Stein.
You can probably guess, given the rampant pooh-poohing to this point, what Rose had to say about the state of his health after logging an underwhelming 20 minutes off the bench behind starter Kyrie Irving in which he was clearly looking to pass more than anything.
“I’m past my injuries,” Rose said.
The FIBA Basketball World Cup kicks off at 3:30 AM on Saturday morning with Croatia playing Philippines. Team USA’s first game will be against Finland, and former Blazers overseas prospect Petteri Koponen.
Every game of the tournament will be available via the WatchESPN streaming service while every USA Basketball game will either be on ESPN or ESPN2.]]>
Welcome back! We took a little vacation over the past week to recharge our batteries but the Blazers-world has kept on turning.
First, we’ll talk about Damian Lillard, simultaneously a bonafide superstar and a point guard who is still overlooked among the best of the best. He was one of the final four cuts for Team USA and getting left off the team right before they head to Spain.
Then just the next day Lillard announced that he would become the first Trail Blazer to ever be on the cover of a video game, gracing the cover of EA Sports NBA Live 15. This is nothing new for Lillard, for whom bridging this gap between “the next big thing” and “not really on THAT level” has been the norm since he came into the NBA.
Of course for him, this is proving to be nothing but another motivating moment. On Monday evening he addressed his situation with USA Basketball on his Facebook page.
Everyone keeps asking me how I feel about being cut from USA Basketball. I’m fine. It’s exactly what I needed to happen. Just made me more focused and determined than ever. It was written!
Lillard had said all the right things throughout his participation in the Team USA training camp, never framing that the possibility of not making the team could be considered a failure with the stacked roster.
In the end, Lillard wasn’t selected and the team decided to double-down on size then to carry an extra point guard in the case that Derrick Rose sitting out is more than just a precaution.
Also, from the outside it’s hard not to see certain factors that probably worked against Lillard. Kyrie Irving, who now could start for Team USA, is a swoosh-friendly star and has spent parts of his summers at Duke near a certain basketball coach. Basketball is like any workplace: relationships matter. That’s not to say we know that the final decision was Kyrie vs. Dame, but from the outside looking in it never seemed like the idea of Irving not making the team was even a possibility.
The Blazers universe keeps turning and Lillard continues to occupy a weird space between worldwide superstar and being told he’s not quite good enough to play with the best.
If we’ve learned anything in two-plus years watching Damian, we’ll just have to keep watching to see in which way he’ll respond this time.
In other news, former Blazer center and fan favorite Joel Pryzbilla announced his retirement from the NBA.
Pryzbilla, known in these parts as “Thrilla” or “The Vanilla Gorilla,” spent the better part of eight seasons in Portland. Due to injuries to Greg Oden, Pryzbilla was the starter in the playoffs for Portland’s 54-win team in 2008-09 and was cast in a much bigger role than many had envisioned.
A knee injury limited his effectiveness in the 2010 season and he wasn’t the same after that. Still, Pryzbilla brought a toughness to those Blazers teams and was one of the only players to be survive the Jail Blazers era to make it to their late-oughts renaissance.
Finally, the roster adds for training camp also continued while we were away. Joe Freeman reports the Blazers signed former Lakers draft pick Darius Morris.
The #Blazers have signed 6-4 PG Darius Morris to a nonguaranteed training camp roster spot, a league source tells The Oregonian.
— Joe Freeman (@BlazerFreeman) August 21, 2014
The NBA schedule is going to be released in less than five hours at 3PM PST.
We do know that the Blazers will be opening the season at home against the Oklahoma City Thunder on October 29. Reports about the NBA’s Christmas Day schedule are Blazer-free.
But before the schedule comes out we put together a serving of trail mix.
John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com writes that Magic rookie Elfrid Payton, while playing at Louisiana-Lafayette, looked up to Damian Lillard as an inspiration to get to the NBA.
While in college at Louisiana-Lafayette, coach Bob Marlin would often show Payton video and news articles of Lillard. He told him stories of how Lillard went from being a small-school standout to a NBA star and told him the blossoming guard that he had the same potential. Marlin also used his vast contacts in the coaching profession to acquire some of the DVDs from Lillard’s pre-draft workouts so that Payton could study them.
“I’m only two or three years older than him, so it’s flattering to hear that he looks up to me,’’ said Lillard, who averaged 20.7 points and 5.6 assists a game last season for the Trail Blazers. “When you are coming from the small schools like he and I did, you don’t know for sure that you will ever get that shot at the NBA. But when I watched Payton’s game, I was a fan and I knew he’d play in the NBA. I’m a big fan of his. We came from similar situations in college and I appreciate that he respects what I have been able to do coming from a small school. I’m a fan of what he’s been able to do because I know what it takes to overcome those odds and succeed at this level.’’
The rest of the piece is has a bunch of good stuff from Payton, his college coach and Lillard. Read the rest here. (Hat-tip to my buddy Ryan for alerting me to this article.)
ESPN.com covered the Western Conference in their summer forecast yesterday. ESPN’s Forecast panel of more than 210 contributors ranging from broadcasters to bloggers pegged the Blazers to finish 4th in the West.
From the weekend, Portland forward Dorell Wright got married in a star-studded Hollywood wedding to Mia Lee. Casey Holdahl of TrailBlazers.com recapped the wedding using Instagram’s from the big day and the reception.
In some more sobering news, former Blazer and number one pick Greg Oden will officially have a day in court. Oden, facing felony battery charges and two misdemeanor battery charges, will be in court on October 22 according to WHTR Channel 13 in Indianapolis.
According to the same report, Oden is not allowed to leave the state of Indiana and will be monitored via GPS.
At long last, we have an NBA schedule related leak pertaining to the home team. Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman, in a report about the Oklahoma City Thunder’s schedule, wrote that the Thunder will be starting the season in the Northwest.
The Thunder will open the season at Portland on Oct. 29, a Northwest Division matchup that offered the makings of a rivalry last season when Kevin Durant admitted to reporters that the two teams don’t like each other. The Trail Blazers went 54-28 last season and finished second in the division, five games behind the Thunder.
Update 11:10 AM: Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports via twitter that the Blazers will play host to LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, (unofficially) Lake Oswego High School graduate Kevin Love’s Cleveland Cavaliers in the first week of the season.
After Knicks and Bulls to open the season, Cavaliers and LeBron James travel to play Portland, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) August 13, 2014
Reports of the Cavaliers schedule say they will open with an Oct. 30, Oct. 31 back-to-back against New York and Chicago before going to Portland.
The NBA schedule will be officially released tomorrow afternoon at 3PM, with a show on NBATV.
There seems to be some conflict between reports about who will be featured in the season opening double-header on October 28th. However, none of those reports include the Blazers.
It will be interesting to see the mix between Durant jerseys and Blazers fans coming back to the Moda Center after their best season in 14 years.
The Blazers split the season series with the Thunder last year and the series point differential was 0.
It should be a raucous atmosphere against an opponent that’s made for some of the most riveting Blazers games the past few seasons.
The Blazers last opened the season at home in the 2012-13 season, a win against the Lakers on Halloween night in Damian Lillard’s NBA debut. Last season the Blazers opened the season in Phoenix, where they lost to the Suns.
The Portland Trail Blazers have reportedly started to fill out their training camp roster in early August.
Shams Charina of RealGM.com had the story first and the intrepid Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com reported the same news a few minutes after.
#Blazers have signed former Syracuse forward James Southerland to a one-year, non guaranteed deal, @CSNNW is told.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) August 8, 2014
Southerland, who appeared in 4 NBA games last year for the Charlotte Bobcats (1) and the New Orleans Pelicans (3), is the 16th player on the Blazers roster. However, this appears to be just a training camp signing if the contract is non-guaranteed.
As we’ve been over before, all of Portland’s other 15 players have guaranteed deals for next season according to Mark Deeks.
Barring the spectacular, it’s unlikely that Southerland makes the Blazers swallow the bitter pill of paying 16 players while only carrying 15.
However, one thing that could make the 6-foot-8 Southerland valuable is his perimeter shooting. According to DraftExpress profile, he’s a three-point shooting specialist. He only had four games in the league and shot 3-for-6 from three-point rage in 30 total NBA minutes.
According to NBAdleague.com’s stats, Southerland shot 32.3 percent from the three-point line on nearly five three-point attempts per game. He averaged 14.7 points and 6.5 rebounds per game but it’s likely his potential as a three-point specialist/stretch-4 that intrigues the Blazers and other NBA teams the most.
Southerland averaged 13.2 points and 5.1 rebounds per game while shooting 40 percent from three on more than six attempts per game in his senior season at Syracuse.
Victor Claver’s shooting has been the main thing that’s undermined his ability to play that role for the Blazers. The Blazers got more comfortable with Dorell Wright in that role as the season went on. But in the playoffs, particularly against the Spurs, Wright had a forgettable performance after playing well in the series win against the Rockets.
As we have seen in free agency, having big men who can shoot is becoming a pricier endeavor every offseason.
Southerland doesn’t appear to be anything more than a Training Camp invite, but his potential skill set is something the Blazers, and almost every NBA team, can never have enough of.
There was a lot of news today in the NBA, with some familiar names getting into the news for the wrong reasons.
We start off first with the news of Greg Oden’s arrest in Indianapolis early Thursday morning. Oden was arrested for allegedly punching his ex-girlfriend.
From the AP’s report on the arrest:
Prosecutors plan to request for a 72-hour continuance to give them more time to decide what, if any, formal charges Oden will face, she said.
According to a Lawrence police report, officers were called to the home at around 3:30 a.m. and found a 24-year-old woman on a sofa with a swollen, bloody face. A friend of the woman told officers that Oden had “punched her in the face.”
The report says the injured woman was uncooperative and told officers she had fallen, but was unable to say when and where that occurred.
Oden, according to the Indianapolis Star, showed remorse and cooperated with police.
The house belongs to Oden’s mother.
Oden, 26, was “calm, apologetic and cooperative” when officers spoke with him, police said.
“I was wrong, and I know what has to happen,” Oden told police, according to the report.
Another sad turn in the story of the 2007 #1 overall pick. He played 82 games in five seasons with the Blazers, most of which were derailed by knee injuries. He signed on with the Miami Heat last summer and played in 23 games but didn’t make enough of an impact to stay on the court.
Oden, 26 and a free-agent, is facing a preliminary charge of battery.
If you remember, former Blazer and current Dallas Mavericks guard Raymond Felton was arrested earlier this year on gun charges, after reportedly getting into an argument with his estranged wife while playing for the Knicks last year.
The NBA brought down a 4-game suspension on Felton, without pay, for pleading guilty to attempted criminal possession of a weapon and criminal possession of a firearm in New York.
Felton had a formal apology in a release from the Mavericks:
“I demonstrated poor judgement and I take full responsibility for my actions. Moving forward I’m eager to get to Dallas, to start fresh and make a positive impact in the Dallas metropolitan area.”
Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor said over the weekend that Kevin Love would “most likely” be traded by late August according to Charley Walters of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com said earlier this week the Minnesota Timberwolves and Cleveland Cavaliers have a deal basically in place.
From the Tom Withers and Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press:
Love will soon be on his way from Minnesota to Cleveland after the teams reached an agreement in principle to a trade that will send the All-Star forward to the Cavaliers for Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and a first-round draft pick, two people with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on Thursday.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, the Cavaliers and Love’s camp already have an understanding that he will get tendered a 5-year max contract next summer.
Cleveland is making the deal with Minnesota with a firm agreement Love will opt out of his contract in 2015 and re-sign with the Cavaliers on a five-year, $120 million-plus contract extension, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
The Love trade almost assures that Minnesota won’t be a threat in the West this season. While the reported haul of Wiggins, Bennett and a first rounder is a nice haul, it’s one that will pay more dividends in the future than it will immediate.
The Timberwolves have also been linked with Philadelphia power forward Thaddeus Young.
And finally some Team USA related news before we wrap up this batch of Trail Mix. Kevin Durant announced on Thursday afternoon that he was withdrawing from the 2014 USA Basketball team.
Durant said this in a statement released from the Oklahoma City Thunder:
“This was an extremely difficult decision as I take great pride in representing our country. I know that I owe it to my USA Basketball teammates to be totally invested in the experience. After going through training camp with USAB, I realized I could not fulfill my responsibilities to the team from both a time and energy standpoint. I need to take a step back and take some time away, both mentally and physically in order to prepare for the upcoming NBA season. I will be rooting for USAB and look forward to future opportunities with them.”
This brings the final roster count in camp to 15 players competing for 12 spots. It’s tough to see whether the absence of Durant will have any affect on Damian Lillard’s candidacy for the squad.
Team USA still has plenty of players who can put the ball in the hoop. John Schuhmann of NBA.com wonders if the final roster spot will come down to Lillard and Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan, who are both represented by the same agency.
Team USA resumes practices in Chicago on August 14.
Bonus Reading: The great Jack McCallum has a fantastic profile on Cleveland’s first year head coach David Blatt in this week’s Sports Illustrated.
There was enough stuff in the last few days that we felt we needed to put it in a Trail Mix.
Damian Lillard is a star in the new “Boost Or Bust” campaign from adidas.
This one also stars CNN and Turner Sports reporter and host Rachel Nichols. Lillard, true to form, gave shout-outs to Ogden, Utah, Oregon and his childhood home of Oakland.
Lillard is already a superstar but you can see why adidas threw one of the most lucrative endorsement deals in the league at him. The guy is good in front of a camera, behind a microphone or with the game on the line.
The All-Star was also the star of a joint commercial from adidas and Foot Locker with some retired football and basketball legends.
Dame received his own colorway from adidas in their new “Boost” shoe which he has been wearing at the USA Team camp.
Lillard made it past the first round cuts in the selection process for Team USA earlier this morning.
I vote to re-name this summer “The Summer Of Robin Lopez.” His diary on TrailBlazers.com (many thanks to Casey Holdahl) has been one of the Blazers-related highlights of the offseason. In his most recent edition, Lopez addressed his long running tradition of trying McDonald’s restaurants in every country he visits after eating caviar in Russia.
Speaking of international culinary delights, every country I go to, I have to go to a McDonald’s. It’s a tradition I have with one of my friends from high school. I’ve been to McDonald’s in Spain, Greece, Turkey, Ireland, Norway, Denmark, Holland, Scotland, Hong Kong, Japan, Canada and Singapore. Despite that, I’m still without a fast food endorsement, which hurts a bit because you’re not really somebody unless someone is paying for your McDonald’s. Please feel free to forward along all of your sponsorship opportunities to my representation.
So we tried a Russian McDonald’s. It was okay, but I’m not sure what’s going on with the sauce. It was kind of peppery. And there was no cheese. It wasn’t my favorite international McDonald’s, which would probably be the McDonald’s in Japan because they have these gelatin drinks that are just unbelievable. I mean, Russian McDonald’s was solid, definitely above average. Nevertheless, I’m lovin’ it!
It was short-lived, and if we never have it again, we’ll always have the RoLo Travel Diaries of 2014.
In a huge bit of news, the San Antonio Spurs announced the hiring of WNBA star Becky Hammon as assistant coach. Kate Fagen wrote about the hiring for ESPNW.
On Tuesday afternoon, all question marks about Hammon’s post-playing days were answered, as the San Antonio Spurs announced that she had been hired as an assistant coach. With that simple news release — headline: Spurs Name Becky Hammon Assistant Coach – a very high, very thick glass wall has cracked.
A woman is coaching in the NBA.
The 37-year-old native of South Dakota becomes the first full-time female coach in the NBA – and the first full-time female coach in any of the four major professional sports.
Over the weekend, Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor said that a trade of power forward Kevin Love should happen in late August according to Charley Walters of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
The Timberwolves say now that they expect to trade disgruntled all-star Kevin Love and that a deal is expected Aug. 23 or Aug. 24.
“I’m saying it’s most likely because Kevin has made it pretty clear that that’s what he wants to do,” Wolves owner Glen Taylor told the Pioneer Press.
USA Basketball has reportedly began forming their roster for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup later this month in Spain. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports that Team USA has cut three players from the remaining roster. Damian Lillard was not one of those cuts and remains on the current 16-man roster.
USA Basketball cut Washington’s John Wall, Bradley Beal and Atlanta’s Paul Millsap today, sources told Yahoo Sports.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) August 4, 2014
The roster went down from 20 to 19 after Paul George’s gruesome injury on Friday. The three cuts made today of Wall, Beal and Millsap bring the number down to 16 players.
Wall and Beal were thought to be in direct competition with Damian Lillard. Reports from the Team USA training camp indicated that Lillard had a good chance to make the roster.
Although USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo said Team USA would only carry two “true” point guards, Lillard’s ability to play off the ball has helped his candidacy.
There are still four more cuts to be made before the rosters are due on August 29. The final roster is expected to be set by August 23 when the team leaves for Spain.
Here’s a list of the remaining players:
PG Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors)
PG Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls)
PG Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers)
PG Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers)
SG James Harden (Houston Rockets)
SG DeMar Derozan (Toronto Raptors)
SG Kyle Korver (Atlanta Hawks
SG Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors)
SF Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder)
SF Gordon Hayward (Utah Jazz)
SF Chandler Parsons (Dallas Mavericks)
PF Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets)
PF/C Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans)
C Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons)
C Mason Plumlee (Brooklyn Nets)
Damian Lillard doing what Damian Lillard does, hitting buzzer beaters in the USA Basketball showcase scrimmage
Damian Lillard has been around the block a few times with this buzzer beating thing. So would playing against some of the World’s Greatest with the stakes of trying to make Team USA change anything?
Of course not.
Lillard has an impeccable knack for timing and a flair for the dramatic, dealing with drama in undramatic fashion.
But after this one, even he had to smile a little bit. No Dame scowl on this one, perhaps cause he banked it.
Lillard scored 7 points, 2 rebounds, an assist and a steal in the first half of the USA Basketball Showcase.
The first cuts for Team USA are expected to happen tomorrow. Making shots like that or diving on the floor like he was here, can’t hurt his chances.]]>
Yes, I know the picture above is one of many people and not just the subject of this post. However, it’s just too good.
Welcome to another installment of “Once A Blazer.”
Today we are taking a different approach to talk about a former Blazer who turned from player to abstract concept in the 2008-09 season. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Raef LaFrentz and his contract is our subject for today. We are going to start with LaFrentz the player and person before getting into the discussion about LaFrentz the expiring contract.
LaFrentz played for the Blazers for two seasons (2006-08) and was under contract for another, despite being injured for the whole season.
Born May 29, 1976 in Hampton, Iowa.
Drafted with the third pick in the first round of the 1998 NBA draft by the Denver Nuggets.
How He Became A Blazer: Acquired via a draft day trade on June 28, 2006 from the Boston Celtics. The Blazers traded Theo Ratliff, Sebastian Telfair and 2008 2nd rounder (who became Trent Plaisted) to the C’s for LaFrentz, Dan Dickau and Randy Foye. Foye, of course, was later traded for Brandon Roy on that same day. The Blazers also selected LaMarcus Aldridge with the 2nd pick in that draft. So, that day was kind of a big one in Blazers history.
Fun Facts: LaFrentz would only play in 66 games in two seasons with the Blazers, averaging 9.7 minutes, 2.5 points, 2.1 rebounds and 0.4 blocks while still being one of the team’s highest paid players.
The most games LaFrentz played in a season in a Blazers uniform was the 2007-08 season, when things started to turn around for the franchise.
LaFrentz also had some other notable moments in his NBA career. He was in the top-six in the league in blocks three times (’99,’00,’01). He was 2nd in the NBA in blocks in the 2001-02 season behind Ben Wallace. Tim Duncan was third that season and he just won a ring 12 years later. Tim Duncan is amazing, but I digress.
Best Blazer Performance: Due to problems with his knees, it was basically impossible for Blazers fans to see the best of LaFrentz. His best performance from a purely statistical perspective was 15 points and 5 rebounds on March 31, 2007 in a 99-86 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. There was just too much Cuttino Mobley (!!!) for the Blazers to handle that night.
LaFrentz’s best performance in non-mop-up duty was in a six-point win over the Seattle Supersonics (RIP) with 8 points and 6 rebounds on March 14, 2007.
But, due to injury, LaFrentz’s biggest contribution to Blazers folklore has nothing to do with what he did on the court.
Raef LaFrentz’s Expiring Contract
Born Summer 2008
Raef LaFrentz’s expiring contract was never dealt. But during the 2008-09 season, it had become one of the dominant storylines of the Blazers season. It was a renaissance year, much like the 2012-13 season, where the Blazers won 54 games and earned homecourt in the playoffs.
But, with Greg Oden dealing with injuries and the team still inexperienced, most agreed they needed to make a move for another veteran. LaFrentz’s contract, thanks to the poor economy, was thought to be the ultimate bargaining chip as teams were scrapping to cut payroll. John Canzano called it the “Golden Ticket.”
The Blazers won’t tell you which drawer the document is filed in. And they won’t allow you to photograph it. But that gorgeous document is Raef LaFrentz’s expiring contract, and as long as we’re talking about the Feb.19 NBA trade deadline, we should get one thing straight — if the Blazers make a splashy trade, it’s going to include this contract.
In fact, that minx of a contract might be the only thing the Blazers trade.
Henry Abbott, writing for ESPN.com’s True Hoop blog, dished on LaFrentz’s contract and whether other teams would deal with the Blazers, who didn’t have too many fans among other front offices at the time.
ESPN’s Chad Ford has just been reviewing the big men who are on the market this trade season. This is what he had to say about the injured LaFrentz:
LaFrentz has what NBA GMs are calling a “super-expiring contract.” Not only does his $12.7 million salary come off the books this summer, but insurance is paying 80 percent of it. Add in that the Blazers have other young players like Sergio Rodriguez, Channing Frye and Travis Outlaw whom they could throw in a deal, and a team looking to clear some cap space and develop young talent would have to take a hard look at a deal with Portland.
The biggest question surrounding a Blazers deal at the moment: Does any GM in the league really want to do Blazers GM Kevin Pritchard any favors after his team threatened to sue all the owners in the league over the Darius Miles fiasco? More than one GM has told me no.
Oh. No. Nope. Not you. You’re not that kind of GM. You’re not going to help your team by getting Raef LaFrentz … because that Kevin Pritchard makes you feel icky, and that Larry Miller sent you a nasty e-mail.
So no franchise-saving cost-cutting for you. You’ll just make your trade somewhere else.
Even though you only compete against Portland a few times a season, to punish them, you’ll hurt your own franchise 365 days a year.
Those thing they say about business and pleasure … they apply to enmity too.
Meanwhile, in Portland, I’m not sure they’ll actually be learning their lesson. Keeping LaFrentz would put the team that much more under the cap this summer, and they’ll still have the deep-pocketed owner, the nice city, the roster headed for great things, and the ability to sign free agents or make lop-sided trades.
Shaq was reportedly one of the players the Blazers tried to acquire, but he apparently vetoed that trade before getting dealt to the Cavs to play with LeBron James. Other players the Blazers were linked to that season were Vince Carter, Richard Jefferson, Luol Deng, John Salmons and Gerald Wallace, who eventually became a Blazer two trade deadlines later.
How It Ended: LaFrentz stayed on the Blazers through the duration of his contract before eventually retiring from basketball after that season. He’s kept a very low profile since walking away from the game and has been basically untraceable.
But, to remember LaFrentz’s better days before he became known for his contract, here are some highlights via YouTube.