… or, simply didn’t care enough to ask.
At any rate, let’s break down the futures of the waived players.
On Saturday, the Trail Blazers officially released five players. Shooting guard Demonte Harper and center Dallas Lauderdale had left the team on Tuesday to, in the paraphrased words of general manager Neil Olshey, visit their homes before joining the Blazers’ NBA Development League team, the Idaho Stampede. Both players entered the Blazers’ training camp knowing that they would spend the month working out with the team in Portland but would all along go to Idaho come November.
Now, here’s what could happen to the other three Justin Holiday, Coby Karl and Adam Morrison
- Holiday, 6-6 wing, 23 years old, no NBA experience
Holiday got waived twice this preseason. The Blazers claimed him on Oct. 13 after he was released by the Cleveland Cavaliers. In such a small sample size to work with – the kid played a grand total of 5 minutes and 51 seconds in two games with Portland – it was hard to get a read on Holiday’s skill set. Still, there was a reason the Blazers brought him in.
On Friday, after being informed that he would be released, Holiday told me that the Blazers want him to join their D-League team. By keeping these guys up until the deadline of roster cuts, the Blazers retain their rights. So, Holiday has this weekend to mull over his interest in going to the NBDL. If he does, he’s heading to Boise. And this little pit stop in Portland would have served its purpose.
Idaho Stampede head coach Michael Peck spent the month up here and worked on the Blazers’ coaching staff. At times (when the practice facility was open to the media), I noticed other Stampede coaches here, too. So Holiday got about two weeks of familiarity with the Stampede staff and system before the start of the official practices.
- Karl, 6-5 guard, 29 years old, undrafted in 2007, has played in 24 NBA games (excluding preseason).
Karl played well when given an extended audition. On Oct. 17, Karl mostly ran the backup point and hit 3 of 4 shots for 11 points with five assists against two turnovers. Against the Utah Jazz on Oct. 22, Karl got the bulk of the backup minutes again. His stats were just OK (5 pts, 2 assts, 2 rebs) but he also stretched out his hand to Mo Williams’ face every time he shot the ball, kept the game flowing with no turnovers and once again, showed that he will only take good shots… and most of the time, he makes ’em.
But, there was no roster for journeymen. Karl knows this dance very well. He’s been released and overlooked before, but has also worked his way through the D-League to get a call up to the NBA. That happened to him twice in 2010 when Karl – coincidence alert – played for the Stampede. Karl played at Boise State Univ., got hitched in Idaho, has the Karl family homestead in that state – it just makes sense for him to return to the Stampede.
“I think he’s leaning towards possibly staying here in the D-League,” Karl’s agent Brad Ames told me on Saturday morning.
Just like Holiday, Karl has until Oct. 30 to decide if he wants to play professionally elsewhere (his agent has consistently said there’s the Europe option) or commit to the D-League. And just like Holiday, Karl will get assigned to Idaho.
So, wait. NBA teams can only assign three players to its D-League affiliate, right? And the Blazers already have the two in Lauderdale and Harper … so where does that leave Holiday and Karl?
Here’s what could happen. If Holiday and Karl sign an NBDL contract by Oct. 30, the Blazers will keep them, along with Lauderdale. Holiday, Karl and Lauderdale. That’s the three. And I’m not forgetting about Adam Morrison. His time with the Portland Trail Blazers organization is over.
- Morrison, 6-8, 28 years old, 3 NBA seasons
Morrison had garnered as much interest as any training camp invitee because of his past. He’s never lived up to his No. 3 draft pick status nor reclaimed any of the glory from his Gonzaga days. Dude can play – and I’m sure those “AD-AM! AD-AM” chants that came at the end of the FanFest and at other times were not what he’s looking for. Fans do that for the last man on the bench. Morrison doesn’t view himself as the lovable scrub. Ames, who also represents Morrison, said that his client will also consider overseas options or look at the D-League. But personally, I can not see Morrison entering the NBDL draft and taking that road. Although the option makes sense for an older player like Karl, who makes his home in Boise, Morrison will be better fitted gunning in the Euro leagues.
Remember, in the NBDL, players may be on a specific NBA-affiliated team but they’re also auditioning for all 30 teams. So whether or not Portland has a need to bring up one of its players, somebody like Holiday, Karl or Lauderdale can still get called up to another franchise.