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CJ McCollum Trying To Take Next Step With Improved Handle

Nov 24, 2015 6:40 PM

CJ McCollum's father challenged him in the offseason to improve his ballhandling.

McCollum's father was struck in the playoffs by how Kyrie Irving could get anywhere he wanted on the floor due to his handle.

"I always could (dribble). It was more about synchronizing it all together," McCollum says. "Finding out what dribble moves I could use to kind of be efficient and get to a spot. But I've always been able to dribble I just think I've gotten tighter with it and have a better sense of control, command."

McCollum's ability with his handle is clear in one-on-one situations.

"If you can handle the ball in this league, there's room for you," McCollum said. "Because everybody can't dribble. Everybody doesn't possess the ability to break down a defender, the ability to get into the lane and draw help. Everybody can't do that."

McCollum works on his handle before every game.

Mike Richman/Oregonian

Tags: C.J. McCollum, Portland Trail Blazers, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Pat Riley Asked LaMarcus Aldridge To Re-Sign With Blazers, Sign With Heat In 2016

Nov 11, 2015 6:54 PM

Pat Riley received a meeting with LaMarcus Aldridge last July during free agency, but the Miami Heat didn't have the necessary cap space to sign him.

Riley's wish was for Aldridge to sign a one-year deal with the Portland Trail Blazers and sign with the Heat in 2016.

Riley's words actually went a long way toward validating the San Antonio Spurs' case instead of the Phoenix Suns.

“He told me, ‘You’re a good player, but you can be great,’” Aldridge told Yahoo. “I’ve had good seasons on my own, but to win, you’ve got to have other big-time guys with you. When you have other guys who are willing to take that sacrifice with you – maybe you all go from averaging 23-24 points to 18-19 points – and you can all do it together.

“He was saying, ‘Hey, you might have to take a lesser role, but at the end of the day, you want to be known as a champion. Champions have to do different things.’ He brought up Chris Bosh, how he was averaging 21 in Toronto, and came to Miami, and people tried to say he wasn’t important. He told me, ‘We don’t win any of those championships rings without him,’ [and] that [Bosh] wouldn’t trade those rings for anything.

“Eventually, it becomes a road in your career, whether you have to decide whether you want to keep having these crazy stats, or do you want to win a championship?”

The Spurs soon closed the deal with Aldridge after the Riley meeting.

“Yeah, the things [Riley] said were definitely more positive for me coming to San Antonio,” Aldridge said.

Adrian Wojnarowski/Yahoo! Sports

Tags: LaMarcus Aldridge, Miami Heat, Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs, NBA, NBA Signing Rumor, NBA Misc Rumor

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Thunder, Celtics, Grizzlies Finish Preseason Top-3 In Efficiency Differential

Oct 26, 2015 1:02 PM

The Oklahoma City Thunder led the NBA in efficiency differential during the preseason with a mark of +12.5.

During the 14-15 preseason, the Golden State Warriors had the league's best mark with +11.0, which became a first indicator of their jump as title contenders.

Here's the full rankings from the 15-16 preseason:

1. Thunder: 12.5
2. Celtics: 11.6
3. Grizzlies: 11.5
4. Wizards: 10.4
5. Hornets: 10.0
6. Pistons: 7.1
7. Raptors: 5.6
8. Pacers: 4.7
9. Knicks: 4.0
10. Suns: 3.9
11. Nuggets: 3.5
12. Kings: 3.3
13. Magic: 2.8
14. Blazers: 1.8
15. Jazz: 0.4
16. Heat: 0.0
17. Hawks: -0.7
18. Rockets: -0.7
19. Nets: -1.0
20. Warriors: -1.3
21. Spurs: -1.9
22. Lakers: -2.1
23. Bucks: -3.4
24. Bulls: -3.6
25. Pelicans: -3.6
26. Clippers: -4.2
27. Cavaliers: -6.5
28. 76ers: -8.6
29. Mavericks: -10.7
30. Wolves: -11.0

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Tags: Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Charlotte Hornets, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans, New York Knicks, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia Sixers, Phoenix Suns, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs, Toronto Raptors, Utah Jazz, Washington Wizards, Oklahoma City Thunder, Brooklyn Nets, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Phil Pressey Claimed Off Waivers By Jazz

Oct 25, 2015 5:06 PM

The Utah Jazz have claimed Phil Pressey off waivers.

Pressey was waived before the start of the regular season by the Portland Trail Blazers.

Pressey spent the past two seasons with the Boston Celtics.

Shams Charania/Yahoo! Sports

Tags: Phil Pressey, Portland Trail Blazers, Utah Jazz, NBA, NBA Signing Rumor, NBA Misc Rumor

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Phil Pressey, Omari Johnson Waived By Blazers

Oct 23, 2015 4:15 PM

The Portland Trail Blazers have waived guard Phil Pressey and forward Omari Johnson.

Pressey appeared in four preseason games for Portland, averaging 4.8 points and 2.0 assists. 

Johnson also appeared in four preseason games averaging 2.3 points and 1.0 rebounds per game for the Trail Blazers. 

Portland's roster now stands at 15.

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Tags: Phil Pressey, Omari Johnson, Portland Trail Blazers, NBA, NBA Signing Rumor, NBA Misc Rumor, NBA Waiver

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LaMarcus Aldridge: Blazers Did Everything They Could

Oct 22, 2015 12:11 PM

LaMarcus Aldridge didn't expect to leave the Portland Trail Blazers when he decided to play through a broken thumb and wait until after the season for surgery.

Aldridge said in 2014 that he planned on re-signing with the Blazers.

"You know I think just weighing my options and just going through the process really kind of helped me see what I valued," said Aldridge. "It wasn’t easy leaving. I love Portland and I have so much history there and I knew it like the back of my hand, so the decision to leave was never easy. When I put off [thumb surgery] I definitely didn’t think I was leaving. I wanted to maximize that moment. I didn’t want to waste that. I wanted to be in the moment, I wanted to help finish the season out well and to play in the playoffs. So in that moment I was in the mind-set that I was coming back.

"But I think as I went through the process more I just value being closer to home, I value seeing my kids more. I feel like, of course, Portland didn’t want me to leave, but I feel like at the end of the day it’s good to have a fresh start. You know we had first round [exits] for so many years, and then we finally got to the second round, but I think for both sides it’s actually really good. It’s better to get a fresh start and now they have no battle with who’s the face of the team. Damian [Lillard] is a very high talent so he’s going to be good for years to come. So I think in a way it actually made it easier on them too."

Aldridge was asked if the Blazers could have done anything differently to keep him.

"No, I think they did everything that they could," said Aldridge. "I thought they were trying to see what I wanted, what I needed. They were trying to keep me involved every step of the process. I thought that they definitely made me feel like they wanted me back. They were very interested in having me back, they wanted me to still be the focal point of the offense, so I don’t think there was much they could have done. I think it was just that time, where we had tried and tried and tried and I feel like San Antonio, and being home, it was just a lot of positives. Like I said being home was one of my goals and to be there and to just see my family was key."

Chris Mannix/Sports Illustrated

Tags: LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs, NBA, NBA Signing Rumor, NBA Misc Rumor

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Dunc'd On Pod: Portland Trail Blazers Season Preview With Erik Gundersen

Oct 18, 2015 10:01 PM

Erik Gundersen (@BlazerBanter) of the Vancouver Columbian's Blazer Banter blog joins Nate Duncan (@NateDuncanNBA) to preview the Portland Trail Blazers 2015-16 season.  

Topics include: His reporting on the LaMarcus Aldridge departure, a potentially underrated offense this year, who will emerge among the youngs in the wing and big rotations, and his grade for GM Neil Olshey.

Subscribe to the Dunc'd On Basketball Podcast on iTunes or via the XML feed.

Click here for other team previews from the Dunc'd On Basketball Podcast.

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Tags: Portland Trail Blazers, NBA, Dunc'd On

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Blazers Consulted Damian Lillard On Youth Movement Rebuild

Oct 13, 2015 4:02 PM

Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge downplayed any issues between them and that their relationship was part of the reason Aldridge decided to leave the Portland Trail Blazers for the San Antonio Spurs.

"Our relationship was fine," Lillard said. "Me and LA never had an argument. People are searching for something that’s not there. When you have two All-Stars on the same team and one of them decides to leave, it’s automatically, ‘They didn’t get along.’ We had back-to-back 50-win seasons. We both made the All-Star team. We played through him and after that it was me and that was that. We played well together. We never had an issue."

Neil Olshey also decided to rebuild the Blazers with a number of younger players to support Lillard, which he ran by Lillard beforehand.

"This was not done without Dame’s participation," Olshey said. "If he was at all reticent, if he said it would be great if you could get me another vet to help out, we would have gone out and found a couple of other guys to take the pressure off of him. He’s not that kind of kid. He embraces it. He thrives on it."

Paul Flannery/SB Nation

Tags: Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers, NBA, NBA Misc Rumor

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Blazers Name CJ McCollum Backup Point Guard

Oct 9, 2015 1:30 PM

CJ McCollum will be the Portland Trail Blazers' backup point guard behind Damian Lillard.

"Essentially, the plan is, when Dame (Lillard) is out, CJ will be the point guard,'' Terry Stotts said.

McCollum played point guard for the first time in the NBA on Thursday in the Blazers' preseason game.

McCollum played some point guard in college and often had the ball in his hands pushing a fast break when playing shooting guard.

"I guess it's preseason so you have to find something to write about,  but I don't think its really a big deal,'' McCollum said. "It's still a basketball game.''


Stotts estimated that Lillard would average around 36 minutes a game this season, leaving 12 minutes a game for McCollum at point guard.

Jason Quick/Oregonian

Tags: C.J. McCollum, Portland Trail Blazers, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Blazers Exercise 16-17 Options On CJ McCollum, Mason Plumlee, Noah Vonleh

Sep 30, 2015 1:51 PM

The Portland Trail Blazers have exercised team options on guard CJ McCollum (fourth year), center Mason Plumlee (fourth year) and forward Noah Vonleh (third year).

McCollum, the 10th overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, holds averages of 6.3 points, 1.4 rebounds, 0.9 assists and 14.5 minutes in 100 career games in his first two seasons with Portland.

Plumlee, the 22nd overall selection in the 2013 NBA Draft by Brooklyn, has averaged 8.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 0.77 blocks and 19.9 minutes in 152 games during his first two NBA seasons.

Portland acquired Plumlee and the draft rights to guard Pat Connaughton from Brooklyn for guard Steve Blake and the draft rights to forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.

Vonleh, the ninth overall pick by Charlotte in the 2014 NBA Draft, appeared in 25 games for the Hornets during his rookie season, averaging 3.3 points, 3.4 rebounds and 0.2 assists in 10.4 minutes.

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Tags: C.J. McCollum, Mason Plumlee, Noah Vonleh, Portland Trail Blazers, NBA, NBA Signing Rumor, NBA Misc Rumor

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Damian Lillard Spent Offseason Working On Handle Inspired By Curry
Damian Lillard was asked on media day how he's worked on expanding his individual game in the offseason.

David MacKay/Blazers Edge

Mike Miller Agrees To Buyout With Blazers
The Nuggets are expected to pursue Mike Miller once he clears waivers.

Shams Charania/Yahoo! Sports

Jim Moran Promoted By Blazers To Assistant Coach
Jim Moran joins a staff that includes fellow assistant coaches Jay Triano, David Vanterpool, Nate Tibbetts and Dale Osbourne.

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Anthony Bennett Agrees To Buyout With Wolves
The Blazers are expected to pursue Anthony Bennett with the presence of Jay Triano a factor.

Shams Charania, Adrian Wojnarowski/Yahoo! Sports

Blazers Considering Logo Redesign
The Blazers' iconic pinwheel is described by Zach Lowe as "drowning in a black mass."

Zach Lowe/Grantland

Blazers' Offseason Was About Finding Players On Same Career Arc As Lillard
The Blazers have shifted this offseason to fully build around Damian Lillard following the departure of LaMarcus Aldridge.

Gary Washburn/Boston Globe

Blazers Pick Up 15-16 Option On Allen Crabbe
Allen Crabbe is expected to make more than $900,000 next season.

Jabari Young/CSNNW

Brendan Haywood Waived By Blazers
Brendan Haywood's contract was non-guaranteed.

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Wesley Matthews 'Felt Disrespected' By Lack Of Interest From Blazers
The Blazers never made an offer to Wesley Matthews in free agency.

Jason Quick/Oregonian

Grizzlies, Thunder, Mavs Expected To Pursue Mike Miller
Mike Miller was traded by the Cavaliers to the Blazers and he'll be waived.

Marc Stein/ESPN

Cavs Trade Brendan Haywood, Mike Miller To Blazers
The Cavaliers will acquire traded player exceptions worth $10.5 million and $2.85 million.

Adrian Wojnarowski/Yahoo! Sports

Blazers Sign Phil Pressey
Phil Pressey spent the past two seasons with the Celtics.

RealGM Staff Report

Cliff Alexander Signs With Blazers
Cliff Alexander averaged 7.5 points, 6.4 rebounds and 22.8 minutes a game.

Mike Richman/Oregonian

Cavs Likely To Settle For TPE In Exchange For Haywood's Contract
The Cavs used a trade exception they created last summer to trade for Timofey Mozgov during last season.

Brian Windhorst/ESPN

Blazers Sign Luis Montero
Luis Montero last played for Westchester Community College in New York, where he averaged 15.6 points, 5.9 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game in 2013-14.


Blazers Acquire Moe Harkless From Magic
The Blazers have a need at small forward, creating an opportunity for Moe Harkless to play a big role.

Adrian Wojnarowski/Yahoo! Sports

Enes Kanter Signs Four-Year, $70M Offer Sheet With Blazers
Oklahoma City has been expected to match any offer sheet Enes Kanter signs with a rival team.

Adrian Wojnarowski/Yahoo! Sports

Damian Lillard, Blazers Agree Upon Five-Year, $125M Extension
Damian Lillard's deal contains no option for either side and is fully guaranteed.

Sam Amick/USA Today

Heat Pursuing Meeting With LaMarcus Aldridge
Miami would need to agree upon a sign-and-trade with the Blazers to acquire LaMarcus Aldridge.

Adrian Wojnarowski/Yahoo! Sports

LaMarcus Aldridge Grants Lakers 2nd Meeting; Considering Visits
LaMarcus Aldridge is believed to be most strongly considering the Suns and Spurs.

Adrian Wojnarowski/Yahoo! Sports

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