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C.J. McCollum Named NBA's Most Improved Player

Apr 22, 2016 10:37 AM

C.J. McCollum has been named the NBA's Most Improved Player, receiving 101 first place votes and 559 points.

Kemba Walker was second with 166 points, while Giannis Antetokounmpo (99) was third.

Stephen Curry was fourth in the voting and received seven first place votes despite winning MVP last season.

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Tags: C.J. McCollum, Portland Trail Blazers, NBA, NBA Award

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Damian Lillard Credits Extra Time Blazers Spent Forming Bonds For Current Success

Mar 27, 2016 1:39 PM

The Portland Trail Blazers are one of the NBA's biggest success stories this season with their surprisingly competitive team despite losing LaMarcus Aldridge in the offseason.

Damian Lillard credits how closely the players have worked together even before the season started.

“It’s a great feeling and it’s rewarding,” Lillard said of the Blazers’ surprising season. “We put so much time in together. Once our roster came together, we started spending time together right away. We went to San Diego together and worked out for a week. We came to Portland a month and a half early, played pickup. We worked out together, hung out together, and formed a bond with each other.”

The Blazers have been on a surge since a 29-point victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Dec. 26th. The Blazers have won 26 of their last 42 games.

“When the season started, we knew there would be growing pains on the floor, and it would come down to how we responded to that,” said Lillard. “All the things we went through to start the season, it made us better, and now we’re in position to be a playoff team.”

Lillard is the unquestioned leader but it's a group effort.

“It’s not me just doing everything,” Lillard said. “I’m not carrying the team and having to do it all by myself. It’s the group. I came into camp and in my mind I’m saying we’re going to be better than people think, having a lot of pride. We’ve been able to do what we’ve done because everybody felt that way. Everybody came in and said, ‘I’m better than what they say I am. I can bring more to this team than they say I can bring.’ And they took it personal.”

 

Gary Washburn/Boston Globe

Tags: Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Meyers Leonard Out For Season, Will Undergo Shoulder Surgery

Mar 25, 2016 11:46 AM

Meyers Leonard will undergo surgery to repair his injured left shoulder and will be sidelined for the remainder of the season.

The surgery is scheduled to be performed on Friday, April 8 by Dr. Neal ElAttrache at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles.

A prognosis on Leonard's return will be made following the procedure.

Leonard will be a restricted free agent in the offseason.

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Tags: Meyers Leonard, Portland Trail Blazers, NBA, NBA Injury

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C.J. McCollum Enjoying Possible MIP Season Finally Getting Consistent Minutes

Mar 18, 2016 1:03 PM

C.J. McCollum is averaging 20.7 points and 4.1 assists per game this season as he's having a breakout year with increased minutes.

"For me as an individual, it’s been a good year," said McCollum. "Coming off an injury riddled season when I was hurt, not playing a lot of minutes. I wasn’t healthy. I was in and out of the rotation, playing around 15 minutes a game. And then we make the Arron Afflalo trade, and those 15 minutes go to zero. I got some DNPs, and then some injuries allowed me to get back into the rotation and I finish the season strong. … It was kind of like I played, then I didn’t play, played again, and then the season ended. So people didn’t know what to expect from me. Probably wasn’t sure how I would adapt to an increasing new role. Being on your podcast (last summer), I was really able to get a sense of the low expectations that people had for us around the NBA."

McCollum is a leading candidate for Most Improved Player and was asked if he thinks he deserves the award.

"There are a lot of good players that have improved. You look at my increased role and opportunity to increase my production; I think it stacks up pretty well against the rest of the guys. … I think based off what I’ve done and what our team has done – just the development and our coaching staff has spent tons of hours watching film and continuing to help us get better – we’re at a really good place. Individually, I’m continuing to get better and would love to accept the award on behalf of the city of Portland and Trail Blazers organization."

Jabari Young/San Antonio Express-News

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

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Blazers Pursued Trade With Bucks For Greg Monroe Before Deadline

Mar 1, 2016 5:53 PM

The Portland Trail Blazers made inquiries before the deadline about the availability of Greg Monroe.

The Blazers also pursued Monroe in free agency before he decided to sign with the Milwaukee bucks.

The Blazers could explore a trade for Monroe again in the offseason with the assets of their first round pick, a young player on a good contract and cap space.

Monroe can become a free agent again in 2017.

Zach Lowe/ESPN

Tags: Greg Monroe, Milwaukee Bucks, Portland Trail Blazers, NBA, NBA Trade Rumor, NBA Misc Rumor

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Warriors Considering Pursuing Anderson Varejao

Feb 19, 2016 8:13 PM

The Golden State Warriors are considering pursuing Anderson Varejao.

Varejao was traded at the deadline by the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Portland Trail Blazers. The Blazers have waived Varejao and he will clear waivers.

The Warriors are in fact finding mode on Varejao.

Golden State is currently without Festus Ezeli.

Marc Stein/ESPN

Tags: Anderson Varejao, Portland Trail Blazers, NBA, NBA Signing Rumor, NBA Misc Rumor

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Blazers Acquire Brian Roberts, 2nd Rounder From Heat

Feb 18, 2016 2:18 PM

The Portland Trail Blazers have acquired Brian Roberts and a second round pick from the Miami Heat.

The Blazers will use their cap space to absorb Roberts and the Heat save on salary and the luxury tax. The Heat will move below the tax, saving $6 million.

Adrian Wojnarowski/The Vertical

Tags: Brian Roberts, Miami Heat, Portland Trail Blazers, NBA, NBA Trade Rumor, NBA Misc Rumor

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Cavs Trade Anderson Varejao To Blazers In Deal With Magic For Channing Frye

Feb 18, 2016 12:42 PM

The Cleveland Cavaliers will acquire Channing Frye from the Orlando Magic.

The Magic also discussed a Frye deal with the Los Angeles Clippers.

Anderson Varejao will be part of the trade, ending up with the Portland Trail Blazers. The Blazers will also acquire a conditional first round pick from the Cavaliers while sending a second round pick to the Magic, according ESPN's Dave McMenamin.

Portland will waive Tim Frazier to clear a roster spot for Varejao, according to Shams Charania of The Vertical.

Jared Cunningham will also be traded by the Cavaliers to the Magic, though he will be waived.

The Magic could now have $45 million in cap space in July, according to Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel.

Cleveland will save the Cavaliers more than $10 million in salary and taxes this season with the move, according to McMenamin.

Adrian Wojnarowski reports the Blazers will likely waive Varejao.

Varejao has a five percent trade kicker in his contract worth an extra $626,835, according to ESPN's Marc Stein. Dan Fegan negotiated a three-year, $30 million extension with the Cavaliers in 2014. The deal is non-guaranteed for the 17-18 season.

Frye reportedly agreed to sign with the Cavaliers in 2014 but the team ran out of cap space when LeBron James returned.

Frank Isola/New York Daily News

Tags: Channing Frye, Cleveland Cavaliers, Orlando Magic, Portland Trail Blazers, NBA, NBA Trade Rumor, NBA Misc Rumor

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Damian Lillard Added To USA Basketball Roster Pool

Feb 10, 2016 5:16 PM

Damian Lillard has been added to the roster of finalists for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Men's Basketball Team.

Named to the 2014-16 USA Basketball Men's National Team in January 2014, the 6-foot-3 guard was a finalist for the 2014 USA World Cup Team, and played in two exhibition games during the 2014 USA National Team Tour, recording seven points, three rebounds, three assists and one steal in 24 minutes of action in the USA's 105-62 win against Dominican Republic on Aug. 20, 2014.

Currently in his fourth NBA season, Lillard in 2015-16 is averaging career-highs of 24.2 points (6th in the NBA) and 7.3 assists per game (7th in the NBA), while adding 4.4 rebounds per game, and shooting 41.8 percent from the field, 36.2 percent from 3-point and 86.5 percent from the foul line.

"I recently received a call from Damian, and during our conversation he expressed his desire to be considered for the U.S. Olympic Team and to remain involved with the USA National Team in the future as well," said Jerry Colangelo, who has served as the managing director of the USA Men's National Team since 2005. "Both Mike (Krzyzewski) and I feel like Damian is playing at a very high level and that he should be added to our list of Olympic finalists. Damian has been a member of the USA National Team since 2014, and he participated in National Team training camps in 2013 and 2014, so he does have equity in USA Basketball, which is always important to me."

RealGM Staff Report

Tags: Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers, NBA, National

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CJ McCollum Has Become One Of NBA's Best Midrange Shooters

Jan 30, 2016 4:47 PM

CJ McCollum has become one of the NBA's best midrange shooters.

"It's been a part of my game for life. It's tougher to finish in the lane so you've got to find different areas to score efficiently and the mid-range contested shot is a shot a lot of teams will live with," McCollum says. "And it's a shot I'm willing to live with as well just because I've gotten so many shots at it and I'm comfortable with it."

McCollum is shooting 46.6 percent on mid-range shots season, according to NBA.com. He's attempted the 12th most mid-range shots in the league and has the highest field goal percentage of anyone in the NBA who has taken at least 250 such shots. 

Mike Richman/Oregonian

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

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Olshey: Our Player Development Allows Us To 'Optimize Asset Value' Of Players
A big part of how the Blazers have been successful under Neil Olshey and Terry Stotts has been player development.

Adrian Wojnarowski/Yahoo! Sports

C.J. McCollum Unable To Play In Wednesday's Game Due To Clerical Error
The Blazers accidentally submitted a roster with C.J. McCollum on the inactive list instead of teammate Luis Montero.

Kevin Pelton/ESPN

Damian Lillard Aggravates Plantar Fasciitis Injury
Damian Lillard downplayed the ailment and he finished the game.

Joe Freeman/Oregonian

Damian Lillard: Blazers Have To Be A Team That Isn't Fun To Play Against
Damian Lillard acknowledged that he and CJ McCollum have to improve at facilitating for their teammates.

Malika Andrews/AP

Adam Silver Appreciates Blazers 'Not Bottoming-Out' With Rebuild
The Blazers are rebuilding after losing LaMarcus Aldridge to the Spurs in the offseason.

Mike Richman/Oregonian

CJ McCollum Trying To Take Next Step With Improved Handle
C.J. McCollum's ability with his handle is clear in one-on-one situations.

Mike Richman/Oregonian

Pat Riley Asked LaMarcus Aldridge To Re-Sign With Blazers, Sign With Heat In 2016
Pat Riley's words to LaMarcus Aldridge actually went a long way toward validating the Spurs' case instead of the Suns.

Adrian Wojnarowski/Yahoo! Sports

Thunder, Celtics, Grizzlies Finish Preseason Top-3 In Efficiency Differential
The Thunder led the NBA in efficiency differential during the preseason with a mark of +12.5.

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Phil Pressey Claimed Off Waivers By Jazz
Phil Pressey was waived before the start of the regular season by the Blazers.

Shams Charania/Yahoo! Sports

Phil Pressey, Omari Johnson Waived By Blazers
Portland's roster now stands at 15.

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LaMarcus Aldridge: Blazers Did Everything They Could
LaMarcus Aldridge didn't expect to leave the Blazers when he decided to play through a broken thumb and wait until after the season for surgery.

Chris Mannix/Sports Illustrated

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

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Blazers Consulted Damian Lillard On Youth Movement Rebuild
Neil Olshey decided to rebuild the Blazers with a number of younger players to support Damian Lillard.

Paul Flannery/SB Nation

Blazers Name CJ McCollum Backup Point Guard
CJ McCollum played point guard for the first time in the NBA on Thursday in the Blazers' preseason game.

Jason Quick/Oregonian

Blazers Exercise 16-17 Options On CJ McCollum, Mason Plumlee, Noah Vonleh
The Blazers have exercised team options on guard CJ McCollum (fourth year), center Mason Plumlee (fourth year) and forward Noah Vonleh (third year).

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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