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News » Portland Trail Blazers Roster Report 2008-05-30

Portland Trail Blazers Roster Report 2008-05-30

Portland Trail Blazers Roster Report 2008-05-30
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: After he won the NBA Rookie of the Year award in 2006-07, the Blazers knew what they had with Brandon Roy. But the 6-6 guard from Washington exceeded expectations in his second season, becoming the first Blazer since Rasheed Wallace in 2000-01 to make the All-Star team.

With the departure of Zach Randolph to New York, Roy took over as the Blazers unquestioned leader, on the court and off.

MOST DISAPPOINTING PLAYER: The letdown to Blazer fans was tremendous when Greg Oden's season-ending microfracture surgery was announced before training camp began. The team had set up an extensive marketing program involving Oden, and the 18-year-old told general manager Kevin Pritchard that he felt like he'd let the team down. But Oden was a familiar presence around the team all season, doing his rehab at the team practice facility and attending almost every game, home and away. Oden dealt with the boredom of rehab by buying a dog named Charles Barkley McLovin', getting a Mohawk haircut and taking part in several team community events.

BIGGEST NEEDS: The Blazers need to help themselves on offense after finishing tied for 27th in the NBA in scoring (95.4 points per game), 20th in field-goal percentage (.448) and last in both points in the paint and fast-break points. Specifically, they are looking for shooters and feel their biggest needs are at the point guard and small forward positions.

FREE AGENT FOCUS: James Jones has a player option for $3.16 million for 2008-09 that the team expects him to exercise, although Jones has said he isn't sure yet what he wants to do. Jarrett Jack is due a qualifying offer of $2.9 million for 2008-09.

Don't expect the Blazers to be big players on the free-agent market in 2008. Pritchard's master plan has been to wait until the summer of 2009 to make go after free agents, when he could have as much as $25 million to $30 million of cap room to burn.


--General manager Kevin Pritchard said the left wrist injury to Blazer draft pick Rudy Fernandez -- suffered during a semifinal playoff game for Spain's Joventut Badelona on Tuesday -- is not serious.

The 6-6, 180-pound Fernandez, acquired by Portland with the 24th pick in the first round of the 2007 draft, can buy out of his Joventut contract on June 30, and the Blazers' brass has pushed hard to get him to sign with them.

Portland can pay Fernandez little more than $1 million in salary next season, the maximum the 24th pick in the 2008 draft could make. Fernandez can make three to four times that in Europe, experts say.

The Blazers can pay up to $500,000 of a buyout that could go as high as $5 million. Fernandez would be required to cover the rest.

Nevertheless, the Blazers are optimistic they will get the services of Fernandez -- who turned 23 last month -- for next season.

--Blazer guard Brandon Roy participated in a charity Memorial Day weekend tournament in Seattle along with NBA players Jamal Crawford, Nate Robinson and Spencer Hawes, ex-Blazer Shawn Kemp and C.J. Giles, late but not great from Oregon State.

"I was thinking, 'Should I play? I don't want to get injured.'" Roy told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. "Then I thought about the kids, who can come in here for free and watch us play. They can't do that during our (NBA) season. I remember coming out to watch Jamal play... I said, 'You've got to do it,' for the fans more than anything."

Does Pritchard have a problem with players such as Roy taking part in that kind of event?

"There is always a risk of injury," the Portland GM said, "but as long as it's sanctioned by the NBA and the player wants to do it, OK."

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: May 30, 2008


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