Portland Trail Blazers v Golden State Warriors

Report: Blazers still interested in trading Raymond Felton to Lakers


We told you last week that the Lakers and Trail Blazers were reportedly having “exploratory talks” involving a trade of the teams’ point guards. The proposed deal would have Raymond Felton heading to L.A., and Steve Blake would return to Portland, where he’s been a Blazer three separate times in the past, most recently in 2010.

Nothing has come of it yet, but with the trade deadline approaching later this week, Portland still has some interest. From Ken Berger at CBSSports.com:

Rival executives believe the Blazers are interested in exploring a swap of Felton to the Lakers for Steve Blake, with L.A. sending another piece to make the salaries match and compensate the Blazers for getting the better player and future cost savings in the deal. The Portland coaching staff and front office are comfortable with Blake, who could provide a calming presence as the team battles through numerous distractions.

Ah, yes. The distractions.

Portland’s season has been nothing short of disastrous. Felton has been portrayed as one of the problems in the locker room, and head coach Nate McMillan may be on his way out, with the perception being that he’s lost his team.

The change of scenery may do Felton some good, and Blake would theoretically be able to navigate the chaos, knowing his way around the franchise from his previous stints there. From the Lakers standpoint, the deal would be all about potential upside; there isn’t a ton of risk here, as long as they believe Felton can (if nothing else) play around 20 minutes per game. That’s what the team is getting from Blake, though they aren’t getting much else — over his last six games, Blake is shooting a dismal .176 from the field, and has only connected on one of his last 12 three-point attempts in that same span.

Blake has been viewed as a serviceable point guard in the past, although that value, as it is with just about everyone who plays for the Blazers, has been greatly exaggerated thanks to the team’s passionate fan base. If Portland is willing to take him back, and if Felton can snap out of his funk in a new situation, it might be a deal that makes sense for both sides to continue to discuss.

Kevin Love unsure about opening-night return

Kevin Love
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He’s back in practice with the Cavaliers, but there’s still no clarity on whether Kevin Love will be available for the season opener. Love had shoulder surgery in April after suffering a torn labrum in Game 4 of the Cavs’ first-round series against the Celtics, and doctors initially gave him a timetable of four to six months for a return. The six-month end of that is right around opening night (October 27), but Love still doesn’t know whether he’ll be able to play against the Bulls—although he is hopeful.

Via the Sporting News‘ Sean Deveney:

“I feel pretty good,” Love told Sporting News. “As far as the opener goes, I am not completely sure. I’ll probably get with the doctors and see what they have to say. I know that my six-month post-op is coming up here pretty fast. As far as getting the strength back, getting the range of motion, I feel pretty good, so I am looking forward to getting into some more contact, getting into a rhythm and getting out there as quickly as I can.”

Love has been cleared for 3-on-3 practices, but not yet for 5-on-5. If it were up to him, he’d be back on the court, but he understands he needs to follow the rehab protocol for his injury.

“(Six months is) just a ballpark figure that has generally been thrown out there by anybody who has talked about the rehab process for this kind of an injury,” Love said. “I like to think that I am ahead of the game, but there’s different tests and the due diligence that the doctor will go through and the training staff will go through. So all I can do is go out there every day and attack my rehab and hopefully I will be able to go out there and help these guys as soon as possible.”

At the very least, the Cavs will be without Kyrie Irving (still recovering from knee surgery) and Iman Shumpert (out up to three months with a wrist injury), and probably Tristan Thompson too, unless his contract situation changes unexpectedly. So having Love available would be some much-needed good news. But it’s more important that Love (and everyone else) is healthy for the playoffs. If he’s not ready to play, there’s no need to rush back for an October game.

Greg Smith fails physical, will not join Pelicans

Greg Smith
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With both starter Omer Asik and backup Alexis Ajinca out injured for the rest of the preseason (and maybe a little longer), the Pelicans are looking for a center to put next to Anthony Davis for a stretch. That could include a handful of regular season games.

Greg Smith was going to be that man, but the 24-year-old failed his physical, reports the Times-Picayune.

The New Orleans Pelicans were set to sign power forward Greg Smith, but sources said Friday night that he failed his physical examination and will not be joining the team.

And so the search goes on.

The problem is, there are not quality big men still out there on the market, there is a limited supply and just about anyone worth having is spoken for. A few with non-guaranteed contracts may be waived as we get closer to the end of training camps, but that is likely a couple of weeks away.

With both Asik and Ajinca expected back in a few weeks, it’s not worth making a trade or some big move to bring in a center, the Pelicans are just going to have to live with what is out there.