That’s pretty much where Blazers GM Neil Olshey found himself Friday morning. Wesley Matthews — Portland’s starting two guard, top perimeter defender and key to their offensive spacing with his three-point shooting — was lost for the season due to a torn Achilles tendon. Arron Afflalo can step in as a starter and provide quality minutes, but who plays behind him now?
Blazers general manager Neil Olshey made a call to agent Jim Tanner on Friday morning on the chance that Allen might reconsider his decision to sit out the 2014-15 season, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Nevertheless, Tanner informed the Blazers that Allen, 39, remains intent on sitting out the season and wouldn’t consider the possibility of joining Portland – or any other team, sources told Yahoo Sports.
It was worth a shot. To quote Wayne Gretzky, you don’t score on every shot you don’t take.
With the trade deadline and ensuing buyout market in the past, the Blazers are going to have to dance with what they have. That lack of depth and shooting hurts their title contending chances.
The equation was pretty straightforward: Royce White the on-the-court player wasn’t worth the accommodations required for Royce White off the court. Teams will not phrase it that way, it may not be fair, but it’s the reality of his situation.
White was battling an anxiety disorder that includes a fear of flying, and he wanted accommodations to help him adjust. Teams felt the couldn’t, or they wouldn’t. As one executive told Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN in talking about Larry Sanders — the Bucks star dealing with depression and anxiety issues — team’s don’t deal well with handling of mental issues.
White’s potential as a 6’8″ point forward had him drafted No. 16 by the Rockets — it was his honesty about his mental condition that saw him fall that low back in 2012 — and talent intrigues. When the story of Sanders stepping away to get himself right before signing another contract came out White tweeted that he would like to keep playing (hat tip to D.J. Foster at Fox Sports).
I respect Larry Sanders decision. Admirable! But if you think I'm done playing, you're wrong. I NEVER said I didn't want to play. #BeWell
A return for White would be a process, one that would take time, but there is a path. It would start in the gym working on a training program, and then would jump to a Summer League roster. Then he can build off that with a stint in the D-League. Then go from there.
It wouldn’t be easy, but it’s far from impossible. NBA teams will give talented players numerous chances. White just has to show on the court he is worth another chance.
Wesley Matthews expresses “disbelief” about torn Achilles, speaks to media (VIDEO)
That was the Blazers’ Wesley Matthews words to describe what happened to him a couple hours before on Thursday night, a ruptured Achilles that will sideline until some point next season. Maybe it’s not Kobe Bryant sinking a free throw before he walks off the court, but Matthews speaking to the media so soon after the trauma was impressive in its own right.
The other interesting comment was that Matthews admitted his Achilles had been bothering him, but he thought he had been taking care of it. Portland was on the second night of a back-to-back, and whether or not that was part of the cause it will be part of the discussion going forward.
Blazers fan drains half-court shot, wins car, high-fives Robin Lopez (VIDEO)
If you watch closely every night in the NBA you can learn a little something. We know you are busy and can’t keep up with every game, so we’re here to help with those lessons from another night in the Association. Here’s what you missed while watching the Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer…
1) E’Twaun Moore with night of his life, drains game winner. The Bulls were hoping not to need a lot of E’Twaun Moore this season. He’s a respectable backup combo guard, but they were only going to lean on him heavily if Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler were down. Well, they’re down. And Moore stepped up — a career high 19-points on 9-of-10 shooting. And with the Bulls down one and needing a game-winner… boom goes the dynamite.
2) Russell Westbrook’s triple-double streak ended; the slacker only scored 43 points. Westbrook tried to push the Thunder past the Bulls — he was in attack mode again and put up 43 points on 14-of-32 shooting. Then he only had eight rebounds and seven assists. If that’s an off night, the Thunder will take it. That said, of his shots 26 of them were contested, and he hit just 10 of them, and when he’s launching like this the Thunder’s half-court offense can get stagnant. With OKC now just half a game ahead of New Orleans they need to have everybody on the same page and working hard.
3) Craig Sager is back, and we’ve never been so happy to see an ugly suit. This was the feel-good story of the night. After missing 11 months to battle leukemia, Sager was back on the sidelines for TNT in a suit nobody else could pull off. And all felt right with the world.
4) Portland got another quality win… I wrote this last night, and it holds true: Portland is my dark horse to come out of the West. Wednesday night they beat the Clippers on the road, Thursday night they handled Dallas at home. LaMarcus Aldridge had 17 points and 12 boards. To be fair this game wasn’t exactly filled with great shooting or scintillating play, but come the playoffs teams that have success are going to have to grind out wins. Portland did that.
5) … but the Blazers suffered a huge setback — Wesley Matthews is done for the season. This is a blow to their playoff chances, Matthews has a torn Achilles tendon in his left leg and is done for this season (plus likely misses the start of next one as well). Portland traded for Aaron Afflalo at the deadline and that will help ease the burden on Damian Lillard, but the Blazers depth took a real blow.