Report: Trail Blazers signing Ed Davis to three-year, $20 million contract


In case you didn’t believe Trail Blazers assistant coach Kim Hughes that LaMarcus Aldridge is leaving Portland

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Ed Davis joins an already impressive group of young bigs in Portland: Mason Plumlee, Meyers Leonard, Noah Vonleh and Al-Farouq Aminu. The Trail Blazers will be worse without Aldridge, but they’ll be become a different type of dynamic. This would become Damian Lillard’s team, and Portland is surrounding him with frontcourt players to complement him.

Davis played well for the Lakers last season. He generates and makes shots near the rim, and he was the Lakers’ best defender (which, admittedly, means only so much).

This is a pretty solid value for Portland.

Trail Blazers assistant coach: ‘We didn’t publicize it, but we lost LaMarcus Aldridge’


The Trail Blazers are putting together a nice, young big-man rotation.

They already had Meyers Leonard. They traded for Noah Vonleh and Mason Plumlee. And they agreed to sign Al-Farouq Aminu, who can and should play plenty of power forward.

The big question: Will those players provide depth around LaMarcus Aldridge or replace the free agent?

Aldridge reportedly told the Trail Blazers he’s leaving. Portland general manager Neil Olshey denied that, but assistant coach Kim Hughes apparently believes Aldridge is gone.

Hughes, at Leonard’s basketball camp at his Illinois high school, on WTHI-TV (hat tip: Mike Tokito of The Oregonian):

Well, people don’t realize we just went young. We didn’t publicize it, but we lost LaMarcus Aldridge. It hasn’t been declared yet, but I’m sure he won’t come back. We will go young.

I still wouldn’t completely rule out Aldridge returning to Portland.

Hughes is speaking out of turn, at least from the franchise’s perspective, and he’s not in the front office. I think he knows Aldridge informed the team he’s leaving, but it’s possible he’s basing that statement on some assumptions.

Even if Hughes is certain Aldridge told the Trail Blazers he’s leaving – and I think that’s the most likely scenario – that doesn’t mean he’s gone. People change their minds. Aldridge spent nine years in Portland, and the Trail Blazers can offer him the most money. If he becomes uncertain about his direction, a one-year deal (with a player option in year two) in Portland makes a lot of sense.

This is strong evidence Aldridge is gone. Very strong evidence. But I’m not ready to declare his Trail Blazers career over with absolute certainty.

Report: Blazers agree to four-year, $30 million deal with Al-Farouq Aminu


We have our first player changing teams of the free agency period. Al-Farouq Aminu has agreed to a four-year, $30 million deal with the Blazers, according to Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski:

Al-Farouq Aminu has agreed to a four-year, $30 million contract with the Portland Trail Blazers, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Aminu, 24, averaged 5.6 points and 4.6 rebounds in 74 games for the Dallas Mavericks last season.

Blazers general manager Neil Olshey was GM of the Los Angeles Clippers when they made Aminu the eighth overall pick of the 2010 NBA draft. Aminu also played with New Orleans for three seasons.

Aminu tweeted the news, referencing that connection with Olshey:

No matter how the rest of their offseason shakes out, Aminu is a nice get for Portland. He plugs the hole at small forward that was created last week when they traded Nicolas Batum to Charlotte. Aminu isn’t nearly the shooter or playmaker Batum is, but he’s a terrific, versatile defender who can play both forward positions. Even if the Blazers lose LaMarcus Aldridge and Wesley Matthews (which seems pretty likely at this point), signing a 24-year-old defensive ace for $7.5 million per year is a solid move, especially with the salary cap going up next season.

Will Dallas be able to keep Al-Farouq Aminu?


There were high hopes for Al-Farouq Aminu when the Los Angeles Clippers used the No. 8 pick on him back in 2010. He was crazy athletic and could defend, but there were issues with his shot and there were teams around the league who wondered if the Clippers of that era could develop a player. They didn’t try for long, he was shipped off to New Orleans in the Chris Paul deal and proceeded to bounce around the league a little impressing nobody.

Dallas gave him a chance as a minimum contract roll of the dice this season, and at 24 Aminu seemed to get it. In the playoffs he averaged 11.2 points and 7.2 rebounds a game, shot 63.3 percent from three and had a PER of 20.3. Small sample size and all, but he played himself into a nice little deal for next year.

The question is can Dallas afford it? Tim MacMahon of ESPN lays it out:

League sources estimate that the market for Aminu will be in the $4 million per year range.

The problem for the Mavs is that they aren’t likely to have the full midlevel exception ($5.46 million) and the cap-room exception ($2.81 million) probably won’t be enough to pay Aminu market value. In other words, the Mavs should plan on needing to use some of their precious cap space to pay Aminu.

The Mavs will explore options to dump Raymond Felton’s $3.95 million in a trade, preferring to use that money to pay Aminu. If the Mavs can’t move Felton in a deal, they could opt to waive him via the stretch provision, which would chop two-thirds of his salary off the team’s 2015-16 cap, creating a chunk of space that could help keep Aminu.

If Dallas wants to do it, they can keep him at a fair price. And Aminu has said he wants to stay in Dallas, he loves the city and the organization.

But this is a business, and if another GM misses out on a target or two and decides to throw an extra million or two at Aminu, Dallas could lose him.

This is not a saga likely to play out at the start of July, but as the month moves along keep an eye on Aminu. He’s finally showing some of that promise.

Chandler Parsons recruiting Patrick Beverley to Mavericks


Chandler Parsons said he was ready to recruit free agent to the Mavericks.

Unless Parsons has gone rogue, Dallas hopes to poach another Rocket – Patrick Beverley.

Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle:

With Pat Beverley heading into free agency, the Rockets point guard said he is already seeing the renowned recruiting talents of former teammate Chandler Parsons first hand.

“I hear from Chandler every day,” Beverley said. “It’s hard, but I try not to think about it. I can’t talk about contracts. It’s going to be a fun summer. I have put myself in a position to be set for life and that’s something that I never thought was possible growing up.”

Beverley would be an excellent fit with the Mavericks.

The Rockets exposed Dallas’ defensive holes in the playoffs, and Beverley would at least fill one. As the Rajon Rondo experiment and subsequent success showed, Rick Carlisle’s system works better with a point guard who can make 3s and doesn’t dominate the ball. That’s Beverley.

How much money would the Mavericks offer Beverley, who will be a restricted free agent?

Al-Farouq Aminu will definitely opt out, and last check had Monta Ellis doing the same. Let’s assume they both do. Let’s also assume Dallas renounces all its free agents and waives Dwight Powell, who has an unguaranteed salary.

Using data from Basketball Insiders, the Mavericks would project to have about $30.9 million in cap space.

A max contract for DeAndre Jordan (who’s reportedly interested in Dallas) or LaMarcus Aldridge would start at about $19 million. With or without one of those top free agents, Dallas would lose cap space by re-signing any of its own free agents like Ellis, Aminu and/or Tyson Chandler.

The Mavericks have room to chase Beverley. It just limits their flexibility elsewhere.

Dallas probably must offer more than $10 million per season to convince Houston not to match.

Because Beverley has been in the league three seasons, the Gilbert Arenas Provision does not apply. A team can sign him to an offer sheet worth up to a max contract, and it can’t balloon like the Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin deals.

The Rockets definitely value Beverley. But as the Parsons saga showed last year, they might place more value in the flexibility to chase a third star to complement James Harden and Dwight Howard.

I hope Dallas chases Beverley – to see how he’d fit in the Mavericks’ system, to see how Houston would build its roster and to see one more Mark Cuban-Daryl Morey clash.