Tag: Portland Trail Blazers

LaMarcus Aldridge, Tyson Chandler

Rumor: LaMarcus Aldridge more likely to leave Trail Blazers in free agency than people realize


LaMarcus Aldridge said he wants to finish his career with the Trail Blazers.

He also rejected Portland’s contract-extension offer before the season.

Though that move was mostly financially motivated, it will allow him to hear pitches from other teams this summer.

And he might listen.

Ramona Shelburne on ESPN LA (hat tip: Ryan Ward of Lakers Nation):

I think LaMarcus Aldridge is actually a lot more in play than people think.

How can you really improve that group up in Portland? I think Neil has done a great job up there, but it’s Portland. He’s never quite fit in, and they’ve made it really clear that Damian Lillard is the face of their franchise.

Lillard being the face of the franchise might not bother Aldridge. Aldridge reportedly wanted to be traded a couple years ago, and though he denied that, he admitted to being “extremely frustrated.” Then Lillard emerged as Trail Blazers general manager Neil Olshey built a strong roster, and Aldridge got much happier.

But that doesn’t mean Aldridge will definitely re-sign with Portland.

The Spurs and Mavericks have been linked to the native Texan, and if he expresses a sincere desire to explore the market, he’ll draw plenty of other suitors.

That said, the Trail Blazers will probably retain him.

1. They’re really good, and they’ll be stronger once Wesley Matthews gets healthy (assuming they also re-sign him).

2. They can offer more money than anyone else.

If Aldridge re-signs, his max contract projects to be worth about $109 million. If he leaves, about $81 million.

Aldridge – especially if he’s unsure about staying in Portland – should consider signing a one-year contract.

Max contracts are divided into three tiers based on player experience – 0-6 years, 7-9 years and 10+ years. Aldridge has played nine seasons, so he’d become eligible for the highest tier in the summer of 2016 – right when the new national TV contracts will drastically raise the salary cap.

Here’s a projection of Aldridge could earn on max contracts by:

  • Re-signing this summer (red)
  • Signing elsewhere this summer (black)
  • Signing a one-year deal with Portland this summer and then re-signing (brown)
  • Signing a one-year deal with Portland this summer and then signing elsewhere (gray)


Season Re-sign Sign elsewhere 1+Re-sign 1+Sign elsewhere
2015-16 $19,027,800 $19,027,800 $19,027,800 $19,027,800
2016-17 $20,454,885 $19,884,051 $29,642,715 $29,642,715
2017-18 $21,881,970 $20,740,302 $31,865,919 $30,976,637
2018-19 $23,309,055 $21,596,553 $34,089,122 $32,310,559
2019-20 $24,736,140 $36,312,326 $33,644,482
2020-21 $38,535,530
Total $109,409,850 $81,248,706 $189,473,412 $145,602,194
Average $21,881,970 $20,312,177 $31,578,902 $29,120,439

Of course, there’s be risk in waiting a year. Aldridge turns 30 this summer, and he might not draw a max contract in the summer of 2016. His jump-shooting style seems to age reasonably well, but if he loses a step defensively or on the glass, that diminishes his value.

That could be another reason to stay in Portland, where a strong supporting cast keeps him in a role where he’s proven to succeed.

Most factors point to Aldridge re-signing, but it’s definitely not a lock.

Adjusting to playoff rotations, or holy moly Warriors and Cavaliers!

Draymond Green, LeBron James

The Trail Blazers played more than 2,000 minutes with Wesley Matthews on the floor. The Cavaliers spent 786 minutes of their season trying to make Dion Waiters work. The Hawks gave Elton Brand nearly 500 minutes as they rested players on back-to-backs and deep into routs.

How much does that time matter now?

Matthews is injured. Waiters was traded. Brand will likely fall short of the rotation.

Yet, those minutes – and others like them – cloud statistical evaluations of teams’ playoff chances.

So, I’m parsing the numbers with a system I’ve used the last two years:

In an attempt to get better data, I’ve used nba wowy! to rank playoff teams by regular-season net rating (offensive rating minus defensive rating), counting only the lineups that include five players projected to be in the team’s post-season rotation.

This measure is far from perfect. It doesn’t account for opponent or weigh lineups based on how often they’ll be used in the postseason, and it’s impossible to precisely predict a team’s playoff rotation.

In the two years I’ve used this formula, it has successfully predicted 22-of-30 series – one more than straight seeding. Here’s where the system and seeds differed:

Formula was correct:

  • 2014: Trail Blazers over Rockets
  • 2014: Wizards over Bulls
  • 2013: Grizzlies over Thunder
  • 2013: Grizzlies over Clippers

Seed was correct:

  • 2014: Thunder over Clippers
  • 2014: Clippers over Warriors
  • 2013: Heat over Spurs

As always, it’s important to remember the following numbers are not meant to comprehensively predict series. Many other factors are involved that are not accounted for here. But this data is a reference point, one of many to consider.

Here are the ratings for each team in the 2015 postseason adjusted from full season to using only lineups that include five players projected to be in the playoff rotation:


2. Cleveland Cavaliers

  • Offensive rating: 111.7 to 118.2
  • Defensive rating: 106.9 to 101.0
  • Net rating: +4.8 to +17.2

6. Milwaukee Bucks

  • Offensive rating: 103.3 to 106.1
  • Defensive rating: 102.8 to 98.5
  • Net rating: +0.5 to +7.6

5. Washington Wizards

  • Offensive rating: 104.3 to 107.7
  • Defensive rating: 103.5 to 101.1
  • Net rating: +0.8 to +6.6

3. Chicago Bulls

  • Offensive rating: 107.7 to 108.6
  • Defensive rating: 104. 4 to 103.3
  • Net rating: +3.3 to +5.3

1. Atlanta Hawks

  • Offensive rating: 109.6 to 109.9
  • Defensive rating: 103.8 to 104.9
  • Net rating: +5.8 to +5.0

4. Toronto Raptors

  • Offensive rating: 111.6 to 112.2
  • Defensive rating: 108.3 to 108.0
  • Net rating: +3.3 to +4.2

7. Boston Celtics

  • Offensive rating: 105.3 to 105.8
  • Defensive rating: 105.2 to 105.1
  • Net rating: +0.1 to +0.7

8. Brooklyn Nets

  • Offensive rating: 105.0 to 107.7
  • Defensive rating: 108.1 to 114.2
  • Net rating: -3.1 to -6.5


1. Golden State Warriors

  • Offensive rating: 111.7 to 116.4
  • Defensive rating: 101.3 to 95.7
  • Net rating: +10.4 to +20.7

3. Los Angeles Clippers

  • Offensive rating: 113.2 to 117.5
  • Defensive rating: 106.3 to 105.9
  • Net rating: +6.9 to +11.6

4. Portland Trail Blazers

  • Offensive rating: 108.7 to 117.2
  • Defensive rating: 104.2 to 106.2
  • Net rating: +4.5 to +11.0

6. San Antonio Spurs

  • Offensive rating: 109.2 to 110.0
  • Defensive rating: 102.6 to 100.7
  • Net rating: +6.6 to +9.3

2. Houston Rockets

  • Offensive rating: 107.5 to 110.1
  • Defensive rating: 104.0 to 101.0
  • Net rating: 3.5 to +9.1

7. Dallas Mavericks

  • Offensive rating: 109.8 to 111.1
  • Defensive rating: 106.8 to 105.7
  • Net rating: +3.0 to +5.4

5. Memphis Grizzlies

  • Offensive rating: 106.2 to 108.0
  • Defensive rating: 102.7 to 102.7
  • Net rating: +3.5 to +5.3

8. New Orleans Pelicans

  • Offensive rating: 108.8 to 110.1
  • Defensive rating: 107.9 to 107.3
  • Net rating: +0.9 to +2.8


  • The Cavaliers and Warriors are JUGGERNAUTS with the adjusted ratings. They should absolutely be favored to reach the NBA Finals.
  • Neither team’s ascendance should be a surprised. Golden State has dominated all season, and Cleveland has soared since acquiring Timofey Mozgov, J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert to complement LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love.
  • The Warriors and Cavaliers make huge gains on both sides of the ball, Cleveland more so offensively and Golden State defensively. The Warriors’ defense just looks untouchable.
  • This system predicts two first-round upsets: Bucks over Bulls and Wizards over Raptors.
  • Maybe Milwaukee’s post-deadline problems were due more to Jared Dudley and O.J. Mayo getting hurt than a trade altering the roster. With everyone healthy, the Bucks look dangerous.
  • The Wizards rated favorably here last year too, and they upset the Bulls in the first round. Washington has flaws, but leaning on a balanced starting lineup and a limited bench can work for this squad.
  • The Hawks and the Nets are the only teams with worse net ratings after the adjustment. Atlanta misses Thabo Sefolosha, whose defensive loss is noticeable and makes this deep team more susceptible to upset. The Nets just go from bad to worse, strengthening their position as poster child for playoff reform.
  • The Raptors’ defensive problems don’t seem to be caused by players who can just be dropped from the rotation. That’s a problem for Toronto.
  • The Celtics are probably a tougher out than their adjusted rating indicates. Isaiah Thomas, coming off the bench, played too much with lesser role players – which limits his impact here. Those other players will be dropped from the rotation, and Thomas could help Boston steal a game if Cleveland loses focus.
  • Once Doc Rivers trims the fat from his rotation, the Clippers make nice gains. This team is strong at the top, which I think bodes well for the playoffs.
  • Predicting whether injured players make their teams’ rotations is the hardest part of this exercise. This is mostly guesswork, but here are a few key decisions. In: Arron Afflalo, Chandler Parsons, Mike Conley, Tony Allen. Out: Tiago Splitter.
  • The Trail Blazers climb much higher than expected, but their sample is the smallest size. Their players projected to be in the playoff rotation just didn’t play much together without someone out of the rotation. Matthews obviously mucks up a lot of lineups, and Afflalo barely registers. So, Afflalo’s health wouldn’t affect much for this projection. But, with or without Afflalo, the sample is too small to draw many conclusions.
  • The Spurs get a nice bump with the adjustment, but not as large as I anticipated. Swapping the hobbled Splitter for Aron Baynes doesn’t swing it, either. San Antonio might have just run out of luck getting pitted against the Clippers in the first round. The Spurs have the NBA’s fifth-highest adjusted net rating – with the small-sample Blazers ahead of them – and might not win a single playoff series.
  • The Rockets make a bigger leap but don’t climb quite as high as San Antonio. However, claiming the No. 2 seed and getting a much easier first-round matchup should make all the difference for Houston.
  • The Mavericks (even with Parsons), Grizzlies (even with Conley and Allen) and Pelicans all get better with the adjustment, but not enough to challenge the West’s top teams. Again, though, Portland’s rating is least reliable. So, don’t be surprised if the Grizzlies – especially if Conley and Allen ge healthy, but maybe even if they don’t – win that 4/5 matchup.

Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger says Mike Conley and Tony Allen still too injured for playoff action

Philadelphia 76ers v Memphis Grizzlies

The Western Conference playoffs might not be the gauntlet we expected.

Sure, it’s still a very strong field, but it won’t be filled with eight dominant teams.

The Trail Blazers are stumbling with Wesley Matthews and maybe Dorell Wright out for the season and Arron Afflalo also sidelined. The Mavericks haven’t clicked with Rajon Rondo. The Thunder – if they even make it – aren’t a historically dangerous No. 8 seed without Kevin Durant (not to mention Serge Ibaka’s own injury troubles). The Pelicans would be a good, though hardly vaunted, No. 8 seed.

And the Grizzlies’ starters haven’t thrived with Jeff Green. Another problem in Memphis: Injuries to Mike Conley and Tony Allen.

Ronald Tilley of The Commercial Appeal:

If Conley (foot) and Allen (hamstring) can’t play or even are significantly limited, it’s very difficult to see the Grizzlies winning a series.

Conley is a near-All-Star who steadies them on both ends, and Allen is a defensive force. No combination of Courtney Lee, Beno Udrih, Nick Calathes and Vince Carter can match those two.

Memphis, after playing the Pacers tonight, will begin postseason play Saturday or Sunday. Is that enough time for Conley and Allen to recover? It’s a huge question for the Grizzlies’ playoff chances.

LeBron James tops list of NBA’s most popular jerseys for sixth consecutive season

Maccabi Tel Aviv v Cleveland Cavaliers

The NBA released its ranking of most popular jerseys for the 2014-15 season, and for the sixth straight year, LeBron James topped the list.

Rankings are based on overall retail sales on NBAStore.com since the beginning of the season.

Top 15 Most Popular NBA Jerseys:                                   

1.      LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers

2.      Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

3.      Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers

4.      Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder

5.      Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls

6.      Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers

7.      Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs

8.      Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks

9.      Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat

10.  Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers

11.  Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers

12.  Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder

13.  John Wall, Washington Wizards

14.  Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks

15.  Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers

A few surprises here:

– James Harden is having an otherworldly season that has him neck-and-neck with Stephen Curry in a two-man MVP race, yet he’s noticeably absent from the list, perhaps due to his foul-drawing ways not always being aesthetically pleasing.

–  Russell Westbrook has had a similarly insane season, yet teammate Kevin Durant — who was limited in appearing in only 27 games due to injury — finished eight spots ahead of him on the list.

– Legacy guys like Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony finished third and eighth respectively, despite appearing in just 35 and 40 games respectively this season.

The team merchandise list is interesting, too, mainly because the Knicks and the Lakers are in the midst of their worst seasons in franchise history, yet fans still had no problem buying up their gear at a volume higher than that which was sold by 23 of the league’s 30 franchises.

Top 10 Most Popular Team Merchandise:

1.      Chicago Bulls

2.      Cleveland Cavaliers

3.      Golden State Warriors

4.      Los Angeles Lakers

5.      Oklahoma City Thunder

6.      San Antonio Spurs

7.      New York Knicks

8.      Miami Heat

9.      Boston Celtics

10.  Los Angeles Clippers

Five Things We Learned in NBA Monday: Video game Klay Thompson kill Grizzlies chance of two seed

Memphis Grizzlies v Golden State Warriors

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 thinking it’s ridiculous music performances from late-night shows may no longer be available online

1) Video game Klay Thompson showed up Monday and took away the two seed from Memphis. A few weeks ago, it would have seemed impossible that the Grizzlies wouldn’t finish with a top three seed. But things started happening. First the Memphis schedule down the stretch was brutal. Then came the injuries, with Mike Conley among others out. Then Monday night Klay Thompson happened — video game Klay showed up and dropped 26 points on the Grizzlies in the second quarter.

Thompson finished with 42, and the Warriors did what they do, winning handily. This was bad for Memphis. What the loss means is the Grizzlies cannot win the Southwest division, and with that will not be the two seed. San Antonio now controls that destiny (if they beat the Pelicans Wednesday the Spurs get the two seed). With this loss, combined with the Clippers and Rockets winning, Memphis fell all the way to the six seed. Which is likely where they land when the playoffs start, but it’s still wide open.

2) Thunder, Pelicans remain tied for eight seed in West, but you’d rather be OKC right now. The Oklahoma City Thunder got to have Russell Westbrook and they needed him — he scored 36 points, and the Thunder beat the banged-up Trail Blazers (who keep dropping like flies). The Thunder and Pelicans remain tied for the eight seed after New Orleans dropped struggling Minnesota (that’s 11 straight losses for the Timberwolves). The Pelicans own the tiebreaker, but you’d rather be in OKC’s shoes right now. Why? The Pelicans’ final game Wednesday is against the Spurs — and if San Antonio wins it gets the two seed. Gregg Popovich isn’t resting his big guns, and the Spurs have won 11 in a row. The Thunder’s final game is against those Timberwolves.

3) The Boston Celtics are in the playoffs. Chicago beat Brooklyn, which the Bulls needed to do to have a shot at the three seed in the East (but Toronto controls their own destiny, win Tuesday and Wednesday, and the Raptors get the three seed). What the Bulls’ win also means is Boston is in the playoffs. They will be either the seven or eight seed (likely seven to face Cleveland), but they are in. Credit Brad Stevens, who has got his young team to buy into a system where they move the ball on offense (and play better defense than they did earlier in the season). This was not the plan for the Celtics this season, but that they did it is impressive. And it will be a great experience for Marcus Smart, Kelly Olynyk, and the rest of the young Celtics to taste postseason play. For four games.

4) Pacers, not Nets, now control their own destiny for eight seed in East. This is the other thing the Bulls beating the Nets Monday means — Indiana controls its own destiny. Win out, and they get the eight seed in the East and a shot at Atlanta. Of course, that’s easier said than done with Washington and Memphis on a back-to-back, but it’s possible.

5) LeBron James drops another triple-double. Because he can. Just a reminder that LeBron James is very, very good at this basketball thing. Cleveland beat Detroit in a game without playoff implications, but LeBron was entertaining putting up a line of 21 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists. He’s playoff ready.