The Trail Blazers used their mid-level exception on Chris Kaman, removing their biggest weapon for re-signing Mo Williams.
That leaves Portland in need of a backup point guard.
Enter Steve Blake.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:
Ken Berger of CBSSports.com:
The full bi-annual exception pays $4,247,465. I’m not sure whether Berger was rounding or Blake took a little less. Obviously, that small difference doesn’t matter much.
Blake is a familiar face in Portland, where he’ll join the Blazers for his third separate stint. This time around, he’ll back up Damian Lillard.
Blake finished last season in Golden State, somewhat adequately filling the Warriors’ need for a backup point guard. But it should be telling they prioritized an upgrade at that spot this offseason, signing Shaun Livingston. At 34, Blake will likely fall short of his previous production in Portland, so the Trail Blazers shouldn’t expect too much. He’s an above-average backup at this point, but not much more.
For the record, this doesn’t change what Portland can offer Williams. His non-Bird rights still allow room for a four-year, $13,588,848 contract with the The Trail Blazers. But considering Portland just filled his role and he can likely make more elsewhere, Williams is likely moving on.
The Lakers initially called LeBron James day-to-day with the groin injury he suffered on Christmas.
He missed more than five weeks.
Maybe he should have sat even longer.
Karen Joubert, via Complex Sports:
Maybe LeBron returned too soon. This injury allowed that, even if it put him at risk of reaggravation if not fully recovered.
Maybe LeBron just healed especially quickly. Even among world-class athletes, he is an elite athlete.
Maybe Joubert is exaggerating. People tend to do that with LeBron’s body.
There’s plenty of room for interpretation, but it sure looked like LeBron was still hobbled.
What does this mean for LeBron and the Lakers going forward?
The pessimistic spin: LeBron did lasting damage to his body by returning so soon. This (failed) attempt to get the Lakers into the playoffs this season will undermine him in the future.
The optimistic spin: LeBron has still been excellent these last few weeks. If he gets fully healthy during his longest offseason in 14 years, he should be even better next season.
Kyrie Irving spent his first six seasons with the Cavaliers. He developed into a star with them. He won a title with them, even hitting the championship-winning shot.
With Irving’s Celtics playing in Cleveland tomorrow, Irving reflected on his time there.
Jared Weiss of The Athletic:
Irving is so clearly over the Cavs.
He was probably over the Cavs even while playing for them.
The Lakers have had a rough season.
Last night went pretty well, though – especially for one fan.
The Lakers beat the Kings, and this fan swished a halfcourt shot to win $45,000.
The Lakers need more outside shooting. Maybe they could turn to some of their fans.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is undeniable.
Watch this video. He’s the only Bucks player in sight on the court. All five Cavaliers appear. Antetokounmpo dunks anyway.
He dribbles past Jordan Clarkson then through David Nwaba and Tristan Thompson. Nik Stauskas and Brandon Knight are shading close enough to narrow his potential path. None of it matters.
Antetokounmpo scores inside unlike anyone anyone we’ve ever seen.