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Blazers

Blazers

The Portland Trail Blazers, commonly known as the Blazers, are an American professional basketball team based in Portland, Oregon. They play in the Northwest Division of the Western Conference in the National Basketball Association (NBA). The Trail Blazers originally played their home games in the Memorial Coliseum, before moving to the Rose Garden in 1995. The franchise entered the league in 1970, and Portland has been its only home city. The franchise has enjoyed a strong following; from 1977 through 1995, the team sold out 814 consecutive home games, the longest such streak in American major professional sports. The Trail Blazers are also currently the only NBA team based in the binational Pacific Northwest, after the Vancouver Grizzlies relocated to Memphis and became the Memphis Grizzlies in 2001, and the Seattle SuperSonics relocated to Oklahoma City and became the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2008.

The team has advanced to the NBA Finals three times, winning the NBA Championship once, in 1977. The other NBA Finals appearances were in 1990 and 1992.[5] The team has qualified for the playoffs in 29 seasons of their 42-season existence, including a streak of 21 straight appearances from 1983 through 2003, the second longest streak in NBA history. Six Hall of Fame players have played for the Trail Blazers (Lenny Wilkens, Bill Walton, Clyde Drexler, Dražen Petrović, Arvydas Sabonis, and Scottie Pippen). Bill Walton is the franchise's most decorated player; he was the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player in 1977, and the regular season MVP the following year. Four Blazer rookies (Geoff Petrie, Sidney Wicks, Brandon Roy and Damian Lillard) have won the NBA Rookie of the Year award. Two Hall of Fame coaches, Lenny Wilkens and Jack Ramsay, have patrolled the sidelines for the Blazers, and two others, Mike Schuler and Mike Dunleavy, have won the NBA Coach of the Year award with the team.

2012–present

A lockout put transactions on hold until early December, and the Blazers were hit with three downfalls once the date came. Brandon Roy announced his retirement due to chronic knee problems, Greg Oden was diagnosed with yet another setback involving his ongoing knee issues, and LaMarcus Aldridge underwent heart surgery.[101] Interim GM Chad Buchanan signed three free agents the week before Portland's first exhibition game, Kurt Thomas, Jamal Crawford and Craig Smith.[102]

In the shortened 2011-12 NBA season, the Blazers got off to a 7–2 start.[103] But the team quickly began to collapse, as starting point guard Raymond Felton, among others, struggled with McMillan's new approach to a running-style offense. The team gained some notability as Aldridge was named to his first All-Star Game. Despite Aldridge's performance, the rest of the team became more inconsistent.

On March 15, 2012, The Portland Trail Blazers made several moves, including two trades before the 3 pm EST deadline. Center Marcus Camby was sent to the Houston Rockets in exchange for center Hasheem Thabeet and point guard Jonny Flynn. Portland also received Houston's second-round draft pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. Portland then traded forward Gerald Wallace to the New Jersey Nets for center Mehmet Okur, forward Shawn Williams, and New Jersey's first-round, top-3-protected pick in the 2012 NBA draft. All four players acquired in the trades held expiring contracts, meaning they would be free agents at the end of the season. Oden was released from the roster after playing a total of 82 games in five NBA seasons, being cut along with Chris Johnson in order to make room for the incoming traded players. Finally, head coach Nate McMillan was also fired, leaving the franchise with the third-most coaching wins, behind Jack Ramsay and Rick Adelman. Portland named Kaleb Canales as the interim head coach for the rest of the 2011–2012 NBA season. A few days later, Portland claimed forward J. J. Hickson off waivers from the Sacramento Kings. After shaking up the roster and limping to the end of the regular season with a 28–38 record and finishing out of playoff contention for the first time in three years, the team entered the offseason on the search for a general manager and new head coach.

At the 2012 NBA Draft Lottery on May 30, the Blazers secured the number 6 pick of the draft via the Brooklyn Nets from the Gerald Wallace trade, and also ended up with the number 11 pick due to their own record. Neil Olshey became the new GM in June, making it just over a year since the Blazers had a non-interim general manager.[104

On June 28, 2012, the Blazers selected Weber State guard Damian Lillard and University of Illinois center Meyers Leonard with the 6th and 11th picks overall, respectively. They also selected University of Memphis guard Will Barton with the 40th pick overall, and traded the rights of the 41st overall pick, University of Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor, to the Brooklyn Nets for cash considerations.

On July 11, 2012, the Trail Blazers announced the signing of their 22nd pick from the 2009 draft, Victor Claver.[105] On July 12, 2012, the Blazers announced the re-signing of Hickson.[105] On July 13, 2012, the Blazers announced the signing of their 30th pick from the 2006 draft, Joel Freeland. In free agency, the Blazers re-signed Nicolas Batum on July 18.[105] They also signed veteran point guard Ronnie Price. On July 20, 2012, the Blazers received Sasha Pavlovic and draft picks in a three-team trade.[105] Lillard was named Rookie of the Year.[106] However, despite the Blazers remaining among the playoff contenders for most of the season, a losing streak of 13 games - the longest in the franchise's history – led to the 11th position in the West, with a 33–49 record.[107

Portland Tail Blazers Roster

Player # Number Position
Damian Lillard 0 Point guard
LaMarcus Aldridge 12 Power forward
Nicolas Batum 88 Small forward
Meyers Leonard 11 Center
Wesley Matthews 2 Shooting guard
J. J. Hickson 21 Power forward
Eric Maynor 6 Point guard
VictorClaver 18 Power forward
Will Barton 5 Shooting guard
Nolan Smith 4 Point guard
Joel Freeland 19 Forward
Luke Babbitt 8 Small forward
Elliot Williams 9 Shooting guard
Aleksander Pavlovic 3 Shooting guard
Ronnie Price 24 Guard