Found October 24, 2013 on Universal Takeover Sports Network:
Team Preview: Portland Trail Blazers Next up is the Portland Trail Blazers. The Blazers have one of the youngest teams in the NBA and are looking to get back into the postseason after a hot start last season.  The Portland Trail Blazers were truly disappointed with their record towards the end of the season as they lost their final 13 games of the season, falling out of playoff contention. Before going on their losing streak, they were very well involved in the playoff chase. The Blazers don’t’ want to have that happen again, and are poised to use last year’s experience and improve this year. Despite the ending to the season, there were certainly positives to take out of last season. Damian Lillard proved to be everything and more than the Blazers had bargained for when they took him in last year’s draft. Moving forward, the Blazers have a strong starting five and are looking to build off of that this upcoming season. The team obviously needed to bring in pieces to give them that extra push to get into the playoffs and give them some more depth. That being said, let’s take a look at some moves the team made this offseason: Key Additions: Key Losses: Robin Lopez J.J. Hickson Mo Williams Sasha Pavlovic Dorell Wright Eric Maynor Thomas Robinson Nolan Smith CJ McCollum (Draft) Jared Jeffries Allen Crabbe (Draft) Earl Watson (Draft) The Blazers added some help down low by acquiring big man, Robin Lopez. Lopez will be able to help out down low with the departure of J.J. Hickson. Lopez will be able to play alongside players like LaMarcus Aldridge. On the other hand, they brought in veteran guard, Mo Williams to help bolster their backcourt. Mo Williams will likely play alongside Damien Lillard. The Blazers also brough in guard C.J. McCollum via draft this offseason to develop and aim in the direction that Portland wants to go in. The Blazers made some moves this offseason, but not too many costly ones, being able to manage their cap quite effectively. Let’s take a look: Name 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 LaMarcus Aldridge $14,878,000 $16,006,000       Nicolas Batum $11,295,250 $11,765,500 $12,235,750     Wesley Matthews $6,875,480 $7,245,640       Robin Lopez $5,904,261 $6,124,729       Thomas Robinson $3,526,440 $3,678,360 $4,660,482 $6,179,799   Damian Lillard $3,202,920 $3,340,920 $4,236,287 $5,651,207   Dorell Wright $3,000,000 $3,135,000       Joel Freeland $2,897,976 $3,013,512 $3,766,890     Mo Williams $2,652,000 $2,771,340       C.J. McCollum $2,316,720 $2,421,000 $2,525,160 $3,219,579 $4,385,067 Meyers Leonard $2,222,160 $2,317,920 $3,075,880 $4,210,880   Victor Claver $1,330,000 $1,370,000 $1,712,500     Earl Watson $884,293         Allen Crabbe $825,000 $862,000 $947,276 $1,215,696   Will Barton $788,872 $915,243 $1,181,348     Richard Howell $490,180 $816,482 $1,147,276     Dee Bost $490,180 $816,482 $1,147,276     E.J. Singler $490,180 $1,016,482       Guaranteed Total: $62,599,372 $61,280,581 $12,235,750     Inclusive Total: $64,069,912 $67,616,610 $36,636,125 $20,477,161 $4,385,067 The Blazers have only invested $64,069,912 into players this season. Damien Lillard is their best bang for their buck as he is only in his second year of his rookie contract. Mo Williams, a veteran guard will only be making a little under $3 million this upcoming season.  The highest paid player on the roster is none other than LaMarcus Aldridge. Nicolas Batum is second with a little over $11 million, but their third higest player is only making a little under $7 million. Predictions: I truly believe that the Portland Trail Blazers will make the postseason. However, I only see them squeaking in perhaps as the eighth seed. The team is still a work in the making, but with their experience last season, I’m sure that they will look to build off that and make a run this season. LaMarcus Aldridge said that it’s time to make a serious run in the postseason, and falling short is unacceptable. The epectations in Portland are slowly rising, now it’s time to see if the Blazers live up to those expectations. (Salary table courtesy of www.hoopsworld.com) – Thanks for reading! Follow me on twitter: @a_santiago1517 The post Team Preview: Portland Trail Blazers appeared first on UTSN - The Universal Takeover Sports Network.
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