• The summer Portland Trail Blazers fared just a bit better than their parent counterparts in playoff basketball. Behind more well-rounded efforts from incumbents hoping to stick on the regular-season roster and their recent draft picks, the two-seeded Blazers beat the Atlanta Hawks 95-69 on Friday night at Thomas & Mack Center, advancing to the quarterfinals of the Las Vegas Summer League. Portland, 4-0, remains one of two undefeated teams in Sin City, along with the Los Angeles Lakers, who beat the Blazers in the championship game of last year’s event.

    Jake Layman was impressive yet again for Portland. The third-year forward came out firing from the opening tip, scoring his team’s first eight points on three consecutive jumpers en route to a team-high 20 points. He went 4-of-5 from beyond the arc, showing no hesitation whatsoever to launch no matter where he was on the floor or how much time was left on the shot clock. Layman also showed off his impressive leaping ability on an effortless alley-oop dunk courtesy of Wade Baldwin.

    Baldwin’s line was solid; 15 points, six rebounds, eight assists and one turnover is production of which any guard should be proud. Just like during Portland previous three Summer League games, though, Baldwin’s impact loomed even larger than his numbers suggest. He constantly pushed the ball in transition, creating countless easy scoring opportunities for his teammates, and looked every bit an NBA-level floor general in the half court, getting wherever he wanted with the ball in pick-and-roll play while maintaining complete control of the offense. Baldwin has obvious scoring and defensive chops. If he can make open shots and add a dose of playmaking dynamism going forward, he won’t just be on the Blazers’ roster this season, but could fight his way into meaningful minutes.

    Anfernee Simons, on the other hand, is likely to spend a significant portion of 2018-19 in the G-League, but you wouldn’t know it based on his play Thursday night. The rookie first-rounder scored 20 points and grabbed four rebounds on 6-of-10 shooting, and connected on three of his seven attempts from beyond the arc. Simons looked comfortable running the show offensively, and found his way to the paint for several notable finishes, including an acrobatic and-1 layup after taking contact in the air. He was a bit disengaged defensively at times and got carried away with his dribble on two occasions late, but this was clearly the most encouraging performance of the teenager’s nascent career.

    It wasn’t quite all roses for Portland, though. Zach Collins, returning from a sprained ankle, needed 10 shots to score eight points, struggling to finish in a crowded paint. Caleb Swanigan was thoroughly outplayed by rookie Omari Spellman, a player cut from a similar cloth whose superior mobility makes him a better fit for the modern NBA. Gary Trent, Jr. had his moments on both ends of the floor, finishing with 10 points, six rebounds, two assists and two steals, but consistently failed to take advantage after producing good looks on the interior with off-dribble craft. He went just 4-of-13 from the field, though shot 2-of-5 from deep – including this buzzer-beating triple on a broken play to end the third quarter, a sequence that sapped Atlanta’s spirit.

    It’s certainly worth noting that the Hawks played without John Collins, Trae Young and Tyler Dorsey, each of whom project to be in Lloyd Pierce’s rotation next season. Collins, exhibiting additional comfort as a shooter and playmaker, was arguably the best player at Summer League before being shut down in advance of elimination play, while Young, especially as a passer, began living up to NCAA hype in Las Vegas after laboring in Salt Lake City last week. The Blazers were facing an inferior foe, a reality the scoreboard reflects.

    But Summer League isn’t really about winning as much as it is about player development. With Layman splashing threes, Baldwin making his mark all over the floor and Simons consistently flashing his prodigious natural gifts, this win is another reason for Portland fans to be excited. Here’s hoping Collins and Swanigan get back on track come Sunday afternoon, when the Blazers face the winner of a matchup between the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics.

Fantasy News

  • Markelle Fultz - PG - Orlando Magic

    Markelle Fultz (shoulder) will not play at Summer League, according to GM John Hammond.

    Fultz has reportedly been making good progress and the Magic are excited about what he's been able to do since coming over at the trade deadline, but this is not great news. Hopefully Fultz will be ready to contribute in the preseason so we can get a look at how he'll fit in Orlando. The upside is immense but it would take a strong showing to confidently draft Fultz in redraft formats as his shoulder issues have completely derailed the first few years of his career.

    Source: 96.9 The Game on Twitter

  • Haywood Highsmith - PF - Philadelphia Sixers

    The Sixers have waived Haywood Highsmith.

    Highsmith joined the Sixers on a two-way deal last season but only appeared in five games. Expect them to use that spot on a more established G-League player or a rookie with some upside.

    Source: Keith Pompey on Twitter

  • Nando De Colo - G - Toronto Raptors

    The Raptors have extended a qualifying offer to Nando De Colo, making him a restricted free agent.

    De Colo has spent the last five seasons out of the NBA but has been fantastic for CSKA Moscow, earning a reputation as one of the strongest players currently not in the Association. The Raptors have been doing the proper paperwork since he left and will now have the right to match any other offers that come his way as he prepares for a comeback. It’s entirely possible that they keep him around as a third point guard if the price is right.

    Source: Keith Smith on Twitter

  • Bol Bol - C - Denver Nuggets

    The Nuggets will send Miami $1.2 million and a second-round pick in 2022, either their own or Philadelphia's, to complete the Bol Bol trade.

    The Nuggets will be sending whichever pick is lower, and the Sixers pick will be whichever is higher between Philly's and Minnesota's thanks to a separate pick swap. Bol says his left foot is fully healed, but there's too many obstacles in terms of playing time to count on the intriguing center for redraft leagues.

    Source: Eric Pincus on Twitter

  • Jimmer Fredette - PG - Phoenix Suns

    The Suns will decline Jimmer Fredette's team option, allowing the guard to play for the Warriors in Summer League.

    Fredette was a non-factor for the Suns in limited action last season, but he'll try to find a foothold in the league with a strong showing in Vegas. If worse comes to worse, Jimmer can always go back to dropping huge lines in China.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • Evan Turner - SG - Atlanta Hawks

    Evan Turner will be traded to the Hawks in exchange for Kent Bazemore.

    Turner will give the Hawks some added playmaking in the second unit, though he is unlikely to play a big-minute role with all of the youth that Atlanta wants to develop. He's set to make $18.6 million in the final year of his deal, while Bazemore was slated for $19.3 million, so the Hawks will open up a little more room to spend in the upcoming year — at least in terms of real dollars. This opens up minutes for players like Kevin Huerter and Cam Reddish while giving the Hawks someone who can capably give them backup PG minutes.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Kent Bazemore - SG - Trail Blazers

    Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that the Hawks and Blazers have agreed to a deal that will send Kent Bazemore to Portland and Evan Turner to Atlanta.

    Bazemore has been on the block for a while now, and he'll play a big role in Portland's wing rotation. It's entirely possible that he starts at small forward, though we're a long way from the start of the season. Bazemore brings a level of length and shooting that Turner could not and will give Portland some additional versatility. We'll wait for all the dust to settle before going too in depth, but late-round value should be attainable for Bazemore. He also gives the Blazers more depth in case they can't re-sign Rodney Hood.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Wayne Selden - SG - Chicago Bulls

    The Bulls will not extend a qualifying offer to Wayne Selden, making him an unrestricted free agent.

    Selden got a lot of playing time towards the end of the year given Chicago's injuries and shutdowns, and his showing there might get him some interest on the open market. Teams could do a lot worse as far as cheap wing depth goes.

    Source: Cody Westerlund on Twitter

  • Kawhi Leonard - SF - Toronto Raptors

    According to Chris Sheridan of the Daily News, the Mavs expect that they'll get a meeting with Kawhi Leonard in free agency.

    To this point it's been the Raptors, Clippers, Lakers, Knicks and Nets as the main candidates in the Leonard race but Dallas would be a very interesting landing spot considering their wealth of young talent. The Mavs are never afraid to throw their hat in the ring when it comes to free agents, and while they're not likely to actually sign Leonard, who knows what happens if they do get a meeting? There are a lot of teams that are probably hoping to talk to Kawhi when free agency opens, and you can add the Mavs to that list of confirmed suitors.

    Source: Chris Sheridan on Twitter

  • Ryan Arcidiacono - PG - Chicago Bulls

    The Bulls will make Ryan Arcidiacono a restricted free agent by extending him a qualifying offer.

    Arcidiacono is coming off a season where he finished around the top-200 in terms of fantasy value, though that largely occurred as a result of injuries to Chicago's other guards. With Coby White and Kris Dunn ahead of him on the depth chart, Arcidiacono has some serious impediments to minutes. A new home might be the best for his fantasy outlook, but the Bulls obviously value having him around as insurance.

    Source: Cody Westerlund on Twitter