• Bringing in Seth Curry doesn’t make letting walk Ed Davis any more palatable, nor explain the curious decision to guarantee Jake Layman‘s contract after non-tendering Pat Connaughton at a similar price. Acquiring another guard only exacerbates existing positional redundancy rather than filling a hole on the roster, too. But for a two-year, $5.8 million deal, the Portland Trail Blazers certainly could have done far worse than Curry, who finally emerged from under his older brother’s shadow two seasons ago before succumbing to injury that forced him to miss all of 2017-18 – and made him available at a bargain in the first place.

    Curry, who turns 28 in August, established himself as a bonafide NBA rotation player in 2016-17, his first and only season with the Dallas Mavericks. He shot 42.5 percent from 3-point range on 4.6 attempts per game, an impressive number that nonetheless fails to paint an accurate portrayal of his true ability. Curry connected on a scorching 44.9 percent of his pull-up triples two seasons ago, per NBA.com/stats, the league’s second-best mark behind Troy Daniels. His accuracy was stellar regardless of how many times he put the ball on the floor before launching, too. Curry went 32-of-74, good for 43.2 percent, on 3-pointers attempted after he took at least three dribbles, evidence of his underrated ability with the ball in his hands.

    The Duke product is hardly just a standstill shooter. Rick Carlisle, in dire need of perimeter dynamism, empowered Curry as a ball handler like no prior coach ever had, unearthing a far more versatile offensive performer than anyone realized. Only Tony Parker and LeBron James shot better than Curry’s 50.0 percent from the field in pick-and-roll action, and his .99 points per possession on such plays ranked in the 88th percentile overall. He posted a career-best 19.0 assist percentage, too, a number not on par with point guards, but definitely acceptable for a score-first player who spent a lot of time as a de facto floor general.

    At 6-foot-2, 185 pounds, noticeably less chiseled than his older brother, Curry looks the part of a defensive liability. While he can be attacked by bigger, more athletic guards and is always susceptible to mismatches after a switch, he’s still hardly the sieve on defense his body and reputation suggest. Curry’s effort and intensity never wanes, allowing him to play bigger than his size, and he has extremely quick hands. Most of all, though, he’s an extremely smart and instinctual defender, rarely behind the play and often in front of it.

    Indeed, it will be tough for Terry Stotts to slot Curry next to Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum against many teams, and that trio will always be unplayable for extended stretches should the Blazers advance deep into the playoffs. His addition doesn’t allow Portland greater lineup flexibility, nor address the need for another talented scorer to put alongside its star guards in crunch time. But for just more than half of the tax-payer’s mid-level exception, the Blazers have replaced Shabazz Napier with a superior player, one better suited to Stotts’ offensive attack – health provided, of course.

    Curry’s agent told NBC Sports Northwest that his client has been cleared to play for “about three weeks,” though other outlets are reporting Curry was issued a clean bill of health earlier in the summer. Considering he was first sidelined with a stress reaction in his tibia during last year’s preseason slate and didn’t go under the knife until February, it’s prudent to view Curry’s injury-status with caution. Clearly, Neil Olshey has enough confidence in his health to use a portion of Portland’s only surefire team-building chip on a player who never made it back to the floor last season despite a minor initial diagnosis. Only time will tell whether that trust is paid off.

    In a vacuum, Curry is obviously worth the risk associated with a deal that pays him less than $3 million annually. Shooting has never been more valuable or at more of a premium than today, and he’s the type of marksman who can make teams pay from all over the floor, with or without the ball. It’s hard to imagine Curry coughing up open triples the way Napier and Connaughton did again and again down the stretch of 2017-18. Don’t be fooled by DeMarcus Cousins taking the full tax-payer’s mid-level from the Golden State Warriors, either. Portland was never going to get any highly sought-after player, let alone a wing, to come to town for a discount; bargain hunting for players with boom potential makes the most sense given this team’s financial constraints and need for helpful change.

    Does Curry move the needle for the Blazers all by himself? Of course not. He’s just a useful part of the machine as opposed to its cog. After watching Portland’s surprisingly successful bench get decimated over the last few days, though, fans should be heartened that Curry is coming aboard – especially given the terms of his contract.

Fantasy News

  • Eric Gordon
    SG, Houston Rockets

    Rockets guard Eric Gordon has improved his diet, focused on sprints, and has apparently shed 12 pounds in the process, according to Kelly Iko of The Athletic.

    Gordon has battled knee ailments for essentially his whole career and has dealt with his fair share of nagging injuries this season as well. Losing weight to create a lighter frame would seem sensible, especially with the knee issues. The Rockets, remember, fully adopted the "small ball" lineup and move fast so Gordon is smart to keep his endurance and fitness at high levels. He's going to have to play well and make shots for the Rockets when the NBA returns to action, otherwise coach Mike D'Antoni won't be able to justify giving Gordon minutes. We don't anticipate much fantasy value out of him if and when the league starts back up.

    Source: The Athletic

  • LeBron James
    SF, Los Angeles Lakers

    Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN is reporting that the NBA is planning for a Board of Governors vote on Thursday, during which they are expected to approve Adam Silver's proposal for re-starting the season in Orlando.

    The trend lines are all moving in this direction, and this adds another bullet point on the schedule as the league prepares for launching games on July 31. Adam Silver has been able to bridge any divides between ownership and the players, and has been taking into account all his key constituent's views as we approach approval of a plan for moving forward. We still have plenty of items to resolve before we see game action, but the NBA is gaining momentum as these details come into place.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Bradley Beal
    SG, Washington Wizards

    On Friday, the Wizards resumed holding voluntary workouts at their practice facilities.

    The Wizards have joined a chorus of teams that are returning in limited capacities to their facilities at this point. The NBA as a whole is continuing its march towards the resumption of play with a target date of July 31 now established. The District of Columbia also entered phase one of reopening today, and it makes sense for the team to proceed on a similar trajectory.

    Source: Candace Buckner on Twitter

  • Julius Randle
    PF, New York Knicks

    Part of the Knicks' off-season thinking is to shape the roster around RJ Barrett, and it unclear where Julius Randle will fit in those plans.

    Barrett and Randle have similar offensive styles, as they typically have an advantage relying upon their strength to attack the basket, but neither has a component deep ball at this stage in their careers. As Barrett is the younger option it makes sense that the Knicks want to sign shooters to give him more space to operate with. Randle's lousy percentages and turnovers has made for a disappointing season with the Knicks thus far, and Barrett will also need to make some strides in the shooting department to become a 12-team asset. Randle is under contract for next season is owed at least $4,000,000 in 2021-22.

    Source: https://www.sny.tv/knicks/news/heres-who-knicks-could-target-as-leon-roses-front-office-reshapes-roster/313481746

  • Jayson Tatum
    SF, Boston Celtics

    On Friday, the Celtics' announced that their practice facilities would reopen on June 1.

    That leaves us with four NBA teams without access to their facilities. Things are beginning to accelerate throughout the league as teams ramp up activities in hopes of resuming competition in Orlando on July 31. So far so good, but the NBA still has many hurdles to overcome on the path to resuming the season.

    Source: Celtics PR on Twitter

  • RJ Barrett
    SF, New York Knicks

    The Knicks reopened their practice facility for voluntary workouts on Friday.

    Another step in the right direction for the NBA's return to action at the end of July. It's still unclear if the Knicks will even be involved in whatever plan is agreed upon, but it is good to learn that the players can now access their facilities in New York. Only five team facilities have not opened up in some capacity at this point.

    Source: Knicks PR on Twitter

  • LeBron James
    SF, Los Angeles Lakers

    On a call with the Board of Governors on Friday, Adam Silver and the league office confirmed July 31 as a target date for the resumption of the NBA season, according to a report from Shams Charania.

    We have to imagine that this is just one of the possible options on the table, as the league still has much to figure out. Charania adds that the league has four scenarios for the return: 16 teams move directly to the playoffs, 20 teams engage in group/stage play, 22 teams have games to determine seeding with a play-in tournament, and all 30 teams reconvene for a 72-game season with a play-in tournament. It's seemed unlikely that we'll have a full 30-team return given the stated priorities for player safety. There are still tons of logistical hurdles to clear but the NBA is getting its ducks in a row for a potential return.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • Andre Iguodala
    SF, Miami Heat

    Andre Iguodala returned to South Florida after living in California since the NBA season was suspended.

    Iguodala returning to the market where his team is could mean that he believes team workouts will begin soon. However, there is no official timetable on when team workouts will begin and Jimmy Butler has yet to return to Miami.

    Source: Ira Winderman on Twitter

  • Zach LaVine
    SG, Chicago Bulls

    K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune reported that the Bulls were cleared by the Governor of Illinois and are in talks with city officials to open practice facilities on Friday for voluntary workouts that would follow the NBA guidelines.

    The NBA's guidelines currently state that a maximum of four players are allowed in the facility at any given time and there can only be one player per hoop. The Bulls are currently eight games behind the Orlando Magic for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. The Bulls may not play again this season given how far behind they are in the standings and the recent reports of proposals to not continue the regular season.

    Source: K.C. Johnson on Twitter

  • Luka Doncic
    PG-SF, Dallas Mavericks

    Marc Stein of the New York Times has reported that the Mavs plan to open their practice facility on Thursday.

    This news would make the Mavs the 23rd team to have their facilities open for "voluntary and socially distanced player workouts". Continue to monitor the wire as we should learn more about the potential of the league resuming in early June.

    Source: Marc Stein on Twitter