League sources told CBSSports.com Friday night that the Portland Trail Blazers will sign free agent center Sean Marks to replace Fabricio Oberto, who retired on Thursday. Ken Berger reports that Marks will receive a non-guaranteed contract at the veteran's minimum.
Marks was one of five players the Blazers invited to a Friday afternoon workout that included Earl Barron, Eric Boateng, Dwayne Jones and former Blazer Shavlik Randolph.
Marks is listed at 6'10" and 250, and he has enjoyed a lengthy, although unproductive, NBA career that dates back to the 1998-1999 season and includes time with the Toronto Raptors, Miami Heat, San Antonio Spurs, Phoenix Suns and New Orleans Hornets.
Here's Kevin Pelton's summary in this year's Pro Basketball Prospectus.
2009-10 marked a decade in the league for the affable Kiwi, who has made a career out of being a good guy to have around. Marks has played 2,068 career minutes, a number exceeded by 124 players last season alone. This total is historic. Over the past three decades, no NBA player has played as few minutes as Marks during the first 10 years of their career. (10-day contract specialist Randy Livingston came closest, playing 2,658 minutes.) Marks might have added to that total last season had he not missed 33 games due to injury (he finished theyear on the shelf due to a shoulder injury that lingered and kept him out of this summer's FIBA World Championship). When he was pressed into duty during the 2008-09 season, however, Marks was ineffective, struggling defensively and showing no skills league average or better. He saw just 75 minutes of action when he was healthy for a team that was perilously thin in the frontcourt last year. Still, the Washington Post reported in September that Marks was headed to training camp with the Wizards.
Marks did attend training camp with the Washington Wizards before the team released him to get down to the NBA's roster maximum of 15 players.
Marks would plug in as Portland's backup center, behind starter Marcus Camby. He would serve as the fourth big man in the team's rotation, behind Camby and power forwards LaMarcus Aldridge and Dante Cunningham. Once injured centers Joel Przybilla and Greg Oden return, Marks would not likely see much playing time.
His signing, which is not yet officially complete, would push Portland's roster back to the maximum of 15 players.
Update (10:55 a.m.): The Blazers have announced the signing of Marks in a text message to the media. Joe Freeman of The Oregonian reports on Twitter that Marks "will wear No. 4 and dress tonight against the Toronto Raptors."
Update (11:56 a.m.): Marks could get some real run against the Raptors as Freeman reports on Twitter that Marcus Camby (migraine headache) is questionable for tonight. After earlier reports calling Rudy Fernandez (back) "questionable" and "out," the Blazers report via text message that Fernandez is officially "doubtful" for Saturday night.
Update (12:02 p.m.): Here's the official press release on Marks' signing.
TRAIL BLAZERS SIGN SEAN MARKS
PORTLAND, Ore. - The Portland Trail Blazers have signed forward/center Sean Marks, it was announced today by General Manager Rich Cho. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Marks (6-10, 250) holds career NBA averages of 3.0 points, 2.3 rebounds and 0.2 assists over 10 seasons with Toronto, Miami, San Antonio, Phoenix and New Orleans. He appeared in 14 games for the Hornets in 2009-10, averaging 0.7 points and 1.6 rebounds.
The first New Zealand native to play in the NBA, Marks, 35, played collegiately at California.
He will wear jersey No. 4.
-- Ben Golliver | email@example.com | Twitter