Full Court Press: Every Blazers Link You Need

via @EricKing

I was doing link dumps back when half the current Portland Trail Blazers roster wasn't even in the NBA yet. Respect these years.

Quick note: The Blazers informed the media this afternoon that forward Luke Babbitt reported to the Practice Facility last night to get some shots up. He wins the award for "First To Return."

Don't miss Storyteller on how the new CBA rules impact the Blazers.

On Thursday, Blazers fan Eric Garrard launched a petition urging the Blazers to keep guard Brandon Roy rather than use the Amnesty Clause on him.

On Friday morning, Blazers fan Jason Kroening-Roche emails to say that he has launched a second petition "in an effort to give Blazer fans an opportunity to express their support for the Blazers to make either choice regarding Brandon Roy and the amnesty clause in an open process that takes into account fan opinion (on both sides), team finances as it regards future payroll and cap flexibility, and the current on-court basketball abilities of Brandon Roy."

Now, a few leftovers from the Blazers week that was.

Blazers forward Nicolas Batum tells Republicain-Lorrain.FR (translated report here) that he's never "made as much progress in so little time" as he did in France during the lockout.

Dwight Jaynes has posted the cringe-inducing video of Blazers president Larry Miller blanking on Hall of Fame coach Jerry Sloan's name on CSNNW.com.

The Blazers are hiring a bunch of paid interns. I don't see anything under "General Manager" or "Basketball Operations" but plenty of other minimum-wage openings for your interest.

Here's video of Blazers center Greg Oden walking into the Ohio State versus Duke game. I can't remember seeing video of him on the move at any other point in the lockout. Video via YouTube user TheColumbusDispatch.

Click through for more, including plenty of takes on Brandon Roy. This post will probably update later today.

-- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter

Former Blazers point guard Andre Miller showed up on the first day of the un-lockout at Denver's practice facility to work out wearing Blazers shorts.

"I feel all right. I still have a long way to go," the 35-year-old Miller said about his physical status. "I've been trying to stay in decent shape. I still am going to be a little out of shape. I'm just trying to be fundamentally right."

Remember, former Blazers and current Lakers point guard Steve Blake showed up at Portland's facility.

International Blazers big man Joel Freeland got a nice write-up from Brother Wendell Maxey at Beyond The Beat.

"He's the best big in Europe," one scout in Europe told Beyond the Beat.

"He's equipped not just with his physical build, but his efficiency, skills and disposition. He does everything you want in a big over here. Plus, he can play both the 4 and 5, but will be a solid 5 in the NBA."

HailOden! got there first in the FanShots.

Houston Rockets free agent forward/center Chuck Hayes, through his agent Calvin Andrews, considers the Rockets his top choice according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. Thanks to tipster Zachary.

"I think we'll probably make the decision without taking visits (beginning Dec. 9)," Andrews said. "I think the Rockets are the priority. I think it comes down to what makes sense economically, what makes sense basketball wise to him. He just wants to make sure he gets the right situation, whether it is quicker or longer. I don't have a package from the Rockets, yet."

Here's Mike Acker from Rip City Project on the return of the season.

Let's be honest guys, we have all season to complain about Larry Miller dodging questions and playing babe in the woods, and about Paul Allen just in general, and about how the Trail Blazers lack for convincing managerial leadership. Right now I'm happy enough that the league is back, and that at some point in the next 30 days there will be games, and that for now it looks like Brandon Roy is still a Blazer.

Henry Abbott of TrueHoop.com on Brandon Roy...

Roy and his agent are eager for Portland to make a decision now. But if you think about what Portland has at stake, it makes all the sense in the world that they might want to keep him around for a few weeks while gathering information that isn't even available to them now.

Unreasonable though Paul Allen has been in this lockout, by paying Roy's salary he has bought this bit of time to make a huge decision.

Sekou Smith of NBA.com on Brandon Roy...

In a league filled egos and attitudes, Portland's Brandon Roy always seemed to fight against stereotype.
In the times we've crossed paths, Roy has always struck me as one of the more grounded players in the league, a guy very much in tune with fragile nature of things in the high-stakes world of professional sports. Perhaps his injury history, dating back to before he came into the league, influenced him. You never know.

Seth Johnston at Portland Roundball Socity on Brandon Roy...

Because of everything he represented I'm having trouble accepting Roy as just another data point on the chart illustrating the snake bitten Portland Trailblazers. But fortunes can change quickly. So recently a symbol of hope, Roy has quickly come to represent a franchise with questionable leadership and terrible luck. Management admitted to knowing that Roy's knees were unhealthy when they offered him a max contract, even as they simultaneously had a heavy bet on another oft-injured star in Greg Oden. With the start of the lockout shortened season less than one month away the Blazers are still without a General Manager and with many holes to fill on the roster.

It feels strange to talk and write about Roy in the past-tense as if he has already left the team. Maybe the Blazers will be convinced to be more patient and monitor Roy for a longer period of time before making the decision to waive him. The reported severity of Roy's injuries makes me skeptical that he will ever regain his old form entirely and it's hard to justify maximum money to a player that is not elite. Using the amnesty clause to waive Roy feels inevitable. If the move is inevitable it is better to waive Roy sooner rather than later and let both parties move on rather than languish. It pains me to say, but sometimes the Vulcans are right.

Sean Highkin at Hardwood Paroxym on Brandon Roy.

My dear colleague Scott Leedy did a great job a few weeks ago of outlining exactly why, as much as it hurts, cutting ties with Roy is the only appropriate move for Portland going forward. He's owed $68 million over the next four years, has no meniscus left in either of his knees, and is only sporadically capable of the kind of play that made him worthy of that contract in the first place. Banking on a return by Roy to his 2008-09 form, when he flirted with being a Top 10 player in the entire NBA, is a losing battle to fight.

All of this is true, but in spite of that, there's a part of me that thinks the Blazers don't necessarily need to rush into this decision. Barring a full season of healthy, productive Greg Oden (something else not worth holding your breath for), it's highly unlikely that Portland will be a serious title contender this season. Other than flipping Andre Miller for Raymond Felton on draft day, their roster is virtually unchanged from the one that got bounced in the first round of the 2011 playoffs by Dallas. Shedding Roy's contract would put them in a better position to use the full mid-level exception to sign...who, exactly? The free agents who could most help them make the jump to the Western Conference elite (Nene, Marc Gasol, Shane Battier) are almost definitely out of their price range. And anyway, Portland has no GM to make these moves.

Eddie Johnson of HoopsHype.com put together a list of the top-10 free agent power forwards. Obviously a position of interest for the Blazers.

It goes without saying but that Jamal Crawford charity game in Seattle was cancelled officially because of the NBA lockout's end according to Percy Allen of the Seattle Times.

This post will probably update later today.

-- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter

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