Tokito: Blazers Could Bring Back UFA G Nolan Smith


The Portland Trail Blazers might re-sign unrestricted free agent guard Nolan Smith, according to one Portland reporter.

Mike Tokito of The Oregonian writes that the Portland Trail Blazers could re-sign unrestricted free agent guard Nolan Smith after drafting Lehigh guard C.J. McCollum with the No. 10 pick and allowing reserve guard Eric Maynor to sign with the Washington Wizards as an unrestricted free agent.

With Maynor gone, the Blazers are essentially left with Lillard and McCollum as their only point guards. That's a lot of pressure for McCollum, who was a four-year player at Lehigh, but will have to show he's NBA-ready. Just because Lillard -- and Brandon Roy -- came right out of college and excelled right away doesn't mean every four-year guy can.

Portland's roster is shooting-guard heavy right now -- with Wesley Matthews, Will Barton, Allen Crabbe and McCollum, if we view him as a combo guard. You would have to guess that Olshey will add a third, lower-salaried point guard after all the other needs are met -- they could even bring back Nolan Smith, if he's still available.

As noted by Eat Politicians in the FanShots, Scott Souza of the Metro West Daily News reports on Twitter that Boston Celtics president Danny Ainge said that Nolan Smith will be on the Celtics' Orlando summer league team.

All indications during exit interviews were that Smith's time in Portland was done.

During his exit interview with media members, Smith made it clear that he doesn't expect to be back.

Future with Blazers: "I think it's pretty obvious that I'm a free agent. They made that pretty clear. ... I think we can say that [I won't be back here next year] but I can't see the future. I don't know what they're thinking. We'll see what happens. ... They have a path that they want to go down and it's pretty obvious I'm not on it right now."

Desired situation: "Just playing. A playing situation. In this league, I've had a chance to watch a lot of games. Playing time makes a big difference, three minutes or 20 minutes, it's a big difference."

Blazers GM Neil Olshey echoed that.

Neil Olshey: I think Nolan needs a new environment. Nolan is an NBA player but bringing Eric Maynor in, the moniker of being a first-round pick was tough for Nolan to overcome. He's a great kid, he did everything we asked him to do, he's going to be on an NBA roster next year, but he more than anyone needs a change of scenery, he needs to start fresh.

Smith, a first-round pick in the 2011 NBA draft, recently compared himself to Sam Bowie and Greg Oden. He said in April that he wasn't nervous about finding his next job.

"Some people would be nervous and not sure if they'll end up on a team, but I'm excited," Smith said. "I'm confident that I'll end up in a great situation that will allow me to be myself and play my game."

Back in March, he intentionally stuck his finger into his nose while on television.

Smith, 24, averaged 2.8 points, 0.9 assists and 0.7 rebounds in 7.2 minutes per game in 40 appearances this season. He posted a PER of 7.1. The Blazers opted not to pick up his third-year rookie option last fall.

-- Ben Golliver | | Twitter

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