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Full Court Press

Casey Holdahl is already 3 posts deep into his Spanish Sojourn, trekking halfway across the world to keep up with Rudy Fernandez. Great stuff; check it out.

Halfway through this podcast is my morning-after take on draft night on Friday's MSP with Gavin and Chad.  

Here's one of the funniest quotes you'll ever read from an NBA GM. On his offseason approach...

"it's not going to be prudent to let restlessness be our nemesis.   -- Sam Presti  

Read the chat wrap of the incredible Brandon Jennings and rapper Joe Budden videocast transcribed by Chris Littman of the Sporting News. Jennings declares Ramon Sessions will not be back with the Bucks, Luke Ridnour will back up Jennings, Chris Duhon of the Knicks isn't a good point guard, the Knicks made a mistake by passing on him in the draft and he doesn't say much of anything to disagree when Joe Budden calls Jennings' new coach, Scott Skiles, a pretty strong expletive.  The transcript is NSFW.

Confirmed word is that Jennings, by virtue of not yet signing his rookie deal, is immune to any punishment or fine by the Bucks.

Want to stay up with newest Portland Trail Blazer Patty Mills?  Follow him on twitter and on a sick website Rookie Chronicles managed by friend of BE Nate Jones, of Jones on the NBA and Goodwin Sports Management.

A late add: Yao is done for next year and maybe longer according to Awoj. (Thanks koyote for the link)

"It sounds like he's missing most of next season, if not the entire 82 games," one league executive who has had recent discussions with the Houston front office told Yahoo! Sports. "That's all that [the Rockets] will concede quietly, but they know it's probably much worse."    

The "big" Blazers story over the weekend came from Ian Thomsen of CNNSI: Shaq's rumbling about a potential midseason trade to Portland.

"During the middle of the season, Steve said Portland was interested," said O'Neal. "He said was I interested in going to Portland? I told him no, so he stopped that."

The Blazers, however, are adamant that they didn't try to trade for Shaq in February. "Why would we when we've got Greg (Oden) developing and we've already got (Joel) Przybilla?" said a Blazers official who asked to remain anonymous. "If were in go-for-it mode, maybe we would be more interested."

Dwight Jaynes offers his take on Shaq-to-Portland and asks an interesting question...

But before you get all huffy about how horrible it would have been to have the Big Raindrop in Portland, stop and think a  moment. Do you think Houston could have beaten the Blazers if Shaq had been a Blazer? Do you think the Lakers or Magic could have? Honestly, I am not sure they could have.

Here's a more sympathetic look at the departure of Sergio Rodriguez from Wendell Maxey.

I can't fault the guy for wanting to play and to do what he loves. Yes, the message he and his agents sent way back even before the season really got underway did nothing but damage his relationship with Nate McMillan. Reconciliation was preached. I'm just not sure it was frequently practiced from both sides on a daily basis.

Because on the floor, it's really not about the playing time. It's more about what you do with the playing time given to you.

The truth is, you loved Sergio.

In the beginning, you really did.

Wendell Maxey also confirms what's been out there for awhile now: Joel Freeland and Petteri Koponen will not be playing in this year's Vegas Summer League.

Runyon over at Trail Post gives Sergio a pleasant send off.

Here's hoping that Sergio gets the time and the success that he deserves in Sacramento. He had no place here anymore, and his welcome was more than worn out by the trade requests. The best that I could hope from this is that Sergio becomes a starting-quality guard or maybe even a star with the Kings. He plays such a fun style, and it would be a treat to see him flourish.    

Rip City Project, in a very thorough draft day breakdown, isn't quite as polite.

Dumping Sergio - who I literally couldn't care less about for this team's future, though I was surprised how low his stock had fallen - saves Portland $1.8 million next year, which means Portland has another $1.8 million in cap room this July. Awesome.    

Here's Tom Ziller of Sactown Royalty's take on the Sergio acquisition.

Will Evans start at the point from Day 1? Will Sergio start, with Evans the first guard off the bench? (Evans is only 19, after all. Spencer Hawes was the same age and didn't start for 1-1/2 seasons. Evans is more physically developed for his position, however.) Will Beno keep his starting position to start the season? That's a huge question -- it'll be difficult to trade Beno regardless, but burying him to Kenny Thomas Status adds just that much more difficulty.

Any which way, I imagine Sergio will get plenty of minutes to make his case, whether off the bench or as a starter. And I think we're all under the assumption Westphal will maintain or increase the Kings' tempo of recent years, which is already loads faster than how Portland plays. Those are two big boosts for Sergio. He needs to embrace the day and prove to the NBA he belongs.

Mike Barrett echoes a similar sentiment to what we said last week; this draft almost forces the Blazers to make moves in Free Agency.

So, in short, the Blazers gained a roster spot by moving Sergio to the Kings, can take his money off the books, and with Claver not expected to come to the NBA for a couple of years, gain another roster spot. This indicates the team is set to be a major player in the free agent signing period which begins July 8th. Teams can begin negotiating with free agents on July 1st, and then upon learning where the NBA salary cap will be set, can begin signing players on the 8th.

And Brian Hendrickson has some key quotes from KP on draft night.

But however they choose to play it, Pritchard made it clear that the Blazers will not be quiet in free agency like they were on draft night.

"We're going to be active in free agency, no doubt about it," Pritchard said. "I know I need to help this team by bringing in veterans. For us to go to the next level, we need to add some veterans."    

It's pretty awesome how many players have Portland (and Portland's cap space) on their list.  Let's run through a few, shall we?

Ric Bucher kicks off the trade and free agency talk on Twitter here and here.

Who are the Blazers targeting?

Heard both Hedo and Andre Miller in a sign-and-trade that would send Steve Blake, who played for Eddie Jordan in D.C., to Phi

Andre Miller to Por wd be sign+trade. They're hoping to sign Hedo straight up.

Ric Bucher also put together part I of his top 20 Free Agents and possible "best fit" teams. Portland is listed for the following players: Mike Bibby, Paul Millsap, Drew Gooden, and David Lee. He lists Detroit, Orlando and Miami as the best homes for Channing Frye.

Another name that's out there for the Blazes remains Jason Kidd, according to Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News.

Wednesday is when teams officially can begin talking to free agents, and Kidd is expected to get overtures from several teams: Cleveland, Portland, Boston, New York and perhaps the Lakers.

All of those teams except for Portland are stymied by the salary cap. The Knicks can only offer their mid-level exception, expected to be between $5 million and $6 million. Kidd earned $21 million last season.

From Ross Siler of the Salt Lake Tribune, here's a name that is sure to fire you up: Paul Millsap.

There also was speculation Sunday that Oklahoma City might be preparing to make a push to sign Paul Millsap as a restricted free agent. Former Jazz director of player personnel Troy Weaver now is an assistant general manager with the Thunder.

The Thunder unsuccessfully tried to sign away C.J. Miles from the Jazz last summer. They are expected to have $11 million in salary-cap space and could offer a contract in the neighborhood of five years and $65 million to a free agent. Detroit and Portland also could be potential Millsap suitors.

And, of course, as expected Hedo Turkoglu opted out.

A nice look by Chris Burnucca on Pro Basketball News at bargain free agents.

Ian Thomsen with follow up on DeJuan Blair's freefall.

Many executives in the league didn't like seeing Blair fall this far, but there was little they could do to stop it. Most team doctors red-flagged him, which prevented the GMs from taking Blair in the first round.

"This is the worst I've ever seen as far as doctors unwilling to put their butts on the line," said a senior executive of an Eastern conference team. "If there's any kind of gray area, they're going to flunk the player."

Because of the sophisticated testing of MRIs and other high-tech devices, team doctors "know things they never used to know," the executive went on. "They never used to flunk players, and now they flunk them all the time. And a lot of the time it's to cover their [butts]." did a nice round up of draft grades around the internet

Canis Hoopus has become a daily must-read thanks to this Ricky Rubio fiasco. 

As always, be sure to frequent the fanshots. Drop any other links you find in the comments.

-- Ben (