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Blazers Retain Point Guard Patty Mills

Portland Trail Blazers General Manager Rich Cho said today that Australian point guard Patty Mills will stick with the Blazers, the team announced on its Twitter account.

Rich Cho says @Patty_Mills makes the team!less than a minute ago via Echofon


With the decision to keep Mills, the Blazers roster is now set at 15 players. Your 2010-2011 Blazers are: LaMarcus Aldridge, Luke Babbitt, Nicolas Batum, Marcus Camby, Dante Cunningham, Rudy Fernandez, Armon Johnson, Wesley Matthews, Andre Miller, Patty Mills, Fabricio Oberto, Greg Oden, Joel Przybilla, Brandon Roy and Elliot Williams.

The move comes as the biggest surprise of training camp, given Mills's up-and-down play during the 2010 Las Vegas Summer League and the fact that he barely sniffed the court during the preseason, logging just 13 minutes in three appearances and receiving 4 DNP-CDs.

Entering camp last month, Mills called making the Blazers "Plan A" and said that he was hoping to find playing time wherever he landed if he was cut. He spent much of camp as the proverbial 16th man, the last player expected to be cut. A roster spot opened up for Mills after the Blazers traded Jerryd Bayless to the New Orleans Hornets over the weekend and decided to waive big man Jeff Pendergraph, who suffered a season-ending knee injury during a preseason game at Utah. 

Right up until the move was announced, Blazers sources were coy about Mills's spot. Over the weekend, sources said the Blazers would consider waiving Mills to avoid paying his salary and coach Nate McMillan said this morning, through a smile, that a decision hadn't yet been made. 

Mills, a second-year player out of St. Mary's by way of Australia, pencils in at the third-string point guard position, behind Andre Miller and Armon Johnson on the depth chart. Mills was the last man retained during Portland's 2009 training camp as well, after he beat out wing Ime Udoka and big man Jarron Collins for the 15th roster spot. 

There are still legitimate questions about whether Mills is an NBA player, but he brings to the table long-distance shooting and speed off the dribble. His lack of size makes him a liability defensively in many match-ups and he has struggled with turnovers. His outgoing, easy-going personality and work ethic have earned praise throughout his two years here in Portland, and he is said to be a favorite of owner Paul Allen.

Mills is set to earn $937,195 dollars this season, according to StoryTeller's Contracts. Score another one for the Goodwin Brothers.

-- Ben Golliver | | Twitter