Former Portland Trail Blazers center Joel Freeland is pursuing an NBA comeback, according to Chris Haynes of ESPN.
Sources: After two years in Euroleague, former Portland big-man Joel Freeland has engaged in talks with teams to pursue an NBA comeback.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) July 3, 2017
The Trail Blazers selected Freeland with the no. 30 pick in the 2006 NBA Draft. He remained in Europe, developing his game in with Spanish club Unicaja Malaga until 2012, when he signed a three-year contract with Portland. He played 151 games for the Trail Blazers, averaging 4.0 rebounds and 3.5 points per game.
In 2015 Freeland signed a two-year contract with CSKA Moscow. His tenure in Russia was successful from a team standpoint, as CSKA won the Euroleague Championship (the highest honor in European basketball) and the Russian VTB United League title in 2016 and 2017, respectively.
However, his minutes in league play decreased from just over 17 minutes per game in 2015-16 to just over eight minutes in 2016-17. He averaged 3.3 points and 2.1 rebounds per game across all competitions in his last year with CSKA.
For Blazer fans with a soft spot for Freeland, it is not impossible for the Blazers to sign him. Given his low production last year, a minimum contract might land the big Englishman. The Trail Blazers could use some veteran leadership (Freeland, 30, is older than any player on the roster by nearly two years) if Freeland is the right man to provide it.
Haynes did not reveal which teams Freeland is speaking with, but it sounds as if he is holding discussion with more than one.