Enes Kanter will go down in Trail Blazers lore as one of the great single season players in franchise history. The inverse of Arron Afflalo, if you’re feeling catty.
Earlier this summer Kanter was replaced by Hassan Whiteside — another likely one season wonder — so let’s take a look back at some other notable players who lasted only a single year in Portland.
How did the Blazers get him? The Blazers signed Kanter in the middle of the 2018-19 season after the Knicks waived the Turkish center.
Where did he play next? Kanter signed with the Celtics earlier this summer. He will likely start in Boston next season.
Notable moments: Other than filling in for an injured Jusuf Nurkic and then playing through a separated shoulder as the Blazers made their first Western Conference Finals run in two decades?
How did the Blazers get him? Williams signed with the Blazers heading into the 2013-14 season. He came off the bench and averaged 9.7 points per game in 74 apperances.
Where did he play next? Neil Olshey and the Blazers passed on offering Williams a contract in the summer of 2014 because ...Steve Blake? Mo signed with the Timberwolves for the 2014-15 season and somehow scored 52 points in a game against the Pacers in January. #ThisLeague
Notable moments: Williams was on the court for several key moments during the Blazers 2014 playoff series against the Rockets. Including this one:
How did the Blazers get him? Udoka signed with the Blazers in October, 2006 after being waived by the Knicks.
Where did he play next? Udoka chose to head to San Antonio after his season in Portland. He’s currently an assistant coach with the 76ers.
Notable moments: Udoka, a Portland native and Jefferson High alumnus, was a long shot to even make an NBA roster in 2006. He was a late invitee to the team, his father died during training camp, and he had minimal prior experience. Despite those circumstances, he hung on to start 75 games for the Blazers and played a career-high 28.6 minutes per game. One of the true feel good stories in franchise history.
How did the Blazers get him? The Blazers traded Juan Dixon to the Raptors for Jones in February, 2007.
Where did he play next? After only six months and 24 games in a Blazers uniform, Jones was shipped out of town as part of the Zach Randolph trade package.
Notable moments: Jones, a Sam Barlow alumnus, waived his $3+ million player option for the 2008-09 season to facilitate the trade to the Blazers and suit up for his hometown team. The Blazers repaid that gesture of good will by trading him after only 24 games. Jones ended up catching on with the Clippers and earning about $600,000 for the 2008-09 season.
Notable moments: Thorpe did little on the court for the Blazers — it’s hard to even find clips of him in a Portland uniform — but he’ll always stand out because of his connection to Drexler. The fact that the Blazers netted nothing more than Childress and Curley for one of the greatest players in franchise history still stings.
Thorpe also had really big hands:
How did the Blazers get him? The Blazers signed Elie after their 1992 Finals run.
Where did he play next? Portland traded Elie to the Rockets after the 1992-93 to clear cap space to sign Chris Dudley.
Notable moments: Elie was brought in to fortify Portland’s bench after the Blazers chose not to re-sign Danny Ainge. In hindsight, the Blazers probably moved on from Elie too quickly; he became a key contributor for the 1994 and 1995 championship runs with the Rockets.
How did the Blazers get him? The Blazers signed Jeelani in 1979.
Where did he play next? The Mavericks took Jeelani in the 1980 expansion draft.
Notable moments: Jeelani barely made the Blazers roster but then became a key contributor, along with Billy Ray Bates, in the final games of the 1979-80 season. He scored the first points in Mavericks history. After the 1980-81 season he made the, at the time, unusual decision to play professionally in Italy instead of continuing his NBA career. He’s featured in David Halberstam’s classic The Breaks of the Game.
How did the Blazers get him? The Warriors traded Jones to the Blazers in 1975 for a sixth round pick.
Where did he play next? He was the final cut from the Blazers 1976 training camp.
Notable moments: Snapper transitioned to the announcing booth and would become a mainstay on Blazers broadcasts for decades.
How did the Blazers get him? The Blazers signed Fryer as a free agent in 1973.
Where did he play next? Fryer went to the ABA after being waived by the Blazers during the 1974 offseason.
Notable moments: Fryer is now the Vice President and Director of Officials for the NBA.
How did the Blazers get him? The Rockets traded Barnett to the Blazers in 1970 in exchange for Larry Siegfried.
Where did he play next? After the franchise’s inaugural season the Blazers traded Barnett to Golden State for three draft picks. One of those picks would become Dave Twardzik.
Notable moments: Barnett, a University of Oregon alumnus, hit the shot that prompted Bill Schonely to create the “Rip City” nickname. He is still an announcer with the Warriors.
Who’s your favorite one-season wonder for the Blazers? Here’s a list to help jog some memories.