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Blazers Sign Free Agent Center Cody Zeller

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Portland opens free agency with a veteran center.

Charlotte Hornets v Washington Wizards Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images

The Portland Trail Blazers have opened up their 2021 NBA Free Agent signing period by inking center Cody Zeller to a one-year deal. The news was reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. The eight-year veteran has spent his entire career with the Charlotte Hornets after being selected 4th overall in the 2013 NBA Draft.

The 6’11, 240 lb pivot has averaged 8.7 points and 6.0 rebounds in 22.7 minutes per game for his career. Last year he appeared 48 times for the Hornets, starting 21 games. He averaged 20.9 minutes, 9.4 points, and 6.8 rebounds per game, shooting 55.9% from the field.

Zeller has started 273 of his 467 games in the NBA, but he played a full, 82-game season only once, his rookie year. Over the past five years he has averaged 50 games per season, with a high of 62 in 2016-17 and a low of 33 in 2017-18.

Zeller’s biggest strengths are rebounding and percentage shooting. 88% of his shots last season came from within 10 feet of the hoop. Assessments of his defense depend on the analyst asked, but he’s not a defensive stopper by any means.

Zeller is 28 years of age. He’ll be 29 when the 2021-22 season begins.

Update:

John Hollinger of The Athletic seems to indicate that Zeller was signed on a minimum deal.