As of yesterday, the Portland Trail Blazers have added 6’8” power forward, Richard Howell, to their training camp roster. Howell attended NC State before going undrafted in June and signing with BCM Gravelines Dunkerque (a French team). Supposedly, the Blazers are intrigued by Howell and wish to try him out.
Now, many of you know what I am about to say, but it is very important to keep in mind as the Blazers “sign” more and more players. NBA teams cannot exceed 15 men on their active roster. This means that any extraneous players will land with that team’s D-League affiliate at best.
Quick head count of Portland’s 2013-2014 guaranteed contracts:
1) LaMarcus Aldridge ($14.9 M)
2) Nicolas Batum ($11.3 M)
3) Wesley Matthews ($6.9 M)
4) Robin Lopez ($6.9 M)
5) Thomas Robinson ($3.5 M)
6) Damian Lillard ($3.2 M)
7) Dorell Wright ($3.0 M)
8) Joel Freeland ($2.9 M)
9) Mo Williams ($2.7 M)
10) CJ McCollum ($2.3 M)
11) Meyers Leonard ($2.2 M)
12) Victor Claver ($1.3 M)
13) Earl Watson ($884 K)
14) Allen Crabbe ($825 K)
15) Will Barton ($789 K)
The Blazers are full. So while it’s nice to think that Dee Bost, E.J. Singler, Richard Howell, and the soon-to-be-released Terrell Harris have a shot, they’re predominantly warm bodies for the actual team to practice against.
That being said, the D-League plays a very important role, so if any of those players land with the Idaho Stampede (Portland’s D-League affiliate) they will receive the necessary attention to develop their game and become true NBA players.
Should enough Blazers fall to injury that the rotation requires more players to properly function (Blazer fans are all too familiar with the darkest timeline), then the Blazers have a nice pool of players to choose from in the Idaho Stampede.
There have been a handful of successful NBA players that spent time in the Developmental League early on. Jeremy Lin, Marcin Gortat, Martell Webster, Avery Bradley, Andray Blatche, Brandon Bass, Ramon Sessions, Aaron Brooks, and Danny Green top my list.
So while your excitement should be tempered with each new training camp deal, think of them as a possible investment in the future of the team. These players are not guaranteed to become teammates on the Idaho Stampede, but it’s a damn sight better than washing out and it could mean a future with the Blazers.
Best of luck to Dee Bost, E.J. Singler, Richard Howell, and any other players that Portland offers a training camp deal in the near future.