It’s time the Portland Trail Blazers got their own NBA G-League affiliate

Brandon Williams, Portland Trail Blazers, NBA G-League (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
Brandon Williams, Portland Trail Blazers, NBA G-League (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /

26 of the NBA’s 30 teams have their own NBA G League affiliate from which they can grow, stash, and farm talent. Two teams have hybrid affiliations, which means the NBA team manages and funds the basketball side of things, while local ownership controls the business and community relations. Two teams do not have or are affiliated with a team in the NBA’s minor league: the Phoenix Suns and our very own Portland Trail Blazers.

The Blazers used to be affiliated with the Idaho Stampede from 2007 to 2014. They’d send players to Idaho to develop or had players they could take a look at. Some of the notable players that were sent to the Stampede over the years were Taurean Green (drafted in the second round of the 2007 NBA Draft), Patty Mills, and even CJ McCollum.

Cedric Simmons, Idaho Stampede, Portland Trail Blazers, NBA G-League
Cedric Simmons, Idaho Stampede, Portland Trail Blazers, NBA G-League Mandatory Credit: Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports /

The Portland Trail Blazers need their own G-League team

So why doesn’t Portland have its own G League affiliate? That right there is the million-dollar question. If they had their own team they could have sent players like Trendon Watford, Brandon Williams (they signed Williams to a two-year, two-way contract in February after converting Watford’s to a Standard contract), and Keljin Blevins, also on a two-way contract, to their own G-League team instead of sending them to another NBA team’s affiliate. Or, perhaps the player the Blazers draft this summer will need some more development. They could send that player to their affiliate instead.

At times the NBA’s bigger named players are sent to the G-League for injury rehab; a perfect example is Golden State’s Steph Curry who practiced with the Santa Cruz Warriors in 2020 after recovering from a broken left hand.

Many places around the Northwest could possibly house a G-League team for Portland. General Motors Place, now known as Rogers Arena once, home to the Vancouver Grizzlies, has been mentioned in the past, as well as the Nike Campus in Beaverton, Seattle’s Climate Pledge Arena, and even Century Link Arena in downtown Boise, which once housed the Idaho Stampede. The Stampede have now become the Salt Lake City Stars after moving to Salt Lake before the 2016-2017 season. These locations are all possibilities for a future home of a  Trail Blazers G-League team.

Wherever it plays, the Blazers need their own G League affiliate instead of sending their players to another NBA team’s location. Maybe this is something new owners would consider if the rumors that the team is up for sale are true.

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