West Notes: Blazers, Pelicans, Zion Williamson, Timberwolves

Trail Blazers

Blazers owner Jody Allen released a statement to say the team is not for sale, fending off rumors from a couple of months ago.

“As chair of both the Portland Trail Blazers and the Seattle Seahawks, my long-term focus is building championship teams that our communities are proud of. Like my brother Paul, I trust and expect our leaders and coaches to build winning teams that deliver results on and off the court and field.

“As we’ve stated before, neither of the teams is for sale and there are no discussions happening.

“A time will come when that changes given Paul’s plans to dedicate the vast majority of his wealth to philanthropy, but estates of this size and complexity can take 10 to 20 years to wind down. There is no pre-ordained timeline by which the teams must be sold.

“Until then, my focus — and that of our teams — is on winning.”

The Blazers have added Jerami Grant in a trade, Gary Payton II in free agency and Shaedon Sharpe in the draft, with perhaps some more moves on the way.

Pelicans

The max extension given to Zion Williamson has several injury-related protections for the Pelicans, per Shams Charania of The Athletic.

“As long as he’s healthy and plays in these games, he’s going to have no problems meeting these benchmarks,” Charania said on The Pat McAfee Show, via RealGM.

Williamson was the No. 1 overall pick out of Duke in 2019. He has spent an inordinate amount of time on the injured list, but has been wildly productive when he’s played. Last season, he sat out all year with a foot injury. He has since been cleared to return.

On the bright side for Williamson, the Pelicans seem to be on the rise behind the likes of Brandon Ingram and CJ McCollum, acquired at the trade deadline. In fact, McCollum may have had his best stretch as a pro after the Pelicans landed him from the Trail Blazers in February.

The idea of Williamson teaming with Ingram and McCollum is something that clearly excites the Pelicans, who qualified for the playoffs via the play-in tournament. They then lost in the first round to the Suns.

He averaged 27.0 points and 7.2 rebounds in 61 games in 2020-21, before suffering the foot injury playing basketball over the summer. 

Timberwolves

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