It’s a Cruel, (Cruel) Cruel Summer for the Portland Trail Blazers

The Portland Trail Blazers said goodbye to fan favorites, welcomed way too many more undersized guards, and lost out on a cool $13 mil, so yeah, it was a typical Blazers summer.

Everyone who has been to Portland in the summer knows there is nothing that beats it. The perfect temperatures are complemented by greenery as far as the eye can see, secret Willamette watering holes nestled between trees, and bustling restaurants with micro-brews aplenty. There is, however, one thing consistently missing from Portland summers: roster upgrades by the Portland Trail Blazers’ front office.

This summer was no exception. The Blazers are predicted to miss the playoffs next season, (this happens every year, by the way) by nearly everyone in the media.

Many Blazers fans were heartbroken to bid adieu to Ed Davis and Shabazz Napier, and the additions to the team may not exactly address its issues. “Yung ZC” (no one calls him this) aka Zack Collins will fill in for "ShirtoffEd" Davis, and Seth “the other” Curry will replace ‘Bazz. These moves are fine, but they will not fix the Blazers weakest points: a consistent wing player, and a guard who can play defense.

In the NBA’s 10th rookie survey, Gary Trent Jr. received votes for “Best Shooter” and “Biggest Draft Steal” which...is something? There is a chance that he can be a difference maker for the Blazers, but is it enough? He was an exceptional 3-pt shooter at Duke and only turned the ball over twice in seven games during 2018 Summer League play. Most people agree that although he is an impressive player, he isn’t the Blazers answer.

The addition of GTjr., Anfernee Simons, Seth Curry, and Nik Stauskas begs the questions: is Blazers GM Neil Olshey attempting to fill an entire roster with undersized guards? Did he ever have a decent plan for the offseason? Is Terry Stotts in on it? Is any of this even real? Do the Blazers exist?

Assuming this is reality and the Blazers really have no direction, their only hope lies in the hands of one, Maurice Harkless. A knee injury sidelined Moe for part of the 2017-2018 season, but we also saw him really ball out, so anything is possible.

Mo "how could you be so" Harkless, signed at a time when the future looked much brighter for PNW basketball fans. Neil Olshey signed Harkless, Evan Turner, Meyers Leonard, and Allan Crabbe to four-year contracts for a combined total of $228 million. None of those players are worth their contracts, and after the Blazers traded Allan Crabbe to the Nets, they neglected to use the $13 million trade exception that came with the deal. In dire straits, with no money and no way out of the fiscal straitjacket the Blazers find themselves in, a trade exception seems like a godsend. But alas, the deadline came and went, and Portland fans found themselves in the sad part of the rom-com, where they'd just been betrayed after feeling a little too comfortable, a little too trusting, and a little too happy.

That feeling is all too familiar for Portland fans, as a lack of direction and movement is something the front office has become known for. Blazers diehards no doubt recall a time when the acquiring of Festus Ezeli for chump change seemed ever so promising. Ezeli was sidelined with a knee injury before he was (wait for it...) waived by the organization. More recently, in March of 2018, the Blazers signed George Papagiannis to a 10-day contract. Despite not playing at all in those 10 days, the Blazers gave him a long-term contract, and a few months later after NBA Summer League (YOU GUESSED IT) waived him.

Do you get it yet? The Blazers front office seems pretty incompetent. This article may already be beating a dead horse as it is, so let's look at some positives from summer 2018 because, because maybe, just, maybe it hasn't all been a bummer? For instance, the Blazers signed their beloved big man the Bosnian Beast (that one is a real nickname) aka Jusuf Nurkic! Huzzah! And we cannot forget, the Blazers won the 2018 NBA (Summer League) Championship! Who would have thought any of us would live to see a Trail Blazers (...Summer League) Championship? Still waiting on the parade details, but it's safe to assume we will see a banner hanging in the (Rose Garden) Moda Center next season. Although winning Summer League means absolutely nothing, it gave Portland fans something to distract themselves from the truth. Well-known local artist Evanem, created shirts and #RipTwitty (Rip City+Twitter, GET IT?) wore them with pride.

  Evan Sowards in the Evanem 2018 NBA Las Vegas Summer League Champions Shirt

Unfortunately, it's still not enough of a distraction from the truth: Mr. Olshey did not attempt to secure a difference maker at the three. Looks like the Blazers will just have to...wing it. In the meantime, Portlanders should go enjoy the vitamin D before the rain comes, Seasonal Affective Disorder kicks in, and the Blazers miss the playoffs.

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