After suffering their ten millionth injury, the Portland Trail Blazers were granted a roster exemption by the NBA, enabling them to sign a 16th player. They used it to sign Anthony Tolliver from the Idaho Stampede, who was arguably the best big man in the D-League. If you can really call him a big man, that is.
Tolliver played as an undersized centre in college, but is somewhat undersized for even the power forward position in the NBA, let alone centre. To counter this, Tolliver has developed a good outside jumpshot throughout his professional career, and it is now his calling card. Tolliver played some for the Spurs last season, but his jumpshot picked a bad month for a vacation, and he was waived before the contract guarantee date. He spent the rest of the year split between the D-League and Turkey.
I don't know why the Blazers felt that they needed a slightly small face-up power forward particularly badly, given that two of their healthy nine players are Dante Cunningham and Juwan Howard, who are much the same player if with slightly less jumpshot range. Some more conventional size might have been a better option for a team that currently only has Joel Przybilla at centre, in which ranks last in the NBA in points in the paint. But the Blazers also worked out Chris Richard and Courtney Sims for the spot, and yet clearly decided that Tolliver was the best. And BPA is almost always a good policy.
Inevitably, though, it will all be for nought, and Tolliver himself will probably get some kind of compression injury from sitting on the bench for so long. Such has been the Blazers's year.
(By the way, if any Blazers fans were wondering if Tolliver was eligible to be re-assigned to the D-League at any point; he isn't. Tolliver was on the Cavaliers roster for the first 36 hours of the 2007/08 season, and that tiny amount is enough to count as a year of NBA experience, even though he didn't play a single minute. Therefore, A-Toll has two years of NBA experience, which makes him ineligible for an already impossibly unlikely assignment. The extra year of experience also means he's going to get paid more, so that's good.)
(Oh, and if you sign two guys like Jeff Pendergraph and Patrick Mills, who are already injured when you sign them are are expected to miss lengthy amounts of time, league wide sympathy for your injury crisis is reduced slightly.)
Additionally, the Miami Heat waived Shavlik Randolph. The tax paying team had clearly realised that they were paying an unnecessary large amount of money for a player with a non-guaranteed contract to sit on the inactive list, so they waived him and plugged the dam. Until that moment, Randolph had been on an NBA roster every day since leaving Duke early in 2005. He went undrafted, but after three full seasons with the Sixers and one with the Blazers, he'd garnered four years of NBA experience and a few million dollars, being paid a good amount of money to get injured a lot and play very little. So it's not as though leaving early worked out badly.
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