Trail Blazers Sign Dennis Smith Jr.; Release Three Veterans


The Portland Trail Blazers have made some final decisions as they pare down their roster for the regular season. Three NBA veterans have been released: Patrick Patterson, Quinn Cook and Marquese Chriss. All three of the players were with the team on training camp contracts only. 

That coincides with the Blazers' confirming of the signing of Dennis Smith Jr., who clearly outplayed the aforementioned trio. The 23-year-old had a very good camp for Portland, and just last week posted 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting, along with 7 assists in a preseason game against the Sacramento Kings. 

That earned him a start in their final preseason game, and ultimately, the final spot on the roster. That brings the team to 14 players plus a couple of two-ways. 

This is Smith Jr.'s fourth team in his short four-year career; injuries have really derailed the point guard's trajectory, after averaging 15 points per game in his rookie season in Dallas. 

"I don't think I've had a season where I've played 70 games yet," Smith told Fan Nation. "The league is very talented, so if you're not available, it's next man up." 

Finally, after surgery for a torn meniscus this offseason, he says he is "100% healthy." And with averages of 11 points, 5 assists and 1.5 steals in the preseason, he's proving it. 

Photo Credit: D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports