NBA Rumors: Raymond Felton Must Spurn Blazers, Find New Home
The trade made a lot of sense considering the team's need for a long-term answer at the point guard position, but things haven't gone exactly as expected since he arrived in Rip City.
Felton is a player who is often dogged for his conditioning, and after looking like he was on the heavier side at the beginning of the season, he admitted that he wasn't in ideal shape to kick off the campaign (via Kerry Eggers of the Portland Tribune).
“I wasn’t in the shape I wanted to be,” he confesses. “I wasn’t out of shape, but I wasn’t in the shape I needed to be in. The (CBA signing) threw me off. You get a phone call you have to report to your team in a week. Then you get two weeks and, boom, there’s your first preseason game.
In addition to conditioning issues, Felton never seemed to be able to get it going under previous head coach Nate McMillan.
The two were never seemingly on the same page, and Felton really struggled to produce as expected during the first half of the season with averages of just 10.2 points and 6.2 assists on a lousy 37.7 percent shooting.
However, he has improved since the All-Star break and under his new coach. Felton has averaged 12.5 points and 7.0 assists on a much-improved 44.1 percent shooting from the floor.
He's been subjected to boos by the home crowd, but a rocky first season in Portland hasn't dissuaded Felton from being open to a future with the Trail Blazers.
Should Felton re-sign with the Blazers?
“I’d still love to play here, without a doubt,” the seven-year NBA veteran says. “This is one of the places I’d love to play. I let everybody know I would love to play in Portland again. I have a great relationship with my teammates.
Felton will be an unrestricted free agent at season's end, but he needs to take his game to another team.
With Portland very clearly attempting to rebuild through the draft, Felton would be wise to explore the open market with so many teams looking for help at point guard.
His name was kicked around near the trade deadline as a possible player on the move, and that should speak volumes in regards to exactly how committed the Trail Blazers are to Felton moving forward.
There is no question that Felton will have to prove his worth wherever he lands next, but if he wants a fresh start that doesn't include any preconceived notions, he would be wise to turn the page from his Portland era.
Felton has previously shown in his career that he can find great success in the right system, but it would be in both parties' best interest to end the marriage after just a single season.
With Goran Dragic expected to be on Portland's free-agent radar and LaMarcus Aldridge having previously tossed the idea of playing with the Blazers in Steve Nash's direction, it would appear the team is already thinking about a future without Felton.
It's time for the point guard to do the same.
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