Blazers Rumors: Trendon Watford Lands 4-Year Contract; Waive Injured Dennis Smith Jr.February 21, 2022
The Portland Trail Blazers have agreed to a four-year, $5.8 million deal with Trendon Watford, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
Watford had been on a two-way contract, so the Blazers are waiving Dennis Smith Jr. to open up a roster spot. Smith was diagnosed with a partial UCL tear in his right elbow on Feb. 16, which will sideline him for at least three to four weeks.
Damian Lillard is recovering from surgery to address an abdominal injury. Seeing the writing on the wall, interim general manager Joe Cronin sent away CJ McCollum, Norman Powell and Robert Covington ahead of the trade deadline.
With the Blazers looking beyond this season, Watford has had the opportunity to carve out a regular role in the rotation.
The 21-year-old is averaging 4.5 points and 3.2 rebounds through 33 games. He nearly had a double-double in a 122-107 win over the reigning champion Milwaukee Bucks on Feb. 14, finishing with nine points and 10 rebounds in 23 minutes on the floor.
"He’s a plug-and-play guy, where you can put him in so many places," head coach Chauncey Billups said of the rookie to Jason Quick of The Athletic. "He can do so many things because of his feel, and I don’t have to teach him, he just knows. And those things are quantified in numbers, or analytics, but those things are big. Big."
Watford more than earned an extended look in Portland, and the Blazers clearly valued him enough to see whether he can be a long-term fit in the frontcourt.