Blazers make final cuts to set roster

No surprise who was let go as team was at maximum

By Candace Buckner, Columbian staff writer

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TUALATIN, Ore. -- After practice on Friday, the Portland Trail Blazers informed Justin Holiday, Coby Karl and Adam Morrison that they would be waived on Saturday.

That leaves the roster at 15, the maximum number of players an NBA team can carry through the regular season. The roster includes injured guard Elliot Williams, who will likely miss the season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn left Achilles tendon.

Previously, Blazers general manager Neil Olshey revealed that roster cuts would not be made until the Saturday deadline so that the team could temporarily retain the players' rights. That way, the Blazers could assign a waived player to their NBA Development League affiliate.

Dallas Lauderdale and Demonte Harper -- two other training camp invitees who were allowed to leave the team earlier this week and will be officially waived Saturday -- will play this season for the Blazers' D-League team, the Idaho Stampede. But the club did not announce plans to send either Holiday, Karl or Morrison to Boise.

Holiday spent his final moments as a Blazer shooting jumpers on the far end of the practice facility. After the session, he described the meeting with Olshey in which he learned that he would be waived.

Holiday, a 23-year-old undrafted player out of Washington, spent the majority of the preseason in the Cleveland Cavaliers training camp before getting cut on Oct. 10. The Blazers claimed him off waivers, but Holiday knew he had long odds in making the team.

"I just knew they were giving me an opportunity (but) I knew being waived would be a possibility coming in late," he said. "It's been fun … being a part of a team for a little bit. I still want to get back to that point, so I enjoyed myself."

Like Holiday, Morrison and Karl would have needed more than a stroke of luck to make a team that already featured 15 players under guaranteed contracts.

Morrison, the No. 3 pick in the 2006 draft, has an NBA championship ring from his days on the bench with the Los Angeles Lakers but has never found a home in the league. In five preseason appearances with the Blazers, he averaged 3.2 points but never played more than 19 minutes.

Karl, the 29-year-old son of Denver Nuggets coach George Karl, was signed by the Blazers the weekend before the start of training camp. Karl played for an Italian team last year and wanted to make a return to the NBA. However, at least one team, the Toronto Raptors, backed off after learning that Karl underwent a scope on his lateral meniscus.

"I started playing three weeks after it, so it was a quick recovery," Karl said earlier this month. "I was able to get on the court. I was excited about the process because I kinda take that stuff as a challenge when someone says I won't be able to be ready for camp. I think I came in in fairly good shape, relative to my surgery."

Karl's agent, Brad Ames, earlier predicted that if his client did not make the Blazers' roster then he would consider joining the D-League or playing another season in Europe.

With the roster now in place, the Blazers will open the season Wednesday at home against the Lakers.