Blazers sign Southerland for training camp

By Erik Gundersen, Columbian Trail Blazers Writer

Published:

 

The Portland Trail Blazers have already started to fill out their roster for the upcoming 2014-15 training camp.

On Friday the Blazers signed free-agent shooting big man James Southerland, to a one-year, non-guaranteed deal according to a source. RealGM.com was the first to have the news of the signing.

The Blazers have 15 guaranteed contracts already on the roster, the maximum amount allowed, for the 2014-15 season.

Barring the spectacular, it’s unlikely Southerland makes the roster which would require the Blazers to swallow the bitter pill of paying 16 players while only carrying 15.

The former Syracuse player only played in four NBA games last season, three for the New Orleans Pelicans and one for the Charlotte Bobcats.

Southerland played 42 games in the NBA Development League for the Los Angeles D-Fenders, averaging nearly 15 points per game and 6.5 rebounds.

During his time at Syracuse, Southerland developed into a three-point shooting specialist. Last year in the D-League he only shot 32.3 percent from three on nearly five three-point attempts per game.

As seen in this past free-agent period — evidenced by big-money signings of Channing Frye and Spencer Hawes — the price on big men who can shoot continues rise.

Southerland averaged 13.2 points and 5.1 rebounds per game in his senior season at Syracuse.

With his shooting potential, Southerland — in theory — could fill a similar role that Victor Claver and Dorell Wright have played in seasons past, playing power forward in small ball line-ups.

At worst, if Thomas Robinson isn’t ready to comeback from thumb surgery by the start of camp, Southerland gives them another able-bodied forward.

Claver’s shooting has undermined his playing time in that roll and Wright found comfort in that role to close the regular season and in the first round series win against the Rockets.

The Southerland signing the first of many additions we should expect to the Blazers training camp roster before camp starts at the beginning of October.

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