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NBA AM: Wright Seeks Long-Term Deal In Portland

Dorell Wright will be a free agent this summer and would like a long-term deal with Portland

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Dorell Wright talks upcoming free agency, desire to remain in Portland

The Portland Trail Blazers (36-17) currently sit third in the Western Conference standings as we push past the All-Star break. The team was very active at the trade deadline and acquired veteran guard Arron Afflalo from Denver in order to strengthen their title hopes this season.

Make no mistake, there’s a lot riding on this season in Portland.

So much so that All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge decided to play through a torn radial collateral ligament in his left thumb instead of surgery and missing six to eight weeks of court action. Aldridge decided to put it all on the line – right now.

The veteran forward is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer and will be a highly sought after target around the league. Blazers starting shooting guard Wesley Matthews and starting center Robin Lopez will also be headed to free agency after the season, so maintaining the continuity this summer in Portland is far from a certainty.

Another one of the club’s free agents to be is veteran sharpshooter Dorell Wright. The 11th-year pro doesn’t get the publicity of his higher profile free agent-to-be teammates set to enter the open market, but Wright is a well respected locker room presence and a key part of the Blazers’ chemistry.

Wright, 29, understands guys like Aldridge, Matthews and Lopez will be taken care of by the organization financially first this summer. But the forward would love to remain in Portland long term and is hoping things work out in his favor.

“Portland is definitely where I want to be,” Wright told Basketball Insiders on his free agency plans this summer. “It’s always good to be in a system and know it from A to Z. It’s kind of hard because when I left Miami and went to those different teams for one year or two years, it was just difficult learning new systems and getting to know different guys and new personnel.

“So I’m really comfortable here in Portland. If it happens, it happens. We have a lot of free agents this summer. Of course the front office is going to take care of our big dogs first and then the discussions will trickle down to everybody else. But, yes, hopefully this situation works out. If not, it’s just part of the business. I’m ready for whatever is ahead of me.”

Wright had a career year in 2011 when he averaged 16.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and three assists for the Golden State Warriors while garnering some buzz as a Most Improved Player candidate. This season the veteran is averaging 4.1 points and 2.2 rebounds in 28 appearances. However, Wright is knocking down three-point attempts to the tune of 42 percent accuracy on the season.

The Blazers currently have only $23 million in guaranteed salaries on the books for next season, which will make the team prime candidates to be active in free agency over the summer.

The team resumes play on the road versus Utah on Friday.

Thomas Robinson verbally agrees to buyout with Nuggets

The trade deadline passed with one particular player hearing their name once again in an address change. Thomas Robinson, drafted No. 5 overall in 2012, was traded by Portland to Denver as part of the Arron Afflalo deal.  The Nuggets were set to become the fourth team in three seasons for Robinson.

But according to Jeff Goodman of ESPN, Robinson won’t see any action in Denver and has verbally agreed to a buyout with the franchise.

In 172 career games, Robinson has posted averages of 4.6 points and 4.4 rebounds on 46 percent shooting from the floor while logging 13.5 minutes per contest.

Speaking of buyouts, Kendrick Perkins may land Chicago or Cleveland

Veteran center Kendrick Perkins had been in trade rumors for the majority of the season with an attractive expiring deal. The Oklahoma City Thunder used that ending contract to acquire young center Enes Kanter from the Utah Jazz.

Perkins is headed to Utah on paper but the veteran likely won’t play a single minute for the franchise. According to David Aldridge of TNT once the buyout with the Jazz is finalized, Perkins is likely headed to an Eastern Conference contender.

On the season, Perkins has posted averages of four points and 5.5 rebounds per game in 51 appearances with the Thunder.

Lang Greene is a senior NBA writer for Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA for the last 10 seasons

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