Point guard Raymond Felton has done quite a bit of traveling in the last year. For the first five years of his career in the Association Felton played for the team that drafted him with the fifth pick in the 2005 NBA Draft the Charlotte Bobcats. Last summer Felton became a Free Agent and along with All-Star forward Amar’e Stoudemire signed a two-year deal to play for the New York Knicks to help them get back to the Playoffs after years of ending their playing time at the end of the regular season. The Knicks made the Playoffs; but they did it without Felton as the guard was sent to the Denver Nuggets in a package that brought Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups to New York back in February.
The guard would also play in the Post Season as the trade invigorated the Nuggets who would give the Oklahoma City Thunder a tough time in the first round of the Playoffs before being sent home for the summer. Although Felton was happy to play in the Post Season for the second straight year after missing the Playoffs for his first four seasons in the NBA, he had been demoted to being a bench player upon his arrival in Denver.
Last Thursday that problem was rectified as the Portland Trail Blazers and the Nuggets pulled off a deal in which they switched point guards. Denver received former Nuggets guard veteran Andre Miller while the Blazers got themselves a new starter in Felton. The “Oregonian” reported that Portland introduced their new point guard to the city on Monday and although Felton will become a Free Agent once again at the conclusion of the upcoming season he would like to stick with the team. Felton told reporters “I definitely want something long-term here.”
In an era in which the Association has among others, Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, Rajon Rondo and Deron Williams, Raymond Felton is certainly not one of the top point guards in the NBA. However he always been better than average and during his stint in New York he showed he has the capability of being a star. In 54 games with the Knicks Felton averaged 17.1 points and 9.0 assists as for the first time in his career he was a focal point of the offense.
Portland is a team with quite a few unanswered questions as they head into next season; with the most obvious question concerning the health of All-Star shooting guard Brandon Roy who underwent double knee surgery during the campaign. Roy on sheer guts came back and played in the Post Season for the Trail Blazers; but he played off the bench and except for flashes barely resembled the player during his All-Star days not that long ago.
The other big question on the roster is former number one pick in the NBA Draft center Greg Oden who has played in just 81 games since the team took him over Kevin Durant in 2007. Oden has been injured every year he has been in the NBA and there are legitimate questions as to whether he can play at all in the upcoming campaign. Do the Blazers allow Oden to walk, or rather limp away or do they sign him up for another tour of duty?
Portland was basically carried to the Playoffs this past season by LaMarcus Aldridge, Marcus Camby and Miller. Miller is now gone and in his place now stands Felton who showed what he is capable of doing this past season with the Knicks. Once training camp and then the regular season gets underway we will find out if he can duplicate that success with the Blazers