Has time may be running short
Though it was his third summer-league camp with the Trail Blazers, Ha Seung-Jin didn't show much improvement last week, and the coaching staff is getting restless.
He doesn't turn 21 until Aug. 4, but I wouldn't be surprised to see the 7-3 South Korean waived to open a roster spot for another player in the fall.
Another big man, 7-3 Nedzad Sinanovic from Bosnia and Herzegovina (taken by Portland in the second round in the 2003 draft), played seven scoreless minutes in five games of the Las Vegas Summer League. He won't ever see time in a Portland uniform.
• Point guard Jarrett Jack's surgeon was surprised at the damage to the left ankle the Blazer guard played on all last season.
'There was a lot more inflammation and scar tissue than they expected,' says Jack, who was with Portland through summer league but isn't yet ready to play. 'He said 85 percent of my ankle was unhealthy tissue. He was kind of amazed I was able to play the whole season.'
Jack says he is shooting for being 100 percent healthy by early September, when he returns to Portland to begin pretraining camp workouts.
• Blazer coaches were impressed with Hector Romero, a free agent forward from Venezuela.
Romero had a game to die for against Minnesota (15 points and six rebounds, going 4-of-4 from the field, including a 3-pointer, and 6-of-6 from the line in 21 minutes).
Romero, 26, played two years at the University of New Orleans (2001-03) and has played pro ball internationally the past three years. Listed at 6-7 but appearing an inch or two shorter, he grabbed 21 rebounds in 76 minutes, made all 11 free-throw attempts during league play and displayed a work ethic that should earn him an invitation to training camp.
'The guy works hard every minute of every practice and every game,' Blazer assistant coach Maurice Lucas says.
Adds director of player personnel Kevin Pritchard: 'He's a little undersized, but I love his energy and his toughness, and he is starting to develop a shot. He had a heck of a summer league.'
Romero left before the final game to return to camp with the Venezuela national team.
• Terry Porter will take a job as assistant coach with Detroit unless something happens in his group's bid for Blazer ownership over the next few weeks. The ex-Blazer guard can't wait too long or the Piston position will go away.
• Midway through Boston's rout of Toronto last week, Celtic Executive Director of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge was beaming about the play of newly acquired point guard Sebastian Telfair.
'He's been the best player on the floor,' Ainge said. 'He was running everything out there for us.'
Telfair finished that game with nine points, 10 assists and two turnovers in 27 minutes.
Says one executive from another team: 'It's going to be all about making shots consistently for Telfair.'
In five games, Telfair shot 40 percent from the field, (14-of-35) and made 35.3 percent of his 3-point attempts (6-of-17). He averaged 14.3 points and 5.3 assists.
• Joe Wolf, a 6-10 reserve forward on the 1992-93 Blazers who retired in 1999, was a summer-league assistant for Phoenix. Wolf, 41, worked as an assistant for the Idaho Stampede of the Continental Basketball Association the past two years.
• Brian Jackson didn't get a long look with the Cleveland Cavaliers, but he made the most of it. Jackson hit 3-of-4 shots from the field and scored six points in nine minutes off the bench as the Cavaliers blew out Golden State. He totaled 35 minutes, 10 points and six rebounds in four games.
'He's one of our best-shooting big men, he's an extremely hard worker and he's a competitor,' assistant coach Mike Malone says. 'I didn't know much about him coming into summer camp, but he's been very impressive to everybody on the staff.'
Still, odds aren't good the 6-9 Jackson, 25, will be invited to October training camp.
'We tell all these guys the first night they're not just auditioning for the Cavaliers, they're auditioning for the whole league,' Malone says. 'Brian hasn't gotten a lot of minutes for us, but shooting makes up for most of your sins. If you're a big guy who can play pick-and-roll in the NBA, you have value, and he can do that. He has a chance.'
• Salem Academy graduate Josh Davis had a couple of nice games with Denver, but the 6-8 forward - who has NBA experience in each of the past three seasons - is on the outside looking in with the Nuggets.
'We know what Josh can do,' Denver coach George Karl says. 'He's a good end-of-the-bench guy for a lot of teams. He's a great kid and a good player, but he's an in-between size guy. He's better at (power forward) but is undersized, and has trouble covering (small forwards). It's tough.'
Says Davis, 25, who was on the Blazers' summer-league team in 2003: 'There are a lot of options out there. It would be great to go to camp with Denver. The only better thing would be to go to Portland, but (the Blazers) have never showed that much interest.'
• Ex-University of Portland point guard Pooh Jeter played well enough for Sacramento that General Manager Geoff Petrie says he will be invited to training camp. The 5-11 Jeter scored 40 points in 80 minutes, shooting 51.7 percent from the field while adding nine assists and nine rebounds. Jeter's biggest game was a 20-point outburst against Dallas.
Jeter says he won't make a decision on which camp to attend until his agent negotiates with other clubs. 'I'm just taking it day by day and learning from guys who have been there (in the NBA), like Kevin Martin and Francisco Garcia,' he says.