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Wright hopes Blazers' depth is the right fit

He has a condo rented in Lake Oswego, jersey No. 4, a long relationship with the general manager and a role as a veteran presence off the Trail Blazers' bench.

Now all Dorell Wright has to do is follow it with performance.

That's what Portland GM Neil Olshey fully expects after signing the 6-9 small forward to a two-year, $6 million free-agent contract this summer.

Wright has plenty of cred. At 27, he is entering his 10th NBA season, having signed with the Miami Heat straight out of high school as the 19th pick in the 2004 draft.

During a Tuesday phone interview from his native Los Angeles, Wright says he has had an "awesome summer, but my family and I are excited about heading up to Portland and getting started."

Family includes girlfriend Mia Lee and 5-year-old son Devin Quentin Dwyane Wright, the latter name honoring teammates Quentin Richardson and Dwyane Wade from Dorell's time in Miami.

"My job was to find the middle names," he says. "Those two guys I looked up to. They took me under their wings my first years in the NBA. They are people I admire, both professionally and personally."

Young Devin, incidentally, is a fan of University of Oregon football and De'Anthony Thomas.

"I'm a big-time football player on X-Box," Dorell says. "I play a lot of Madden. I'm a USC Trojan fan, but I like to play with the Oregon Ducks. Every time I ask him, Devin tells me he's going to Oregon University to play football and basketball. He loves De'Anthony Thomas."

Wright chose Portland over Oklahoma City, Memphis and Utah this summer largely on his relationship with Olshey, with whom he goes back prior to Olshey's time with the Los Angeles Clippers.

"I was still in high school, and I think Neil was coaching high school ball, probably 13 years ago," Wright says. "He worked me out with (Tim Grgurich) a few times. That was pretty cool, being able to get great workouts in with an NBA coach and some NBA players.

"Neil is a great guy, very up front. He lets you know what is real. When you've known someone for so long, the trust and communication is there. I trust Neil. I trust the situation. He sold me on everything as far as the city and the team. Being able to play with Damian (Lillard), Wesley (Matthews), Nic (Batum), LaMarcus (Aldridge) … I felt like I'd fit in with all those guys. i had a feeling in my gut that it was the right situation for myself and my family."

With Olshey's offseason moves, a bench that was one of the weakest in NBA history last season appears deep. Suddenly, coach Terry Stotts has center Meyers Leonard, forwards Wright and Thomas Robinson and guards Mo Williams, Earl Watson and C.J. McCollum to call upon.

"I applaud the organization for the moves they've made," Wright says. "Neil did a great job. We have a nice mix of young talent and older guys to help the young guys out."

Wright signed a letter-of-intent with DePaul out of high school but went directly to the NBA after being drafted by the Heat.

"Not too many 18-year-olds have the opportunity," he says. "It was a dream I'd set years earlier."

Wright hardly played his first two seasons, but became a member of the regular rotation his final four years in a Miami uniform and was a member of the Heat team that won the 2006 NBA championship.

"I made the right decision," he says. "I learned from the best — Pat Riley, Stan Van Gundy and Erik Spoelstra. I played with Hall of Fame players in Shaq (Shaquille O'Neal) and Dwyane, played with Antoine Walker and James Posey — those guys took me under their wing. I learned what hard work was all about as well as the NBA game. It was a way better situation than had I gone to college for a year or two."

It was during his final season in Miami, 2009-10, that Wright endured his darkest hour in the NBA. In a situation oddly similar to one experienced by former Blazer Greg Oden, Wright emailed or texted a photo of his private parts to a woman, who eventually passed the photo along to the world via Twitter.

Wright later submitted a statement through the team: "I'd like to apologize to my family, fans and the Heat organization for this embarrassment. The photos were taken roughly one year ago in what I thought was a private conversation. I lacked judgment and was naive about the Internet. I realize this is not an excuse, but it is something I truly regret. I realize this affects my entire family and I am embarrassed by it."

On Tuesday, Wright revisited the moment with regret.

"I was a young man, and I learned you have to protect yourself in this business and not let people take advantage of you," he said. "It was embarrassing, but I learned from that. You always have to protect yourself. It's all about protecting your name. You don't want anybody to mess that up. Be smart."

Wright has worked hard to repair his reputation since then through the D Wright Way Foundation, now in its fourth year. He recently staged his third annual "Skate Party" in Northridge, Calif., where several NBA players and other pro athletes gathered to help raise funds for the foundation.

"It has been a great success," Wright says. "We target inner-city kids who need our help."

In April, the foundation partnered with the United Negro College Fund, contributing $50,000 to launch of an annual college scholarship in the name of Wright's childhood friend, the late Khelcy Barrs III.

"It's the biggest thing we've done so far," Wright says. "I'm very proud of the work we've been doing. I'm humbled by the help I've received from so many people in reaching our goal."

(See dwrightwayfoundation.org.)

In 2010, Wright signed a free-agent contract with Golden State and had his best NBA season under coach Keith Smart, averaging 15.4 points and 4.9 rebounds and leading the league while making 194 3-point shots. Wright was third in voting for the NBA's Most Improved Player Award behind Minnesota's Kevin Love and Portland's Aldridge.

Wright started again the next season but saw diminished time under new coach Mark Jackson, then was dealt to Philadelphia. Coming off the bench under coach Doug Collins, Wright averaged 9.2 points and 3.8 rebounds in 22.6 minutes last season, shooting .396 from the field, .374 from 3-point range and .851 from the foul line.

In Portland, Wright says he will be comfortable in a reserve role.

"I want to come off the bench," he says. "When training camp starts, I'll get in there and compete, but the guys who have been here have already established themselves. They've been playing well the past few years. (The Blazers) struggled because they didn't have a strong bench. I don't think that will be the case this season."

Wright says his versatility will pay off for the Blazers.

"I'm a 1 through 4, to tell you the truth," he says. "I'm a point forward. I make plays for my teammates. I can shoot the 3. I can be an undersized 4, pick and pop and put pressure on the defense with outside shooting."

Wright hopes his experience will be an asset for the Blazers.

"Having a lot of knowledge and wisdom of the game will help with a lot of the younger guys," he says. "It's about how to conduct yourself in practice, before games … a lot of little things. You don't become a leader by talking a lot. You do it be leading by example. With myself and Mo and Earl and LaMarcus and some others, we'll help the younger guys learn how to become professionals."

Wright isn't settling for just a better record for the Blazers, who went 33-49 a year ago. He's thinking playoffs.

"No doubt," he says. "Look at the talent. We have a stronger bench now. It's going to be so competitive in practice. People are going to really want it. The playoffs will be the goal from day one. We're going to protect our homecourt and go out there to win a lot of games."

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Twitter: @kerryeggers