Blazers GM: Former Warriors big man will not play for Portland next year

Blazers GM: Former Warriors big man will not play for Portland next year

Festus Ezeli will not be back with the Blazers next season, Portland GM Neil Olshey said on Tuesday.

Last summer -- after the Warriors let Ezeli walk in free agency following the addition of Kevin Durant -- he signed a 2-year contract worth just over $15 million.

But Year 2 was essentially a club option with a $1 million buyout.

A knee injury prevented Ezeli from ever suiting up for the Blazers this season.

He underwent cadaver ligament replacement surgery in early March.

The Warriors drafted Ezeli 30th overall in 2012.

Over 46 games (13 starts) with Golden State in 2015-16, he averaged 7.0 points and 5.6 rebounds over 16.7 minutes per contest.

Stephen Jackson: Draymond Green 'is a new version of me'

Stephen Jackson: Draymond Green 'is a new version of me'

In the Warriors' sweep of the Blazers, Draymond Green was fantastic.

He averaged 13.8 points, 9.5 rebounds, 7.5 assists, 4.3 blocks and 1.8 steals per game, while shooting 50 percent from the field and 55 percent from deep.

On Tuesday morning, former Warriors forward Stephen Jackson was asked about the two-time runner-up for Defensive Player of the Year.

"I don't want to change him at all. That chip on his shoulder, the way he plays, as Steve Kerr will tell you -- every team needs a guy like that," Jackson said on KNBR 680. "I was that guy in San Antonio. I was that guy on a lot of teams.

"You need a guy like that to even it out. You don't want your team to be a pushover. And sometimes, his emotion might hurt the team. But you can live with that, because you got a guy going to bat for all your guys.

"He's one of the best all-around players in the league -- Top 5 -- and you need a guy like that. He makes that team better.

"He's one of those guys that puts his body on the line for a team, passes up a shot to make a pass, guard the best player and not worry about scoring -- that's my type of guy."

When the "We Believe" Warriors upset the Dallas Mavericks in 2007, Jackson averaged 22.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.0 steals, while shooting over 47 percent from 3-point territory in that series.

"I say Draymond is a new version of me -- just way more athletic," Jackson added. "And I love it. I wore his jersey last year to The Finals, and I plan on wearing it again."

Over next few days, Steve Kerr's doctors have one goal to achieve

Over next few days, Steve Kerr's doctors have one goal to achieve

PORTLAND -- After a full week of sheer agony, Steve Kerr walked out of Moda Center late Monday night with hardly a bounce in his step but at least a modicum of hope in his heart.

That’s the power of the Warriors coach feeling optimistic about his future health if not his present condition.

The Warriors had swept the Trail Blazers out of the postseason, yes, but Kerr’s immediate concerns are more about life than basketball. This is a man on a desperate mission to end his chronic misery.

In the 19 months since undergoing two back surgeries in the summer of 2015, Kerr has wondered if relief ever would come. It has not. And now, suddenly, he feels it might. Maybe.

Since Kerr announced his decision Sunday to step away from basketball to focus on his health, the calls and e-mails have come flooding in. People want to help. Some have remedies. Some speak of herbs that might alleviate some of his suffering.

Kerr is willing to listen. He has long reached the point where he feels he has nothing to lose by listening to anything reasonable and considering anything that might help.

[POOLE: This is cruel: Steve Kerr imprisoned by misery that has engulfed his body]

He revealed to NBCSportsBayArea.com that in recent days he has spoken to several people who have experienced the debilitating effects of a cerebrospinal fluid leak and been able to overcome it. He says that because his symptoms have intensified over the past week, in an odd twist, that may make it easier for specialists to trace the precise source.

“That’s what the next few days are all about,” Kerr said, standing down the hallway from the visitor’s locker room. “They’re trying to find it. If they can find it, they can fix it.”

He’ll begin in the coming days by consulting with specialists at Stanford Medical Center, which has some of the more respected surgeons in the world.

Though Kerr requested that we not reveal certain elements of what’s ahead, he said he felt somewhat better than had a few days ago. Maybe part of that was hearing the comeback stories of others.

Kerr detailed the story of an NFL executive who experienced much the same painful and lingering after-effects as he did following his second surgery. This executive, who shall not be named, dealt with it for five months before the problem was detected and repaired.

“He’s 100 percent,” Kerr said. “So I’m hopeful. And he’s not the only one.”

Kerr reiterated that his lower back is fine. The surgery actually alleviated that pain, only to bring about something even worse. He conceded there have been moments when he felt there was no hope, that there would be no end to the suffering.

Last week was, in fact, such a period. That’s why he felt it necessary to step away from his coaching duties for an indefinite period, handing things over to assistant coach Mike Brown.

“I had no chance,” he said. “I had been trying everything.”

Kerr felt good enough to address the team after their victory. He was proud of everyone, he said, from coaches to players to staff members, any member of the traveling party.

It’s a start. Hearing Kerr talk of the past few days, as well as the many months before, it all makes sense that he chose to take some time for himself. He had reached a point where walking away from his job was necessary to save his sanity, if not his life.

How could he function and meet the demands of an NBA coach if he barely could function as a human being?