The Portland Trail Blazers and Philadelphia 7ers could target Anthony Bennett following his buyout from the Minnesota Timberwolves, according to a report from Yahoo Sports. Bennett and the Wolves agreed on a buyout deal for the former number one pick and the Blazers are an option as they have connections to the Team Canada national basketball team.
Bennett, a former number one overall pick for the Cavaliers, is a Canadian native and after his buyout from the wolves, the Blazers could be a solid fit for the forward. According to Shams Charania at Yahoo Sports, Bennett and the Wolves agreed on a buyout after the team was unable to find a trade for Bennett this summer. Bennett was set to make nearly $6 million and his salary numbers as a former top pick made him very hard to trade.
UPDATE: The Blazers and the Sixers reportedly are considering claiming Anthony Bennett after his buyout from the Wolves. Check here for more from Pro Basketball Talk. UPDATE: per: Mike Ortiz Jr.: "Philadelphia plans to claim Anthony Bennett off waivers he reached buyout agreement today. They're ahead of Blazers in waiver order."
Bennett will be on waivers and once he clears, he will be a free agent and can sign with any team. Teams likely will not claim Bennett due to his high salary and that opens up the Blazers as an option. Charania writes that the Blazers are a solid fit for Bennett, as the team has Jay Triano as an assistant coach and he is the Canadian national team coach. Bennett has played for the team and has been successful at times and working with Triano could help get the top pick back on track.
Bennett has been mostly a disappointment since being taken number one by the Cavs and he was part of the Kevin Love trade that sent Andrew Wiggins to the Wolves. Former Nets executive Bobby Marks writes that the Blazers are a good fit, as the roster has two open spots heading into camp and the Canada connection could make it more comfortable after a tough season for Bennett. Charania writes that Bennett was looking for the buyout over a trade, as he wanted "to control fate and success for next NBA team."
Bennett did not play well enough last season to force his way into the starting lineup and he averaged just 15 minutes per game for the team. Bennett averaged five points and nearly four rebounds per game last season and those were a slight improvement over his rookie season in Cleveland. Bennett averaged 4.2 points and 3.0 rebounds with the Cavs and now he will get the chance to land with another team. A change of scenery could help Bennett after the struggles with Cleveland and Minnesota.
The Blazers had a lot of changeover this offseason, as they lost LaMarcus Aldridge in free agency and traded Nic Batum, but they still have Damian Lillard and that makes the team a threat in the west. The team has some solid depth at forward, but Bennett could be a nice reserve option and his potential has some major upside and he likely will not cost much after his two disappointing seasons.