The Portland Trail Blazers have informed guard Pat Connaughton that they will pick up his $1.4 million option for the 2017-18 campaign, according to Jason Quick of Comcast Sports Northwest.
Connaughton, who played his collegiate basketball at Notre Dame, was originally selected by the Brooklyn Nets in the second round (41st pick overall) of the 2015 NBA Draft. However, he was then immediately traded to the Trail Blazers. The 24-year-old played in just 34 games during his rookie season, averaging 1.1 points in 4.2 minutes per game while shooting a paltry 26.5 percent from the floor and 23.8 percent from three-point range.
Last year, Connaughton’s playing time was still limited, but he did quite a bit more with the small opportunity. In 39 contests, he recorded 2.5 points and 1.3 rebounds over 8.1 minutes per outing. The main difference came in his efficiency, as Connaughton made 51.4 percent of his field-goal attempts and 51.3 percent of his long-distance tries. Connaughton enjoyed a solid four-year career at Notre Dame, averaging 10.5 points and 5.9 rebounds across 32.3 minutes per game while shooting 45 percent from the field and 38.6 percent from downtown.
Portland is coming off of a disappointing 2016-17 campaign in which it won just 41 games and it was swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Golden State Warriors. The Trail Blazers had somewhat high expectations going into last season after winning 44 games the year before.
Damian Lillard and company have made the postseason four years in a row and advanced past the first round in two of those four appearances. Portland will open up the regular season on October 18 against the Phoenix Suns.