PORTLAND, Ore. -- Former Trail Blazer Steve Blake is coming
back to Portland, even though in one sense he never left.
The free agent point guard who played for the Denver Nuggets
last season signed a reported two-year deal with an option. The
Blazers, who confirmed his return late Friday, did not disclose
Blake, a four-year veteran, averaged 8.3 points and 6.6 assists
in 49 games with Denver last season.
It is Blake's second stint with the Blazers. He played for the
team in 2005-06, averaging 8.2 points and 4.5 assists. He still has
an offseason home in the area.
Blake told the Rocky Mountain News that he decided to return to
Portland because the Nuggets appeared on the verge of finalizing a
contract with guard Chucky Atkins.
"That's OK, if that's the direction they want to go," Blake
told the newspaper. "I just decided to go back to Portland."
Calls placed to Blake's agent Friday were not immediately
Blake made $1.33 million last season and was seeking a starting
salary close to the NBA's $5.35 million midlevel exception.
Blake lives with his family in West Linn, Ore., near Portland,
during the offseason, and just bought a new home.
Blake, 27, played for the University of Maryland. For his
career, he has averaged 6.4 points, 1.9 rebounds, 3.7 assists and
22.5 minutes with the Washington Wizards, Blazers, Milwaukee Bucks
"Steve embodies the kind of culture we're building here in
Portland," Blazers general manager Kevin Pritchard said. "He's an
intelligent, hardworking, team player with a tremendous grasp as to
what it takes to play the point guard position."