Raymond Felton Wants to Stay in Portland Long-Term

Raymond Felton just became a Blazer, but he’s already thinking about sticking around for a long time. From The Oregonian: “The Blazers were happy to have point guard Raymond Felton, and he was happy to join them. The team introduced Felton – acquired from Denver in a draft-day trade Thursday – and draft picks Nolan Smith and Jon Diebler. After they traded veteran Andre Miller for Felton, Blazers official talked about Felton being a much-sought long-term solution for them. Felton, who turned 27 Sunday and was serenaded with ‘Happy Birthday’ by a group of children when he arrived, was quickly asked about staying with Portland after he becomes an unrestricted free agent after the 2011-12 season. ‘I definitely want something long-term here,’ Felton said. Blazers interim general manager Chad Buchanan said Portland, under current collective bargaining rules, would have an advantage in trying to retain Felton after he becomes a free agent next summer. The Blazers would hold what’s called ‘early Bird rights’ to Felton, which would allow them to raise his salary 10.5 percent each season, whereas other teams would only be able to increase it by 8 percent each season. The Blazers would also be allowed to sign Felton to one more season than other teams. However, it remains unclear if the next CBA would hold similar exceptions. The current CBA expires Thursday.”