Feb 27

Welcome Home to Our Friend

By Kassandra Posted in: ArmonJohnson, Blazers, Bobcats, Bucks, Bulls, geraldwallace, Heat, Mavericks
"Joel (Pryzbilla) is as solid as they come and with whatever happens with the team, a lot of fans will be disappointed that Joel will not have an opportunity to be a part of it."

I wrote that as part of my February 24, 2011 column Saying Goodbye to Some Friends -- the same day Joel was traded to Charlotte, along with Dante Cunningham and Sean Marks, for Gerald Wallace.

Well, hold that thought. As most of you've heard by now, our friend has come home!

Due to knee pain, Joel played just five games last season for Charlotte following the trade. He became a free agent at the end of the season, but did not sign with a team. He considered retiring, but all the while, kept in shape and rehabilitated his knee. Then, the new year came, and he began to consider his options.

Portland, Milwaukiee, Chicago and Miami were all vying for Joel's services. In fact, he was nearly headed to Miami and possibly contend for a championship with the Heat. In the end he decided Portland is where his heart is. It appeared that last sunday, he had decided on Miami, but after thinking about it overnight, he surprised his wife:

"I looked at her and said, 'Let's go back to Portland, and I could see a smile on her face."

His wife wasn't the only one smiling. The BlazerNation, which has been openly urging the team to bring in some depth at center, has seemed to have an extra kick in its step following the news of Joel's announcement.

He's listed at 7'1" and 245 pounds. He's a defensive presence and excellent rebounder. He also has a strong sense of determination and a strong sense of teamsmanship. Oh, and don't even try a cheap shot against one of his teammates when he's on the court. That's just not a good idea.

I look forward with great anticipation to seeing Joel back on the court in a Blazers uniform. I believe we will be a better team with him on the roster.


Of course, to say hello to Joel, we have to say goodbye to someone. In this case, it's our friend, Armon Johnson.

Armon was with us for just a season-and-a-half, but spent most of the season on the inactive list. He's played in just one game, in garbage time, this season. He scored 2 points and grabbed a rebound in that game. Armon served in a backup capacity during his rookie season, averaging 2.9 points, 1.2 assists and not quite a rebound in 38 games. Perhaps the biggest memory I take from Armon's time as a Blazer was in game two of the playoff series at Dallas last season. He played just three-tenths of a second, and claimed one rebound. Armon's future remains to be seen, but I hope he understands his contributions for Portland are very much appreciated by at least this member of the BlazerNation.

While it's sad to say goodbye to Armon, I am thrilled to say hello again to Joel.

Welcome home, friend.


In Kassandra's Words features regular blogs throughout the year. Comments and questions are welcome and encouraged. Seasons begin and end; players come and go; our Blazers are forever. Please follow on twitter: @PDXKass


  1. Hey.Hey, Hey Miss Kassandra:

    Two great blogs in a few days? How lucky can we get? I hadn't read who we was going to drop, as I read that if we dropped Greg we would lose his bird rights, I figured or hoped it would be Armon, not that I am glad to see him go, he just had the short straw and needs a chance to see if he can produce for another team.
    I am with you as is most of the BlazerNation in welcoming home Joel.
    One other thing on Joels contributation, he sets mean picks on offense, and that has been missing.

    by Hg on 2/27/2012 9:39 AM
  2. ironically, i had written this one first. truth be told, i was only waiting on word of who was to be released (i had a paragraph written and photo added for Greg; just deleted it when i learned it was Armon being released). i actually hadn't planned to write anything about LaMarcus' all-star game, but just got a little inspired last night.

    certainly, Joel coming back is a great birthday present!

    by Kassandra on 2/27/2012 10:05 AM
  3. Nice job Kassandra, I couldn't have said it better myself. Welcome back Joel. Good luck in the future Armon, happy to say you weren't always sitting on the bench, we Blazer fans knew we could always count on you to be the first one up to cheer a big play. Thank you.

    by Mieke Appel on 2/27/2012 11:42 AM
  4. I've been (4 a llllllooooooonnng time) & consider myself quite the Blazers fan but Kass, YOU r the fan I aspire 2 b! Well said/done! ALL these comments/sentiments r awesome 2!!!

    by Simpson on 2/28/2012 1:18 PM
  5. @Mieke: Joel's history with the blazers, his intelligence and his attitude are going to be great assets ... and i'm not even talking about his on-court play. we already know what we're going to get there. i'm willing to be patient as he gets acclimated to being back on the court, but so glad he's back!

    @Simpson: i'm probably not any more of a fan than many in the BlazerNation. i just like to make my contributions here and in other areas. being a student, i an often engulfed in doing research in one form or another. it's something i enjoy, do a little diversion by researching a blog or contributing to show and game chats is something i really like doing.

    ~ KMM

    by Kassandra on 2/28/2012 7:44 PM
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