- Associated Press - Monday, June 27, 2011

PORTLAND, ORE. (AP) - During the summer of 2010, the Portland Trail Blazers took a long look at free agent point guard Raymond Felton before deciding he didn’t fit on the roster financially.

A year later, Felton has joined the Blazers after a draft-day trade with Denver.

Felton, who was introduced Monday during a news conference in Portland, said he’s looking to make the Blazers his team for years to come.

“I want something long term here and I definitely look forward to that situation,” Felton said. “But I’ve got one year left on my deal, and that’s all I’m worried about.”

The 6-foot-1 Felton has played for three teams during his six-year NBA tenure, including five with Charlotte. He signed last summer with New York before being dealt to the Nuggets in the Carmelo Anthony trade.

Felton, 27, is viewed as a point guard with an ability to jump-start a running game in Portland, a team he described as “a slow-paced, half-court team.”

That’s not to say the Blazers can’t change, or that Felton can’t change his game.

“I’m a point guard that is able to push the ball up the court, but I can also run a half-court team,” he said. “Playing with coach Larry Brown for two years definitely made me that type of player.”

Felton was the fifth pick of the 2005 NBA draft. The two picks prior to Felton, Deron Williams (No. 3 to Utah) and Chris Paul (No. 4 to New Orleans), became NBA stars.

“They went into situations where they were given the ball right away. I wasn’t given the ball until maybe three years later,” Felton said. “If I’m put in that situation here, that would be great. If it happens, I’ll do my best to take the team as far as it can.”

Joining Felton during the news conference were Blazers draft picks Nolan Smith, a 6-2 guard from Duke taken at No. 21, and Jon Diebler, a 6-6 guard from Ohio State taken in the second round.

The Blazers hope they have solidified the point guard position for the future with the additions of Felton and Smith, who started 96 games for the Blue Devils and starred on the 2010 national championship team.

“I want to be a friendly face, and just be a great teammate,” Smith said. “On the court I’m going to give my all and help make this team better.”

Monday’s news conference was the beginning of what is likely to be a busy week for the Blazers.

Thursday is the deadline for Portland to decide on several players’ contracts, the most prominent being center Greg Oden.

The Blazers must tender Oden, the No. 1 pick of the 2007 draft, a qualifying offer by Thursday in order to make him a restricted free agent. As a restricted free agent, Oden can sign the offer, or seek a deal with another team. The Blazers would then have seven days to match the offer.

Oden can also sign a one-year offer from the Blazers and become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

Portland interim general manager Chad Buchanan would only say that the Blazers will address Oden’s situation this week, as well as discuss similar contract situations with guards Patty Mills, Elliot Williams and forward Nicolas Batum.