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Orioles prospect Pat Connaughton signs with Trail Blazers

Orioles prospect Pat Connaughton signs with Trail Blazers
Pat Connaughton began his pro baseball career last summer with the Aberdeen IronBirds, and he's had a strong senior season with Notre Dame's men's basketball team. (Left: Baltimore Sun Media Group; Right: Getty Images)

Pat Connaughton moved one step closer to his NBA dreams, and perhaps one further from returning to the Orioles, when he signed with the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday.

Per Trail Blazers team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed. The move might not affect Connaughton's situation too much, however, as contracts with second-round draft picks are not guaranteed in the NBA.

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But the Trail Blazers do seem excited to have the former Notre Dame guard signed.

"Pat's character, competitive nature and ability to make shots will be a welcomed addition to our team," Trail Blazers president of basketball operations Neil Olshey said in a statement. "He is an excellent fit for our basketball system and our culture."

Portland acquired Connaughton in a draft-day trade with the Brooklyn Nets. The 6-foot-5, 215-pounder was selected with the 41st overall pick in the second round.

Connaughton, 22, averaged 10.5 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.8 assists in four seasons at Notre Dame, helping the Irish advance to the Elite Eight in 2015.

The Blazers said Connaughton will make his team debut at the 2015 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. Portland plays its first summer game on Saturday against the Boston Celtics.

Connaughton, a right-handed pitcher who was ranked the Orioles' ninth-best prospect by MLB Pipeline before the season, received a $428,000 signing bonus from the club after they made him their 2014 fourth-round draft pick.

A source told The Baltimore Sun that the organization would try to recover the bonus if Connaughton chose to play basketball.

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