Tag:Portland Trail Blazers
Posted on: June 6, 2011 7:57 pm
Edited on: June 6, 2011 8:15 pm
 

Blazers president Larry Miller denies GM rumors

Portland Trail Blazers president Larry Miller denies rumors concerning his team's open GM position. Posted by Ben Golliver. larry-miller

DALLAS -- Rumors are still swirling around the Portland Trail Blazers' vacant GM position, but team president Larry Miller continued to insist on Monday that his team hasn't begun the formal search process to find a replacement for Rich Cho, who was fired in May.

"I just want to make it clear that all this speculation about meetings today and all this other stuff is absolutely not true," Miller said. "None of it is true. [Owner] Paul [Allen] is still out of the country. I’m in Dallas. There are no meetings that are going on and, again, our focus right now is on the draft.

"We haven’t compiled a list. We haven’t really started to go through a process of looking for a candidate, so any of the rumors that are out there are just that: rumors. Because they are not true."

Rumors surfaced on Monday morning that the Blazers had had internal conversations about possibly bringing back former GM Kevin Pritchard, who was fired last summer.

"I can say to you that anyone who has been here and been in that role before is not being considered," Miller said.

He went on to specifically rule out former GM Kevin Pritchard, former Vice President of Basketball Operations Tom Penn and former executives Mark Warkentien -- now with the New York Knicks -- and John Nash.

While he was at it, Miller also denied rumors that the team made contact with GM candidates or their agents before parting ways with Cho. "It's not true," he said. "We hadn't put any feelers out at all." 

Miller insisted that any talk with potential replacements has been incoming rather than outgoing.

"I’ve gotten a number of calls -- either agents or people who are interested directly -- but we haven’t spent any time reaching out to anybody at this point. Our position still is that we’re in no rush. Right now, our focus is on getting through the draft."

Since announcing Cho's firing, Miller has maintained that the Blazers have "no timetable" for hiring a replacement GM and that it's "possible" the team will enter next season without a new GM in place. Miller repeated that sentiment on Monday, saying that his organization "absolutely" and "unequivocally" plans to enter the NBA Draft, which takes place on June 23, without a full-time GM in place.

Miller remains upbeat heading into the draft process, even without a full-time head of basketball operations in place.

"I’m 100% confident that we’ve got the bases covered that we need to have covered in order to have a good draft," Miller said. "I think we’re in good shape as far as draft preparation is concerned. We’re looking at all the possibilities. Do we stand pat and draft in the positions that we currently have? Do we try to trade to move up? Do we try to make some other trades using our draft picks? I’m confident that on draft day we’ll make the right decision."
Posted on: June 6, 2011 3:22 pm
Edited on: June 6, 2011 3:37 pm
 

Could the Blazers bring back Kevin Pritchard?

Posted by Royce Young

Most random story of the day award? It goes to this one, right here: 

Via Newsday, the Blazers could be considering a familiar face for their vacant general manager position: Kevin Pritchard. Seriously.

"Two weeks ago, the Blazers fired Pritchard's replacement, Rich Cho, and an NBA source said Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen's staff recently discussed bringing Pritchard back."

If you recall, Allen was so eager to fire Pritchard that he canned him on draft night last year. And here, this says, if I'm reading it right, that he's considering bringing him back? Where am I right now? Why not just re-hire Rich Cho then?

Maybe it's a concession from Allen that he may have jumped the gun in firing Pritchard. Most agreed that Pritchard had done a terrific job in Portland building a winner despite setbacks from injuries and other things. And since his dismissal, he's become a hot candidate for basically every vacant GM position. So with the Blazer position being open, why not consider him, I guess.

As was the case with Cho, a lack of communication and chemistry with ownership was cited for Pritchard's firing. I guess it's possible that people can change and reconcile relationships. That's why Pritchard could return. His firing was a very unpopular decision in Portland so I'd assume bringing him back would be a decision met with approval.

Who knows, maybe this'll turn into a George Steinbrenner - Billy Martin type of thing. Pritchard will be introduced and Allen will make some joke about firing him and Pritchard will say "You haven't even hired me yet!" I can see it now. Good times in Portland.
Posted on: June 6, 2011 12:13 pm
Edited on: June 6, 2011 12:28 pm
 

NBA players play the newlywed game on Kimmel

Posted by Royce Young



How well do you know your teammate? A simple question, but when put in the format of the Jimmy Kimmel show, good results are sure to follow.

Kimmel asked Evan Turner, Andre Iguodala, Greg Oden and LaMarcus Aldridge "newlywed game" type of questions. For instance, did you know Turner plays with his belly button during practice? Or that Oden's favorite thing about a woman is "that she's a woman." Deep, Greg.

(I think my favorite thing about this is Oden's face as he downs that ice cream sundae. Hilarious.)

Via Blazers Edge
Posted on: June 3, 2011 5:11 pm
Edited on: June 3, 2011 5:28 pm
 

Blazers GM: Can Brandon Roy play 82 games?

Portland Trail Blazers acting GM Chad Buchanan wonders whether guard Brandon Roy can play 82 games next season. Posted by Ben Golliver. brandon-roy-point

The last few months have been nothing short of disorienting for the Portland Trail Blazers.

The team was bounced out of the first round of the playoffs for the third season in a row by the Western Conference's eventual champion: the Dallas Mavericks. The loss was not unexpected, but it was still frustrating, as owner Paul Allen and coach Nate McMillan both seemed dead set on making further progress in the postseason this year.

If the playoffs were frustrating, than the offseason, so far, has been perplexing. GM Rich Cho, on the job for less than a year, was fired without warning. President Larry Miller shifted some deck chairs around, naming director of college scouting Chad Buchanan as Acting GM.

There's no bigger issue facing Buchanan and the Blazers than guard Brandon Roy. Roy went through dual knee surgeries last season and missed a good chunk of the season while rehabbing. But no one, not even Buchanan, apparently, knows what to expect from Roy in the future. 

In an interview with 750 AM in Portland, Buchanan admitted that he wasn't certain Roy can make it through an entire season.
We all recognize -- if you watch Game 3 and Game 4 of our playoff series -- that Brandon Roy has still got some game. We are very conscious of that. People have counted him out, but I think we all recognize that Brandon can play at a high level. Whether it's for 82 games or not? I think that's something that Brandon is still trying to figure out with his body and where he's at. I think, for our coaches and for Nate, we're trying to figure out best how to utilize him knowing his health. I think we're both asking: How is this going to work moving forward?

Brandon Roy has meant the world to this organization, he's helped resurrect our franchise, we're very appreciative of that. We have not had any discussions with Brandon about anything since the season ended. We let our guys decompress and get away from the game. We'll start to re-engage with Brandon here, making sure that he's on course for this summer to do the things he needs to do to be ready for next season.

With most players in his physical condition, the best course would simply be the patient one: wait and see what he can handle and how he performs, manage his minutes and keep a careful eye on his progress.

The Blazers owe Roy more than $68 million over the next four seasons, so there is a clear urgency factor at play, especially among fans. With starters Marcus Camby and Andre Miller winding down, and new arrival Gerald Wallace with just a few more years of prime play, the feeling is that the Blazers need a lot more from Roy than he's capable of giving.

Given his health and contract, though, he's essentially untradeable. The Blazers have another capable two guard on the roster in Wesley Matthews, but he lacks Roy's starpower. The Blazers don't have many other choices. If there's an amnesty clause they'll likely consider using it on Roy, but the temptation to hang on and hope will be very strong because of the lack of other options. Roy is committed to continuing his career, so retirement and medical retirement are out of the question.

Buchanan's honesty here reveals just how directionless this team is right now. Roy was once the pillar of the franchise, a perennial All-Star who could be counted on for consistent, reliable production. Now, even those with the most to gain for hyping him up, are taking a very cautious approach.

Reading between the lines, it could be tough times ahead for Blazers fans.
Posted on: June 3, 2011 1:07 pm
 

Report: Blazers want to trade up for Kemba Walker

Posted by Matt Moore

No matter who's running the Trail Blazers... and we're not exactly sure who that is at this point... they've made it clear they want to reshape the backcourt. That's been a priority for months, and Andre Miller has been in trade talks for months because of it. Now comes word that they may think they have the answer in the draft. The Portland Tribune reports that the Blazers are considering moving up in the draft to acquire UConn star guard Kemba Walker. 
 
According to a league source, Portland would like to get into the top seven to be in position to take Connecticut point guard Kemba Walker. That might mean packaging veteran point guard Andre Miller and the No. 21 pick for another team’s player along with a top-seven pick.

Acting general manager Chad Buchanan was noncommital on the report.

“Any possible avenue that will improve our team — moving up in the draft, a trade, whatever — we will consider,” Buchanan said.
via Blazers looking to move up in draft, take point guard.

Walker is the most recognizable star in the draft, outside of possibly Jimmer Fredette, and an explosive scoring guard. Questions abound regarding his size, defensive capabilities, passing ability and role at the next level, but with the talent still on Portland, it's a great fit. Nate McMillan can get the most out of Walker and teach him to cover his size problems with savvy. Meanwhile, Walker can provide the scoring punch the Blazers need and another young guard to build around as they go forward. It's a risky move, but with Miller approaching the end of his effectiveness as a starter, it may be one worth making.  
Posted on: May 27, 2011 10:44 pm
Edited on: May 28, 2011 1:47 pm
 

Rick Adelman done as NBA coach, wants to be GM?

Rick Adelman makes it sound like he's doing coaching in the NBA. Posted by Ben Golliver. rick-adelman

The Houston Rockets and head coach Rick Adelman parted ways back in April, and it took less than a month before his name popped up with regard to the Los Angeles Lakers head coaching position. But that job went to Mike Brown earlier this week.

In a revealing interview with the Portland Tribune, Adelman says he left the Rockets because management wanted to make changes to his staff and that he is interested in an NBA job, perhaps with the Portland Trail Blazers, that isn't as demanding as being a head coach.
“I’m looking to do something different, with not quite the stress the coaching aspect has. I have an affinity for Portland. Any way I could be involved, I would.”
Adelman takes it a step further when asked if he would be interested in the Indiana Pacers head coaching position, making it sound like he might be done coaching in the NBA all together. 
“I’m not sure if I’d be interested,” he says. “I have a feeling Larry [Bird] is going to take his time (hiring a coach). If someone calls, I’ll look at the situation, but I don’t know if I want to do the coaching thing again.”
Instead, it sounds like Adelman is ready for a move upstairs.
“It’s something I haven’t done, but I think I know the league pretty well,” he says. “I’ve worked for a number of GMs. I’ve always wanted to do something like that, but I’ve had pretty good success coaching. I would be very interested in trying something different."
Adelman, who is 64 years old, coached the Blazers through their "Rip City" early-1990s glory years, leading the team to the NBA Finals twice. The team fired its GM, Rich Cho, on Monday.

The transition from coach to GM is not an easy one. As good as his coaching record has been over 20 seasons and as respected as Adelman is around the league, you've got to like his chances of success in the management ranks.

But GM jobs are hard to come by, even for NBA lifers.
Posted on: May 25, 2011 3:01 pm
 

Danny Ferry on top of Portland's wishlist?

Posted by Royce Young

As our Ben Golliver pointed out in his terrific piece where he spoke with Blazers president Larry Miller just hours after the organization parted ways with general manager Rich Cho, Portland is planning to take its time choosing the next GM.

They're 0-for-2 with the past couple hires so obviously the franchise is looking for some stablility. But no doubt the powers that be are assembling their list of potential candidates to fill the position. And according to the San Antonio Express-News, former Cleveland GM Danny Ferry is sitting right near the top.

During his five years in Cleveland, Ferry worked for a billionaire owner with a big ego, Dan Gilbert. He also dealt with a superstar, LeBron James, who had a team of sycophants behind the scenes second-guessing and undercutting the GM. Still, Ferry built a team that made it to one NBA Finals and posted the NBA’s best regular-season record in back-to-back seasons.

That’s not exactly a mirror image of Allen’s operation in Portland — the sycophants there work for Allen, not a player — but it’s close enough to prepare Ferry for what he would face if he were to end up as Cho’s successor.

That really could not have been put better. Clearly there are some issues with upper management and ownership in Portland. Kevin Pritchard and assistant GM Tom Penn butted heads with the Blazer brass before Cho couldn't co-exist. So finding a "fit" is very key. And not only does Ferry have experience in that field, he comes from a Spurs organization that does every by the book and a Cavs organization where he experienced a lot of outside influences while doing his job.

(Currently, Ferry is San Antonio's vice president of basketball operations.)

In all honesty, I think Ferry would be a tremendous hire for the Blazers. Managing people is as much a part of a GM's job as anything else and Ferry is pretty solid in that deparment. As a former player he understands chemistry and what it takes for a team to function properly. He was a terrific role player in his NBA career and I'm sure he'd understand his role well in Portland.

One hangup though: Ferry would again be coming from the Spurs organization. Cho came from the Thunder, a franchise that is run in very similar fashion to the Spurs. Now Cho and Ferry are clearly different people with different personalities, but in team of organizational structure, their backgrounds are similar.

Obviously Ferry isn't going to be the only guy on the list. Owner Paul Allen is looking for someone to "connect" with him. In other words, do exactly what he says, no questions asked. With Ferry though, it would take some courtship from the Blazers to convince him. Having fired two GMs in less than a year doesn't exactly encourage the best and brightest to sign up. Unless of course the price is right.
Posted on: May 24, 2011 3:27 am
Edited on: May 24, 2011 3:38 am
 

Chad Buchanan takes acting GM reins for Blazers

Posted by Ben Golliver. chad-buchanan

PORTLAND, Ore. --  So, who’s next?

The Portland Trail Blazers have fired three talented executives in a little more than a year, canning assistant GM Tom Penn, former GM Kevin Pritchard and Pritchard’s replacement, Rich Cho.

Despite that carnage, the basketball operations staff still has plenty of pieces thanks to a unique group dynamic that features two assistant GMs – Bill Branch and Steve Rosenberry, hired by Cho -- and two directors of scouting – Chad Buchanan and Mike Born, installed into their positions by Pritchard. Blazers coach Nate McMillan and president Larry Miller also contribute to basketball decisions, as does owner Paul Allen, who has rightfully earned a reputation for meddling.

With all of those cooks in the kitchen, determining a chain of command can be tricky, if not fruitless. However, the Blazers did announce one official organizational move other than Cho’s firing on Monday by designating Buchanan as Acting GM in Cho’s absence.

“I’ve never really set a GM position or anything like that as a goal,” the typically aww-shucks Buchanan told CBSSports.com on Monday night from Minnesota, where he’s scouting in advance of the NBA Draft. "Whatever is on my plate, I’ll put my full effort into it. I didn’t set out to want to become a GM when I was hired by the Blazers. I just wanted to win a championship. That has not changed.”

Despite all the drama and internal political nightmares, Buchanan, 38, is as fresh-faced as he was seven years ago when he first joined the Blazers. After playing two sports at Simpson College, in Iowa, he began working his way up through the scouting and coaching ranks, including stops in the ABA and at Drake University.

The task facing Buchanan is a large one. McMillan has made it known he expects roster changes, particularly in the backcourt. The team has already committed major money to forward LaMarcus Aldridge and guard Brandon Roy, but Roy is dealing with ongoing knee issues. The Blazers also face a decision on oft-injured center Greg Oden, who is a franchise player this summer.

Buchanan said he wasn’t sure how many moves it would take to get Portland into a position to contend for a title after three straight first round playoff exits. “You have to have some cornerstones that we’re building around.  We feel like LaMarcus is definitely that and we’re still evaluating who might be another pillar for us. As far as how many moves away are we, that’s a really tough question to answer. Our team has needs. Whether we can address that with one move or three moves, it’s hard to give you an exact number of how you fix what your roster needs.”

While Blazers president Larry Miller said that Cho struggled developing “chemistry” with owner Paul Allen, raising questions about Cho’s communication style, Buchanan said he appreciated the style Cho brought to the organization. “He allowed you to do your job. He listens. He’s a great listener. He stays out of your way. He wants to hear your opinions as a scout, that’s all you can ask for.”

Miller said the team has no timetable on hiring a full-time replacement for Cho but admitted that the organization could enter training camp without hiring someone. He was vague, however, on whether Buchanan would be considered as a full-time candidate. "Once we determine what the criteria are and what the qualifications are that we are looking for. If any of those guys meet the criteria or those qualifications then they will be considered for sure."

While the organization's criteria are unclear, Buchanan's skillset is fairly obvious. He's a basketball talent evaluator, a skilled communicator and an endlessly loyal employee. The next co-worker to speak ill of Buchanan publicly will be the first. 

He's perhaps best known in Portland for his in-depth scouting report breakdowns and encyclopedic knowledge of players’ strengths, weaknesses and tendencies. For years, he's been tasked with briefing the media on the players that the Blazers bring to Portland for pre-draft group workouts, and he seems to relish the opportunity to share his year's worth of work.

Asked to break down his own strengths and weaknesses as a potential GM, Buchanan didn’t hesitate.

“My strengths are my overall work ethic and love for the game. I strongly believe in valuing everyone around you. That includes players, coaches, staff. I think everybody has to feel invested and part of what the ultimate goal is.”

Clearly, though, Buchanan is facing a major adjustment period from scout to GM, which he openly acknowledges. “I think I have a strong sense of emotional connection to people, which can also be a weakness for me. I find that trading players can be hard for me because you get attached to players and families. You see them from a human side. Sometimes maybe that’s not a good thing from an executive standpoint, that you have a human connection to people that you’re eventually going to have to make tough decisions on.”

Buchanan also noted that, unlike Penn and Cho, he is not a salary cap wizard. “I’ve never really focused a ton on the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The rules of the salary cap. I have a general understanding of a lot of issues but not the deep layers of it. It’s not something that I’m totally or completely familiar with.”

As Cho was the team’s point man on salary cap and CBA issues, his departure leaves a fairly large hole heading into draft season and free agency. It's unclear how that situation will be resolved in the short-term.

The constant turnover in Portland’s management ranks is enough to turn even the most optimistic fans cynical, but Buchanan did his best to stick to what has got him this far. “I go to bed every night dreaming about what it would be like to win a championship,” Buchanan said. “For this city and for our owner and for our players and coaches. It’s something that drives me every day.”

Still, his first take upon hearing about his short-term (for now) promotion was empathy for his predecessor. “The first emotion is that you feel for Rich,” Buchanan said. “A good person who lost his job today. Has a great family. At the end of the day, we’ve got to regroup, collect ourselves, and find a way to get ourselves moving forward.”

Or, as Jay-Z might say: On to the next one.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com