Tag:Chad Buchanan
Posted on: August 17, 2011 11:36 pm
Edited on: August 17, 2011 11:43 pm
 

Report: Blazers GM search back to square one

Posted by Ben Golliverchad-buchanan

The next victim has not yet been identified.

The Oregonian reports that the Portland Trail Blazers, who fired two GMs and a vice president of basketball operations in less than 14 months, have decided that Acting GM Chad Buchanan, who was installed when former GM Rich Cho was canned back in May, will not be given the title permanently.
Interim GM Chad Buchanan is no longer a candidate to become Blazers GM permanently. Blazers President Larry Miller says the Blazers are looking for a candidate with GM experience or with extended time as a No. 2. Buchanan will remain with team and both he and Miller said they would like him to be a part of organization no matter who is hired as GM. 

Buchanan will help Miller with his GM search and has already suggested "a couple" candidates. Miller told Buchanan the news Friday and Buchanan, who replaced the fired Rich Cho on May 23, handled it in stride."They'd like someone with more experience. I totally understand that," Buchanan said. "I wasn't shocked." 
In an unusual move, the Blazers deposed Cho just weeks before the 2011 NBA Draft, installing Buchanan and allowing him to run the draft night operations. It was an active night for Portland, who traded last year's starting point guard Andre Miller to the Denver Nuggets for next year's starting point guard, Raymond Felton, and selected Duke University guard Nolan Smith in the first round. Reserve guard Rudy Fernandez was moved to the Dallas Mavericks to facilitate the Felton deal as well.

Aside from those trades, the only headlines Buchanan made during his brief "Acting GM" reign came from comments about the NBA's canceled Las Vegas Summer League, which resulted in a reported threatened fine from the league office.

The baby-faced Buchanan is as well liked as executives get in the NBA but his background is as a scout and talent evaluator and not as a contract negotiator or salary cap expert. Portland's crowded front office includes Miller, Buchanan, two assistant GMs and director of pro scouting Mike Born. There's no shortage of opinions on players but the organization is in need of a salary cap expert and an experienced negotiator with connections around the league.

There are no known candidates for the position at this time, although Miller told CBSSports.com back in June that no former Blazers executives would be considered for the position.

With mercurial and moody owner Paul Allen, though, whoever takes the job will be on an exceedingly short leash and will be hopping into a fire of great expectations. The upshot is that Allen's pocketbook is seemingly always open, whether that's to finance free agent signings, buy draft picks or pay severance to middle managers who don't guide the Blazers out of the first round of the playoffs.
Posted on: July 13, 2011 4:32 pm
Edited on: July 14, 2011 12:41 pm
 

NBA threatens Blazers GM Buchanan with $1 M fine?

The NBA reportedly threatened Portland Trail Blazers Acting GM Chad Buchanan with a $1 million fine. Posted by Ben Golliver. lockout

The second the NBA lockout went into effect on July 1, the league took great care to make its players disappear. The NBA ordered mammoth fines if team executives made public reference to current players and, in a particularly petty move, scrubbed NBA.com of references to current players.

As of yet, no fines have been publicly announced for violating the league's lockout-induced gag order on team executives.

However, the Portland Tribune reports that at least one has been threatened with a $1 million hit for a seemingly innocuous comment.
The league office has prohibited the teams’ employees from commenting on players. Employees can talk about team issues, evidently, but not about players.

“There’s a line in the sand that the NBA has drawn for everybody, but nobody knows exactly where the line is,” one NBA team employee says. “Everybody is scared, not wanting to be the first to be hit with a fine.”

Witness a recent interview with Trail Blazers acting General Manager Chad Buchanan. When it was observed that it’s too bad there is no summer league scheduled, Buchanan replied, “Yeah.”

Shortly thereafter, the league threatened Buchanan with a $1 million fine, according to one source. 

Update: Buchanan went a little further than simply saying "yeah," telling The Oregonian in June that the cancellation of Summer League was "disappointing" and "not ideal." 

Clearly, that's ridiculous. It's also a little scary that the NBA league office is monitoring public comments that closely. But, hey, it's their perogative and their policy.

That policy faces a much more interesting test case thanks to Minnesota Timberwolves president David Kahn.

On Tuesday, the Timberwolves called a press conference to announce the firing of head coach Kurt Rambis. During the question-and-answer portion of the press conference, Kahn made reference to at least two current Timberwolves: center Brad Miller and guard Ricky Rubio.

Speaking about the youth of his team, Kahn said it was possible that even with the addition of the 35-year-old Miller, who was acquired in a draft day trade with the Houston Rockets, the Timberwolves could still have the youngest average age in the NBA. Kahn also briefly discussed Rubio in response to a question about what the Spanish point guard would do during the lockout.

To make matters worse, Kahn's comments were streamed live on video on the team's official website, NBA.com/Timberwolves. In other words, the NBA league office can't help but be aware of them. (An edited, condensed version of the press conference archived on the site leaves out the references to both Miller and Rubio.)

The NBA has reached its first pivotal fork in the road during this lockout period when it comes to this policy. Commissioner David Stern can either look the other way on a blatant violation of his very clear, oft-repeated and referenced  gag order policy or he can fine Kahn as his office has reportedly threatened to fine Buchanan. If the league chooses to fine Kahn, who was fined $50,000 last year for comments made about forward Michael Beasley, does it keep its word and go for the full million dollars? After posing in dictatorial fashion for the last two weeks, the NBA can't let the first obvious violator off easily, can it?
Posted on: June 16, 2011 9:45 pm
Edited on: June 16, 2011 11:29 pm
 

Blazers listening to Andre Miller trade offers

Portland Trail Blazers GM Chad Buchanan says the team is being "very aggressive' in pursuing trades and that point guard Andre Miller is drawing "a lot of interest." Posted by Ben Golliver. andre-miller

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The Portland Trail Blazers have gone through two GMs in 11 months and have endured too many knee injuries to count. In that time, there have only been a few constants. At the top of the list: point guard Andre Miller.

Miller has missed just one game since 2002-2003, a forced suspension that resulted when he body-checked Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin last December in retaliation for what he felt were two dirty plays in rebounding scrums.

Since arriving in Portland in the summer of 2009, Miller has moved into a starting role, averaging 12.7 points and a team-high 7.0 assists in 2010-2011 despite being 35 years old. 

His on-court consistency hasn't bought him any certainty this offseason. His $7.8 million contract for next season is fully non-guaranteed, meaning the Blazers can choose to waive him prior to June 30 without needing to pay off the balance of his deal.

Speaking from the team's Tualatin practice facility on Thursday, Blazers Acting GM Chad Buchanan said that while the team values Miller's play, it is keeping its options open.

"We've spoken with Andre a little bit," Buchanan said. "Obviously he's aware of what his contract situation is. He knows how we feel about him. We're going to see as we listen around the league. There's a lot of interest in Andre for various reasons. At the same time, we value him and realize what he's done for us the last two years.

"There's a lot of respect around the league for Andre. Both for what he's done for us in his entire career, people talk about his age but the guy hasn't missed a game in seven or eight years."

Teams could be interested in Miller for two reasons. First, as a steady veteran point guard (starting or back-up) who can still produce at a rate that makes the $7.8 million figure not look totally outrageous. Second, the non-guaranteed nature of his deal means that it functions an expiring contract to facilitate a draft day move. Trading for Miller could help a team match salaries or dump a contract on or around the draft day before waiving him prior to June 30, avoiding any future salary commitment.

Reading between the lines, the Blazers seem to be exploring their options and approaching Miller as their fall-back option at point guard.

"If Andre is back as our point guard next year we're very happy with that," Buchanan said. "Like any other player, if there's a chance to improve your team, you're going to listen to what offers are out here."

Miller was reportedly shopped at the February trade deadline but remained in Portland after the Blazers traded a package of smaller assets to acquire forward Gerald Wallace from the Charlotte Bobcats. Buchanan said that the team is being "very aggressive" in pursuing draft day deals and admitted that point guard is a position that needs to be addressed.

"The point guard and some depth in the frontcourt is going to be something that we have to address," Buchanan said. "Andre has been a rock for us but we realize where he's at, the stage of his career, we're going to have to address that position moving forward at some point. [Center] Marcus Camby is obviously at the tail end of his career as well. Those are kind of the two areas that we're looking to address, whether it's draft, through trade or free agency."

Buchanan, who stepped in as acting GM when former GM Rich Cho was abruptly fired by owner Paul Allen in May, seemed excited when he said that draft week trade talks are already underway.

"This time of year around the league, it's a lot of dialogue between teams," Buchanan said. "We've been very aggressive reaching out to teams and we've had a lot of calls. There's a lot of interest in some of our players as you can imagine. A lot of dialogue. As you get closer to the draft, there's a lot more serious talk. The offers get a little more concrete at that point. Up until now, it's a little more flirtation, you could call it, between teams. In the next four to five days things will pick up even more."

Conventional wisdom in Portland dictates that any trade involving Miller this summer will net a starting caliber point guard in return. Behind Miller, point guard isn't exactly a position of strength for Portland. Backup Patty Mills could become a restricted free agent this summer if Portland extends a qualifying offer to him. Otherwise, Portland's optinos are to play off guards Brandon Roy or Rudy Fernandez out of position or turn to two relatively untested guards coming off of their rookie season: Armon Johnson and Elliot Williams.
Posted on: June 15, 2011 6:09 pm
Edited on: June 15, 2011 6:27 pm
 

Agent: Greg Oden underwent 'interventions'

Bill Duffy, president of BDA Sports, says Portland Trail Blazers center Greg Oden has undergone "interventions" to help deal with the mental strain ofgreg-oden being injured. Posted by Ben Golliver.

Portland Trail Blazers center Greg Oden, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, has had trouble staying on the court, playing just 82 games in his four-year NBA career. Throughout the trials, which have involved multiple microfracture knee surgeries and a fractured patella, Oden has received support off the court.

Bill Duffy, president of BDA Sports, the agency that represents Oden, told Portland radio station 750 AM on Wednesday morning that the center has received professional help in dealing with the mental side of all the injuries. 

"Counseling, therapy, interventions, just to let him understand all the pressures, not to put too much pressure on himself," Duffy said. "Everybody needs that. Not just an athlete but someone to talk to and share your thoughts and your concerns and just get reassurance. If you do things the right way, stay patient, keep your eye on the prize, you'll be fine."

In 2009, Oden revealed to Yahoo! Sports that he had visited a sports psychologist, however there has been no previous talk of interventions publicly. 

Reached by telephone Wednesday, Portland Trail Blazers Acting GM Chad Buchanan, newly installed after Blazers owner Paul Allen fired previous GM Rich Cho in May, told CBSSports.com that he personally had not been a part of an intervention with Oden but refused to divulge any additional information.

"I'd rather not confirm or deny any of that," Buchanan said. "I was not involved with it. I couldn't tell you either way."  

In September 2010, The Oregonian reported that Oden had stopped drinking and going out to clubs. "My first year (2007) was probably my worst," Oden told the paper. "But after that, I definitely cut back. I never thought that I had a problem or anything. I actually stopped last season." 

Asked whether Oden's interventions were to express support for him or whether they were specifically related to drinking or substance abuse, Buchanan again refused to comment. 

"That's something I'd rather not comment on," Buchanan said. "Greg has been great for us and anything that took place along those lines is between Greg and his people. Greg has been awesome for us."

Oden is currently rehabilitating from microfracture surgery in November 2010. Microfracture surgery generally carries a 12 month recovery time period.

"You proceed with caution," Duffy told 750 AM. "We don't want to come back too soon. We're not going to even challenge it until we get to that 12 month threshold. If it were December or November or January we just can't afford any more slip ups. We'll wait until we get full clearance and then probably err on the side of caution, maybe a month or so after that."

Buchanan's timeline was slightly more optimistic -- sometime between October and December -- but he said the Blazers, who must issue a qualifying offer to Oden before June 30 to make him a restricted free agent, would work with Oden, his representatives and the medical experts to establish an appropriate timeline for his return.
 
"We'll work together collectively, Greg and the doctors and us," Buchanan said. "We're still a little ways out. It's hard to put a timeline on it other than what you can go by historically from a player recovering from a microfracture. We're going to be supportive of Greg making sure he feels 100% comfortable to get back on the court. We're going to rely on what both Greg and what the doctors tell us. We want to make sure that he's in the right mindset as well as the right physical condition to get him back on the court. We're going to wait until all the conditions are right for him to get out there and play again."
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: 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