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Around The World: July 10

  1. Written by: DHawes22

    July 10 Video: July 9 Trail Blazers Courtside Video: Rookie Fan Chats Video: Lillard, Leonard, Barton Press Conference

    Trail Blazers: D. Aldridge: Batum's First Choice Is Minnesota
    "I’m a restricted free agent,” Batum said. “I know the situation. Anywhere I sign, the Blazers are going to match. But my first choice was, and is, Minnesota. That’s where I want to play and that’s where I want to put my family. I’ve got nothing against the fans (in Portland) and nothing against the city. But this is a basketball decision and basketball wise, I want to be there. Last year, they impressed everybody, and that’s what I respect. To have a great young point guard like (Ricky) Rubio, and a great coach like (Rick) Adelman, I really liked that project. And I think they think I’m the missing piece at small forward. That’s what they told me."

    Trail Blazers: HoopsHype Asks Batum: 'Are You Going to Be Upset If You Have To Go Back To Portland?'
    "I just want to be a leader. A very good player and that's why I'm working every day since I was born. I don't want to just. be in the NBA. I want to have success as a player, but also with my team. I want to be a special player."

    NBA-David Aldridge: Batum Eager To Play For Wolves
    “When I talked with Adelman last week, I felt like he wants me, will play me the way I ask to play,” Batum said. “Last year was tough for all of us and I think I need a new start. I think I need something else. Again, it’s nothing against the city or the fans (in Portland).”

    Trail Blazers: Trail Blazers make it better for Portland Children's Museum
    "The Trail Blazers, our team and staff have been longtime fans and visitors of the Portland Children's Museum," said Traci Rose, Trail Blazers Vice President of Community Relations. "The Museum touches the lives of more than 300,000 children and their families each year, providing them with unique and exciting opportunities to learn and play. The Outdoor Adventure area will spill that excitement outside, giving kids the chance to explore the beautiful natural landscape Washington Park has to offer."

    Trail Blazers: Larry Miller Steps Down
    “I greatly enjoyed my time with the Portland Trail Blazers,” said Larry Miller. “It was an incredible experience and I’ll be forever grateful to Paul Allen for giving me the opportunity and honor to lead what I believe to be one of the best teams in all of sports.”

    Trail Blazers: Rip City Welcomes New Rookies Lillard, Leonard And Barton
    “For those of you who didn’t get a chance to see a lot of his games, I compare him a lot to my former point guard Chauncey Billups,” Olshey said. “He’s got a real quiet presence, he’s got a command presence, guys respect him. He’s got an incredible work ethic, he’s a leader, he’s an elite shooter, he makes great decisions with the ball. He’s the kind of point guard players love to with because he’s a team first guy not a me first guy and all those things are why we were so excited he was available at the sixth pick.”

    Trail Blazers: Ford: Trail Blazers Could Be A 'Real Option' For RFA Robin Lopez
    "Lopez doesn't have nearly the same reputation as his brother Brook, but he can be a force defensively and had a very solid 15.25 PER last season. For all the teams that missed out on the big fish in free agency, he might be a nice consolation prize. With the right offer, the tight-fisted Suns might not match. The Blazers could be a real option here."

    Oregon Live Damian Lillard ready to work to live up to 'franchise point guard' label for Blazers
    "I'm not cocky at all, but I'm extremely confident," he said. "I come from a city that, that's what we breed. ... I'm just fearless. I don't fear the fact that I won't live up to what people think I will be because I work hard enough and I've got confidence in myself that I know I'll be a good player. So I'm embracing it, I'm ready for it, and I can't wait to get started."

    Oregon Live: Trail Blazers' free agency Plan A fizzles as Pacers move to retain Roy Hibbert
    "If another opportunity like that comes up, we are totally prepared from a financial standpoint and (with) cap flexibility to be really aggressive in the market," Olshey said. "I don't see it right now. I don't see the guys who fit the criteria we are looking for: the same age range as our core players, All-Star caliber player, a guy who can move the needle immediately in terms of wins and losses."

    Oregon Live: Trail Blazers' search for head coach to begin at Las Vegas Summer League
    "Although Olshey did not offer names, if he goes the route of choosing an assistant, he is expected to consider Indiana's Brian Shaw, Golden State's Michael Malone, Miami's David Fizdale, Oklahoma City's Rex Kalamian, San Antonio's Mike Budenholzer and Memphis' Dave Joerger. Blazers assistant Kaleb Canales, who went 8-15 as interim coach last season after Nate McMillan was fired, is also expected to be a candidate. Canales will coach the Blazers' Summer League entrant, with help from Dan Dickau and Hersey Hawkins."

    Oregon Live: NBA High-5: Run at Roy Hibbert was worthwhile gamble for Blazers
    "Restricted free agency is a nightmare," Blazers general manager Neil Olshey said yesterday. "It’s tough on the player because of the uncertainty, it’s tough on the organization because of the uncertainty."

    Columbian: Blazers notes: Pacers likely to keep Hibbert
    "It doesn't go very deep, strategically," said Olshey when asked about his back-up plans for free agency. "I interviewed on this platform, to go after one major guy, a big-time piece, and we put all our chips in trying to get him."

    Columbian: Blazers rookies ready to get to work
    "I want to learn, I'm gonna be a sponge," the Illinois product said. "I want to learn from a guy like LaMarcus Aldridge and develop my over all game."

    CSNNW: Kurt Thomas Uncertain About Future With Blazers
    “I thought I was coming to a playoff team last year, but things happen like that in the NBA,” Thomas said. “I'm a professional and whatever I'm asked to do, I'll do it. We still have some good pieces and some good new rookies. As far as my status with the team, I don't know. I let my agent handle that, but I'm happy where I'm at,” Thomas said."

    Rip City Project: The End Of Another Era In Portland
    "Miller was hired in 2007 to replace out-going President and General Manager Steve Patterson, who was at the helm during one of the Blazers’ least successful runs as a franchise. Miller’s tenure will be most likely remembered for things like injuries to Greg Oden and Brandon Roy, the unexpected and earth-shattering firings of Tom Penn and Kevin Pritchard, and the short-lived Rich Cho era. Miller will also be remembered for not saying a whole lot in press conferences."

    Blazersedge: Transcript: Blazers GM Neil Olshey On Larry Miller, Coaching Search
    "How about I worry about doing this job before I worry about getting another job? You've got to be kidding me. I was an English major. I can't even do an excel sheet. I have no idea what presidents do. I just find players."

    Blazersedge: Transcript: Brandon Roy Talks Blazers, Timberwolves, Comeback With Dave Mahler On KJR 950 AM
    "With the amnesty rule I'm not allowed to go back to Portland until 2014-15. It was just never an option. If it was, of course I would be back in Portland... Going into the process, I knew right away I wouldn't be able to play back there."

    Ball Don't Lie: Brandon Roy expects to start, play at a high level
    "The Blazers didn't always seem to agree with that role for Roy. And that's why it's somewhat troubling that Adelman and Roy don't seem to have worked out a plan for his minutes or role in Minnesota. If Roy isn't able to play at the high level he expects to, then it stands to reason that Adelman will give him a smaller role, no matter how badly the Wolves need help at shooting guard. But if Roy still thinks of himself as a star — and there's really nothing in his comments that gives the impression he doesn't think that — then even a warranted drop in minutes might create an uneasy relationship between player and coach."

    Ball Don't Lie: Knicks bring back Marcus Camby, re-sign J.R. Smith, renew pledge to be overpriced also-ran
    "At first blush, giving up what amounts to five players and something like $16 million total seems like a really steep price to pay for a 38-year-old who's played 16 years in the league and has nearly 31,000 combined minutes on those long legs. But considering that neither the outgoing players nor the '14 and '15 second-rounders figured to make much of an impact on the Knicks over the next three years and Camby only has a partial guarantee for the third year of his contract, this amounts to New York paying $5 million per year for the next two years for a capable defensive backup at the five, which was an important hole for the Knicks to fill."

    Ball Don't Lie: The Knicks sign Steve Novak for four years, which is a risk
    "Specialists are valuable, and if Novak even comes close to matching his numbers from last season then he'll be worth this contract. But, in many ways, Novak was an even more surprisingly effective player last season than Lin, because he'd at least been given a shot at regular NBA playing time and proven very little. It's entirely possible that Novak's few months of hot shooting were a mirage. If they were, and he regresses to his previous norm, then the Knicks will have a fairly useless player on their roster for four years."

    Ball Don't Lie: Kevin Love is tired of Minnesota, for good and bad reasons
    "My patience is not high," Love said. "Would yours be, especially when I'm a big proponent of greatness surrounding itself with greatness? All these [Team USA] guys seem to have great players around them. It's tough seeing all these guys that are young and older who have all played in the playoffs. When they start talking about that, I have nothing to talk about. If I don't make the playoffs next year I don't know what will happen."

    Ball Don't Lie: Roy Hibbert’s max contract offer will be matched by the Indiana Pacers, which makes complete and total sense
    "What also intrigues me is the potential for Hibbert as a passer, picking off teammates and helping a Pacer offense that sometimes struggles to find easy shots despite its seventh overall offensive ranking. It's true that former coach Jim O'Brien underutilized Hibbert, though to be fair Hibbert was still developing and earning his minutes under Obie's tenure. What the ex-Pacer coach did do was smartly try and establish Roy as a high post passer, so much that he actually put together a 13.5 percent assist rate during his second season — meaning that 13 percent of the possessions he used up ended in an assist for Roy. That's a fantastic mark for a center, though it has dipped over the last two seasons."

    Ball Don't Lie: Boston’s continued fascination with Jeff Green leaves us confused
    "Green, for a start. Because of a frightening heart ailment that knocked out his entire 2011-12 campaign and somewhat due to the pell-mell nature of his minutes allotment during his short 2010-11 tenure with the C's, we haven't really seen Jeff Green play consistent minutes in 17 months or so. Of course, what we have seen in the seasons prior is no great guns — Green spent most of his time in OKC playing at power forward, but his rebounding percentages are lacking even for a small forward. And as a small forward, Green's ball handling and long-distance shooting leaves a lot to be desired."

    DIME via Pro Basketball Talk: DeMarcus Cousins Doesn’t Agree With Jerry Colangelo Calling Him “Immature”
    “‘I actually just had a conversation with (Colangelo),’ Cousins revealed after Monday’s scrimmage between the Select Team and members of the recently named U.S. Olympic squad. ‘I asked him, ‘How was I being immature?’ He never really gave me an answer. I mean, I really wanted to know. I took offense to it. … It definitely bothered me.’”

    DIME: Ranking The Other 11 Olympic Teams’ Potential Of An American Upset
    "It’s the first time sine 1948 the Brits are fielding a team, which is just as sad as when Greece threw together a baseball team in 2000 out of castoff college players and Kevin Youkilis. This team is statistically worse than Sri Lanka, Macedonia and the Virgin Islands. A Virgin Islands team without Tim Duncan. Ben Gordon and Byron Mullens said “eh, no thanks” to his own nation in its own Olympics, and if you can think of a less patriotic thing to do — especially when there’s not exactly a line of NBA players waiting to play behind you like the U.S. — I’d like to hear it. We apologize in advance for Luol Deng, who’s going to look bad as the Empire’s only NBA player."

    DIME: Report: Blake Griffin Formally Agrees To Sign Max Contract For 5 Years, $95 Million
    "The next question for Clippers is Chris Paul, who will be “exploring his options” next year when he’s a free agent. Some have speculated that this is merely a tactic to secure more money through Larry Bird rights next year, while others have hinted that Paul’s time in Los Angeles may just end at two years. Either way, the Clippers will do everything possible to keep him in uniform with Blake for years to come."

    DIME: Report: Tim Duncan Will Get A Three-Year Deal From San Antonio
    "The specifics, according to Johnny Ludden, are three years and $36 million for one of the greatest forwards in basketball history. Duncan, 36, helped lead San Antonio to the top seed in the West last year with averages of 15.4 points and 9.0 rebounds per game, against his averages of 20.3 points and 11.3 boards per game."

    Sports Illustrated: Knicks’ offseason moves raise more questions than answers … for now
    "That’s the puzzling thing about this team, especially without Shumpert: The Knicks look bad, defensively, on paper. But they looked just as bad last season, with minus defenders (Carmelo Anthony and Stoudemire) at both forward spots, a bunch of guys splitting time at shooting guard and an untested second-year player in Lin manning the point. Despite all of that, New York ranked fifth in points allowed per possession and spent the entire season as one of the league’s stingiest defenses. Chandler was at the heart of that, talking to everyone and sliding all over the place to plug holes before they fully opened. The Defensive Player of the Year was so good that the Knicks managed to allow points only at a league-average rate even with Anthony and Stoudemire on the floor together."

    Sports Illustrated: Report: Wizards with “renewed consideration” for amnesty on Andray Blatche
    "The prospect of trading Blatche, while daunting, doesn’t figure to be impossible, especially for the Wizards, who, in June, managed to get the New Orleans Hornets to take on Rashard Lewis as he entered the final year of his $118 million, six-year contract. Lewis had a $13.7 million buyout provision, which the Hornets took advantage of less than two weeks after acquiring him."

    Sports Illustrated: T'wolves reportedly agree to terms with Shved
    "Shved can play both point guard and shooting guard. He comes to a team with a healthy international roster that includes Ricky Rubio, J.J. Barea and Nikola Pekovic."

    ESPN: Source: Lou Williams, Hawks agree
    "He's a guy we're really looking to come in here and put the ball in the basket," Drew said. "I mean, that's what he does. He's one of the best I've seen in quite some time as far as shooting the basketball."

    ESPN: How Steve Nash became a Laker
    "I was really close at times to being a Raptor or Knick," Nash said over the weekend. "Really close. I've always wanted to play for the Knicks, and to go home to Toronto was a dream opportunity in a lot of different ways. But I wanted to exhaust every opportunity to be near the kids before I really made a decision. Being in L.A. would mean I can see the kids three or four times a month instead of three or four times a year. Now, after practice or an off day, I can fly home, pick 'em up from school, take 'em to the park, feed 'em and be back home for bedtime. That's priceless to me. That was the most important thing. No matter how disappointed some Suns fans would be, nothing could compete with the disappointment of telling my kids I'd only see them a few times throughout the winter. That trumps everything."

    ESPN: Magic look for Dwight Howard bids
    "Sources say that new Magic general manager Rob Hennigan might feel more comfortable taking back a package of youngsters, recent draftees and future first-round draft picks -- while shedding some long-term salary as well -- than taking on Bynum as Howard's replacement and facing a similar challenge on convincing him to commit to the franchise long-term like the Magic have dealt with for months with Howard."


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