Quick Talks GM, Head Coach and Free Agency On Courtside
The Oregonian's Jason Quick
joined this week's edition of Trail Blazers Courtside, which you can watch above or over on trailblazers.tv
, to discuss many of the important topic pertaining to the 2012 offseason in Portland. He has some very interesting things to say about the search for both a new general manager and coach, as well as free agency and reports that team owner Paul Allen is considering selling the team. I transcribed a lot of the finer points, which you can read below, though I would encourage you to watch the full show nevertheless.
On the general manager search:
"This is an exciting time. Even as Larry (Miller) is out on the road looking for who the new GM is going to be, that's some fun stuff because the GM is really going to help shape what is going on here because he's going to choose the coach… He's going to be the one who make the calls on free agency and trades and the draft. But that's the first thing that needs to happen… Larry is being a little more definitive that they're really targeting that draft date now (to hire a new GM), whereas before, it was kind of an open-ended timeline. I think now they realize they want somebody in there by the draft, because I think they're going to find that those two picks, hopefully for them if they get two picks, will garner a lot of interest from other teams, and that can really snowball into something."
On the coaching search and how it pertains to the general manager interviews:
"My sense is that during these (general manager) interviews, they're asking the candidates 'What are some of your ideas for coaches' seeing if that would be a feasible thing to do… From everything I'm hearing, the Blazers are going to go after not a Phil Jackson or a Jerry Sloan proven type, that they're looking for that they're looking for that No. 2 guy to come in."
Regarding current Warriors assistant coach Mike Malone:
"Mike Malone in the survey of GM's (on the top assistant coach) and he was a landslide winner, almost 30 percent of the GM's… He's already interviewed for Charlotte, he's expected to get interviews in Washington. I think if Orlando ends up parting ways with Stan Van Gundy, Dwight Howard has been very vocal that 'I like Mike Malone.' He's been around. His dad has been in the NBA, he's been an NBA assistant for 10 years, he was a finalist last year in Golden State. They ended up giving Mark Jackson the job and gave him kind of the lead assistant under that. I think he's a very smart hire."
On the attractiveness of Portland's head coaching position:
"You look at all these other job openings: Charlotte, Washington. You're going to go there and take a beating. Portland, you're not. You're going to win. You have a chance to win, especially with the flexibility they have this summer with free agency, draft picks. And you already have a pretty decent core here with LaMarcus, Nicolas, Wesley. That's not a bad situation for a first time coach, rather than going into a Charlotte or a Washington. There is some allure here."
On whether Pacers GM David Morway, who has reportedly interviewed for Portland's GM position, has swapped stories about Paul Allen with former Trail Blazer GM Kevin Pritchard, who now works for the Pacers:
"Still, Kevin to this day really doesn't have anything bad to say about Paul, and that's even talking to me off the record, just as guys. He really thought Paul was a good owner and gave him a lot of leeway. In talking to David Morway, he has had that conversation with Kevin about working here. He gave no indications that there were any negatives involved. I think he has a pretty good sense of what this working environment would be."
On rumors that Paul Allen is considering selling the team, and his recent use of Twitter to rebut said rumors:
"First, it's nice to hear Paul be engaged and talk to us. By whichever means he chooses it's at least nice to hear that… As far as him selling the team, I don't know how many times, how many more times, how many different ways he can say it. It doesn't sound to me like he's interested in selling…"
"My read on the situation is this group that is out there is trying to gauge the interest of the fans. Do you want a new owner, or are you interested in new ownership? Would you get behind new ownership? My response to that is: be careful what you wish for. Yeah, it's easy to bang on Paul. He's a little eccentric, he's done some knee-jerk decisions, made some knee-jerk decisions, but he's been a great owner. He's done a lot of things to keep Portland relevant in the NBA circles, and I think we would find out under new ownership how quickly we're a small market team. We'd find out real quickly that 'Oh boy, we're a small market team. We've got to do thing different.'"
On the organization's reputation:
"It's even the little things. This is a first-class organization, the way it's run. Just the little things, the weight room, the training room. Those things we've come to take for granted. What happens is those little things become big things when you're talking about free agency, hiring a head coach, hiring a GM. That's the first thing you hear every time a coach or a GM or a player is brought here, they talk about the reputation of this being a first-class organization, and it costs money to be a first-class organization, and Paul has done that. I don't see him waining in that, and if you talk to Chad Buchanan and Larry Miller, he is as engaged now with the draft, player personnel, the free agent market as he's ever been. Fifty text messages, emails. He still cares and is still really into this team. That doesn't, to me, sound like a guy who is looking to sell."