Video/Transcript: Mo Williams Introduced
On Thursday at the Rose Garden, Trail Blazers general manager Neil Olshey and veteran guard Mo Williams took questions from the media regarding the signing of Williams to a two-year free agent contract. You can watch the video above and/or read the partial transcript below.
Neil Olshey's opening statement
"It's a really big day for us. The signing of Mo concludes what we think was a very productive and effective offseason in terms of building what we're trying to build here. I want to thank Mo's agent, Mark Bartelstein. The diligence and the commitment he showed to Mo to make sure he put him in a good situation, the number of hours he and I spent on the phones going over roster composition and rotations and fit for Mo just showed just how much he cared about Mo and his clients and making sure they're in the right situations."
"Mo and I go way back. Our relationship actually predates either of us being in the NBA, so we're clearly very comfortable with each other. There's definitely a level of trust and I think he's happy to be here and we're thrilled to have him. He brings a skill set that I think takes us to the next level, it pushes us into another threshold. His ability to score, his ability to facilitate and his ability to lead are key elements in what we're trying to build here and he's going to be an integral part going forward."
Mo Williams on joining the Trail Blazers
"I'm very excited. You go into this free agency and, in a perfect world, July 1st you want to be done. You want to have a team, you want to be done. But you really respect everything a GM and an agent has to go through to perform and get players where they should be and where they can perform their best. That's one thing I want to say for my agent and also Neil and Terry, those guys played integral parts in bringing this thing to life."
"I like everything that Neil is doing here I saw from a far last year. When we talked he was really passionate about making the playoffs and he knows the type of player and person, first and foremost, that I am that winning is really important to me. That's why my decision took a long time because I wanted to make sure I was in a position to win. That's what I see here. That's why I came here because I feel like that I can be a piece of the puzzle for this organization, for these young guys. You looking at LA -- he's not a young guy -- I know he wants to win. I know these other guys on the team want to win. There's nothing like winning."
Williams on once again playing for head coach Terry Stotts
"To be in a position to full-circle around to play for Terry again, which I had tremendous success playing for him the first time at a young age, and is only going to be better with experience. I don't think the way I played with him in Milwaukee will be different because when I played for him in Milwaukee it was in a sixth man role. The season I played for Terry was the year that TJ Ford came back and he was the starting point guard so this is familiar territory with me and Terry. To be honest with you, it's familiar territory between me and Neil because when he brought me to the Clippers I was in this role. That's one of the reasons that I was really comfortable with coming here because we all know how the situation will pan out."
Williams on how he views this point of his career
"I just want to win. I had opportunities to go start, that's the funny thing about the situation I'm in. I had a situation to go start but I felt like this organization is on the rise. I felt like I'm in a position in my career where I still can be a major piece to a puzzle for a team. I didn't want to wait until I was 36, 37 years old and start a reserve role where I just give leadership at that time. At this point, I still can be very, very valuable to a team. You can look at me as a sixth starter or sorts. This league, you play a lot of games."
"I'm going into my 11th year in my career, so I am who I am. The player you saw last year, the player you saw the year before. I mean, I'm not going to diminish; I'm only going to get better. The player that you know I am, the player that you think I am or have seen, that's who I am. I'm not coming to be nobody different, I'm not coming here to say I'm going to turn into LeBron James overnight, but I'm going to be Mo Williams and I'm going to give this team what I can … I'm not going to be the savior. I'm not saying that by any stretch of the imagination, but I'm a piece. I'm a piece and I'm a valuable piece and that's what I'm going to bring to this team each and every day."
Olshey on composition of the roster
"... I think right now we've got 15 guys, everybody was brought here for a purpose, we've built our roster without jeopardizing any long-term flexibility, we can compete today. I think we've done a pretty good job of building our asset pool with younger players that have value around the league, that have a chance to grow with the organization. And we also have a nice mix of veterans, guys like Dorell (Wright) and Mo, guys like Earl Watson that are natural leaders. I think LaMarcus is going to take a big step forward in terms of leadership. He's really excited about this signing as well. I think we're done and I think now we get to the fun part which is guys coming back, getting into Portland, getting into the gym, working out, kind of seeing how it's all going to work."
Olshey on having depth at the guard positions
"Mo and I have been through this model before. Guards win games. At the end of the day you need depth. Not everybody survives 82 games, not everybody can play every night. We had a model like this in L.A. Everybody thought it was too much when we had Chris Paul and Chauncey and Mo and Eric Bledsoe and Randy Foye and we were in the second round of the playoffs and we just came at people, we had a lot of firepower, we were hard to guard, everybody on our perimeter could dribble, pass and shoot. We opened the floor up and I think that's the way the game is going and I think Mo's ability, his versatility to play multiple positions, I think that's one of the things that's unique right now is Mo can play on or off the ball. So can Dame, so can CJ. We've got a veteran like Earl that can come in that's a lock-down defender. We are really a threat on the perimeter to run multiple pick-and-rolls and play a way that's much more conducive to Terry's style, which is playing in flow, taking early shots, running random pick-and-rolls and not having to rely on structure and sets every time down the floor."