Portland's Summer Of Dual Purposes
Neil Olshey has accomplished quite a lot this offseason. He acquired a starting center in Robin Lopez and a young power forward in Thomas Robinson, all without giving up much of anything. He drafted CJ McCollum and Allen Crabbe who both possess a skill set, three-point shooting, that is required to run Terry Stotts' system. Then he went out and signed another shooter, Dorell Wright, to a free agent contract and another veteran, Earl Watson, in an attempt to shore up Portland's bench.
The primary goal of these moves are to make the Trail Blazers a better team in 2013-14. But Olshey is also a big believer in keeping players happy, which is one of the reasons why there have been significant upgrades made to both the locker room at the Rose Garden and the practice facility in Tualatin since he came on as Portland's general manager. It's also why has kept his players, particularly LaMarcus Aldridge, who was back in Portland for workouts last week, in the loop on all of the moves the Trail Blazers have made this offseason.
"I'm someone that keeps the players apprised of what we're doing, across the board," said Olshey. "LaMarcus and I have had a lot of conversations throughout the summer and it started the night before free agency, doing trades to get Robin Lopez and to get Tom Robinson and bolster our front court. He was pleased with that, we communicated that with one another."
And the last move of Olshey's offseason, signing veteran guard Mo Williams to a two-year contract, was also made with Aldridge in mind.
"Adding Mo was just another guy that can do the two things on the offensive side that LaMarcus excels at," said Olshey. "He can run pick-and-roll and he can feed the post and spot and space the floor."
The addition of Williams, along with the other moves made this offseason, undoubtedly makes the Trail Blazers a better team. So in that respect, Olshey has succeeded this offseason, and rather quickly at that. What isn't known, at least not yet, is if he's done enough to quell the concerns that Aldridge reportedly had/has with the makeup of Portland's roster. But according to Olshey, the signing of Williams helps.
"I think what was important for LaMarcus is we weren't 'rebuilding,' that we were rebuilding our talent base in terms of youth to get some talent on the roster and some asset value, but that we were willing to compete right away, too. And this is another signing that signals that."