Transcript: Olshey Addresses Media On Acquisition Of Maynor At Deadline
By sarahhecht Posted in: ericmaynor
Thursday afternoon, following the passing of the trade deadline, General Manager Neil Olshey met with the media to talk about Portland’s acquisition of point guard Eric Maynor from the Oklahoma City Thunder and the waiving of point guard Ronnie Price.
Check out the video below or read the full transcript of Olshey's session.
“We entered the season, when we took over, looking to build a model of sustainability and I think we’ve stayed true to that model while still adding an asset without giving away any of our future cap flexibility, so I think we’ve had a pretty successful trade deadline.”
How did the decision come down to lose Ronnie as part of the deal?
“Unfortunately it’s just a part of the system. We needed to create a roster spot and we just felt by bringing in a point guard like Eric, who’s gonna play significant minutes, that we needed to waive a point guard and unfortunately Ronnie was the likely candidate at this point.
“So, moving on to another subject just briefly, the players that are here, the 14 guys that remain, are all here for a reason. Suffice it to say, we’re not going to comment on any trade speculation about who may or may not have been involved in trade talks over the last couple of weeks. But this is the Portland Trail Blazer roster for the foreseeable future.”
What did you like about Eric?
“Eric is a guy we tracked during the draft, both myself at the Clippers and Portland, Bill Branch had him in Oklahoma City, so did David Vanterpool, and at one point he was probably considered the premier backup point guard in the NBA. He had a little bit of a setback with the injury, but he plays the kind of style we like to play, he’s a great guy to run our second unit while still being able to play with the starters. He plays with good pace, good tempo, he takes care of the basketball, he makes good decisions and we also think we can experiment a little bit with he and Damian on the floor at the same time.”
How hard is it to be patient around this time when you know you could make moves if you wanted to?
“I don’t know if it is that hard if you really believe in the vision that you have for the franchise. And to be honest with you, when you talk about impatient moves, any impatient move would’ve required us to move one of our core pieces which we were in no way ever going to do. So when you start looking at some of the more ancillary moves you can make, acquiring a guy like Eric, for the draft rights to a guy overseas is a pretty good result based on the needs that we’ve seen through the course of the season.”
Will you tender him a qualifying offer?
“I think that’s something we’ll discuss after we actually see him.”
Will he play in Los Angeles (on Friday)?
“No. We’re hoping Eric can arrive tomorrow morning. He’ll do his physical, he’ll meet with our doctors and we’re hoping he’ll be on the floor in time for practice on Saturday.”
What have you liked from him this season, post-surgery?
“Everything is situational. I don’t want to talk about Oklahoma City’s business, but that point guard they have there is pretty good and their backup was the steal of the draft two years ago. So, I think with Eric, I think the opportunity went away. They’ve clearly been successful, they have a great back court there and I think that it’s a great opportunity for Eric to find a new home. He’ll have an opportunity to play significant minutes here behind and with Damian and we hope that he’s the player that he was when he was helping Oklahoma City win playoff games.”
Is the knee a major concern for you?
“No. If it was we wouldn’t have done the deal. I know you guys all have knees on the brain here, but at the end of the day he had an injury, he rehabbed the injury, he’s back on the court. His playing time right now is in no way related to his knee injury, it’s related to the fact that they’ve got an All-Star point guard and the guy behind him, like I said, was probably one of the premier point guards in the draft, they took Reggie Jackson.”
Is the plan still to go for the playoffs this season?
“You know, we’ve talked about this from the beginning. Every single day we walk into this gym we’re trying to win every single game. It doesn’t change course. No matter how much everybody keeps waiting for there to be a shift in organizational vision, it doesn’t. Terry has done an outstanding job, the players are competing, we have guys that are playing hurt, they’re sacrificing their physical well being at times to help us win basketball games and that’s going to go on right through April and if we’re lucky enough to make the playoffs we’ll celebrate and if not, we’ll regroup and find a way to make them next year.”
We’re all traumatized by knees and major organizational changes, do you combat that publicly?
“I dunno, Kevin (Pritchard) was here for a long time. Kevin had a hell of a run, Nate had a hell of a run, I think there was a change last year. You’ve got a new GM and new coach, a new president, but all three of us share the same vision for the franchise and I think the positive aspect of it is that you do have a general manager that did hire the coach and you have a general manager and a coach that were on board when the president was hired and were a part of that process, so I think now we’ve got some consistency in terms of vision and organizational direction under the leadership of Paul (Allen.)
Are you bringing in Eric as a potential long-term backup point guard?
“I’d like to hope that. You don’t make moves just for 28 games. But clearly there’ s going to be an evaluation curve for us that we’re going to have to evaluate Eric, see how he fits in with our team, or style of play, our culture. I know he’s got goals and aspirations beyond just being a backup and we’ll see what kind of opportunities present itself. The positive part is that he is a restricted free agent, we have the ability to qualify him at the end of the year and at that point we’ll know more about our draft position, we’ll know where we are as a team and we’ll know how much cap flexibility we have.”
When was the deal made?
“It was made at about 11:30 this morning. Sam (Presti) and I had discussed a deal for probably the last week and half or two weeks just in the very nascent stages. Some of it was predicated on other things he was trying to accomplish, same thing with us. Like I said, we went into the trade deadline knowing we we’re going to affect our flexibility going forward, we didn’t want to convey any assets that could help us improve and accelerate this thing come draft time or in free agency and this is the best deal we could construct. We didn’t really give anything up, we’re sorry to lose Ronnie because he’s a great guy and he was a great leader for us, but at the end of the day Eric fits into our culture, he’s a great guy in the locker room and he’s a really good guy on the floor and like I said, I think he upgrades our talent base in terms of the point guard and back court positions.”
How much did Ronnie’s ankle weigh into the decision?
“I don’t think it really has as much to do with it. Ronnie’s a pro, he understood. We needed to waive a point guard and look, this organization invested a first round pick in Nolan Smith 18 months ago, 19 months ago and we’ve got an organizational responsibility to continue and try and develop Nolan and maximize the investment the organization made in him prior to my arriving.”
It was the Felton exception that landed this deal?
“Yeah, I think Joe Cronin gets a lot of credit for us having this player acquisition tool. A lot of the things we did last summer were a testament to Joe’s ability to manage the cap by creating exceptions. During that Jared Jeffries deal one of the things that kind of went unnoticed, other than the rights to Printezis and Papanikolaou and a future second and the acquisition of Jared, was that we did create a 2.4 million dollar trade exception and now you see the results. So this is basically the continuation of that deal and like I said, Joe’s ability to manage our cap, he gets a lot of the credit for that.
How much is Eric’s qualifying offer?
“Eric’s qualifying offer is 3.35 (million) and I don’t know the exact number of his cap hold, it’s a little bit over 5 million.