Thursday, February 19, 2009

Kevin Pritchard: 'No trades'

General manager Kevin Pritchard addressed the media right after the NBA trade deadline expired to announce that the Trail Blazers wouldn't be making a move.

According to Pritchard, teams were asking for young players that the Trail Blazers weren't willing to give up. Simple as that.

Here are Pritchard's comments. Scroll below for the audio.

Pritchard: No trades. We made one yesterday that got us a trade exception, something we thought was a good thing for us. Bottom line is we looked at everything. This was a busy trade deadline. Tom, Mike, Chad, Nate, myself, we looked at every scenario. I can’t tell you how many scenarios we went through. But at the end of the day it came down to this: We believe in this team, and I don’t want to give up or give away any of our young players.

That’s why we were the centerpiece of some of these trades, because we have young good players and we think we can get into the playoffs. We’re going to go to war with this team, and we feel good where we are. That was the biggest decision factor in not doing because if you look down at our team from top to bottom, we’ve worked so hard to get them and we feel good about them that we didn’t want to do anything. That doesn’t prevent us from doing stuff in the summer and gives us some flexibility going into summer. It just puts it off a bit.

Q: Are you disappointed that noting happened?

Pritchard: I consider us dealmakers. We like doing that. What’s different now is we’ve made so many deals that brought good players and good people that now you’re talking about giving up those guys. And I don’t want to give up anybody. I believe in these guys. When you look at our team with Rudy and Batum and Brandon -- as special as he is -- and LaMarcus and Greg and Joel; I don’t want to give up on those guys. I think we can go a long way with what we have. Maybe we get criticized because we didn’t pull the trigger on Raef’s deal but what Raef’s deal does is allow us to let it expire and make a deal this summer.

Q: Are you surprised that you didn’t make a deal? Did you go in thinking you would?

Pritchard: It goes through ups and downs. One minute you think there’s going to be a deal and you really like it, then next thing you know it’s not there. It was both. It’s both. Though there were some deals and then we walked away.

Q: Did you come close?

Pritchard: I don’t know what close means. Did it get to where there were 30 conversations about one deal? Absolutely. But we like our team. Paul Allen last night at dinner I think summed it up best and that is, lets go to war with this team and see what they’re about. We can make adjustments in the future. What we could do is make a huge mistake in giving up on somebody too early.

Q: You just came out and talked to Nate. Was this a last minute thing?

Last 30 seconds. It was down to that on a couple of things.

Q: There was something on the table and it was your decision to pull the trigger?

Pritchard: It takes two to tango on any trades so it was both of us. Some of them came down to us saying no.

Q: You’ve used the word flexibility a lot. How would you describe the position you’re in entering this summer?

Pritchard: It gives us another 30 games to see what we got, see if this team can make it into the playoffs, see if they can still overachieve as they’ve done. We’re effectively the youngest team in the league and we have 33 wins at this time. It’s hard for me to say it’s logical to make a big change. You guys know – we talk about this all the time – how important our chemistry and our culture is. We’ve got a good one; I wasn’t going to take a chance on losing that. There were a couple of deals that we really questioned if we would lose our culture; what our identity is all about.

Q: So much of the buzzword surrounding this trade deadline was economics and saving money and all that. Did that ever enter in for you guys keeping Raef’s contract?

I mean, it’s a big decision factor for the rest of the league. The lucky thing we have is Mr. Allen. He’s a ‘go for it’ guy; he is willing to go for it. Right now is not the time to go for it. If economics get worse, that might be better for us.

Q: Are you surprised at the general inactivity across the league with this so much talk before the deadline?

Pritchard: What’s interesting is – not a lot of deals that I can tell, now maybe more come out that I’m not aware of – but what I can tell you is there was a ton of talking. This yea, it was active as can be. It was active for guys to get off contracts. Everybody wanted off contracts, so. And other than that, I don’t want to get into any specific of the deals.

Are you surprised there wasn’t more demand for Raef’s contract? Or was there a lot of interest in it?

Pritchard: I think there was a fair amount of demand on Raef’s contract. Nothing that we didn’t have to give up on something we believe in. And again, I want to reiterate this. This is the biggest point: We have a great culture with great kids and why tinker with it right now? I believe the big moves should be made in the offseason. Because when you make moves in the season, you add an element of risk that you can’t quantify.

Q: You look exhausted. Did you leave it all on the court in the last couple of days?

Pritchard: We all go after it as hard as we possibly can. Tom Penn Chad Buchanan, Mike Born. Nate and I were on the phone constantly. I betcha I had a 1,000 emails back and forth with Paul Allen n the last week. I think that’s our strength: that we really communicate well. We don’t agree on everything. We disagree on some things, but in the end, we felt this was the best thing.

Q: Over the summer and leading up to this trade deadline Nate has, I don’t want to say demanded, but has talked about wanting experience on this roster. Is that a shortfall of not making a deal here?

Pritchard: Could be, and I’ll take that responsibility of not adding that, if you want to call it, that veteran. But we felt like the big thing for us was, we have this group of guys that are growing together, and if I thought it was absolutely necessary to have that pure vet, then we probably would have gone and tried to get it. I think this team can grow up without that. I’ll take that responsibility of not bringing on a vet.

Download the podcast (4.5 MB)


Adam said...

Well, In KP we trust!

Blazer Fan Jan said...

I am SOOO glad that Kevin didn't make a trade. I think we have a great young team with talent, a lot of potential, and good chemistry. Why would we want to risk taking on a veteran that might mess up the chemistry and give up one or more of our players that we love. Excellent decision!

Dan Hickman said...

Good job, KP

If we could get VC or RJ for RLEC plus some of our young talent, imagine what we could do this summer when other owners are jonesing for $$$.

At this point in 2 years we'll be very, very happy that we kept who we kept.

beamer138 said...

I'll have to disagree here. Poor choice. In order to secure a good playoff seed, the team needed to trade for a proven veteran and they didn't. I think that VC would have been the best trade - they would have been giving up just RLEC and Frye. VC at the 3 would have taken us over the top especially if we got through the first round. They can't fully rely on BROY everytime a game is close, he'll burn out. It's too bad nothing was done. What do you all think??

Casey Holdahl said...

beamer: Do you think trading for Carter or Jefferson gets this team much closer to a championship? I don't. What's the point in improving our chances of just making the playoff this season if you hamstring your real aspiration, which is to win a ring.

VC is declining and owed a grip of $$$. Jefferson, as John Hollinger noted in a chat today, isn't really much better than Outlaw at this point. The opportunity costs of either of those trades simply where too great to make a move.

Anonymous said...

Huge mistake today. Nobody available this summer is as good as who was out there. Trading someone isn't giving up on them, its recognizing that the particular move (RJ or Wallace as I understand) would take out team to the next level now. Terrible choice to wait. Absolutely awful that we didn't move Raef's contract today. I'm so disappointed in everyone Prichard mentioned for not taking the opportunity to improve our team. Same problem Prichard has always had, wont give up talent to get it. Yes we would lose a good player to get RJ or Wallace, but the value of the player in return is much higher. You think Raef alone gets you Wallace?! WAKE UP! Awful.

BlazerKathy said...

Thank you, Kevin, for keeping this young team together for the bright future! I love this team and I worried all day that we'd lose someone that matters! No VC on this team, it would have been a disaster!!!! His ego's too big for this team that thinks of only the team! Hooray!

hg said...

I am glad we did not trade. there is no guarentee that it wasn't a mistake, but there was no guarentee that we would be that much better. Mix in different ingredients in the good mixture we have may ruin the taste.

As was said on Blazers Edge, if you trade apples for oranges at the end of the season you still have a bunch of fruits.

Win or lose. make the play-offs or not lets join with KP the staff and the players in support of a good cause.


Anonymous said...

I'm sooo glad the blazers didnt make a trade for a vet. I dont know what you guys think but I dont think were in contention for the finals this year and I dont see the point of adding a vet just to get a better playoff spot and lose a couple spots in the 2009 draft, which could be used to bring in someone in the offseason (if KP decides we need to). This young team is already exceeding many expectations and is one of the youngest teams in the league. I really think we have all the pieces in place to eventually win multiple championships and why ruin that to improve for just one year. Great choice KP! Now its time to sit back and watch this group improve.

Dan Hickman said...

It's amazing how we don't know the details of the trades offered by other teams, yet some here (and on another Blazer fan site) so harshly criticize KP for the decision to keep dancing with those who brought us here.

The fact is that KP's dealings have brought us to where we're at (how quickly we forget what happened just two years ago). The very fact that we were all anticipating something huge shows that we trust KP to do the best for us. So why would you question him now?

Any investor will tell you (or should) that the longer the perspective of the investment, the wiser the decision you're likely to make. That's what KP is doing. He's not following something shiny that will last a year or two. He's looking at a long term dynasty of players who have bought into the Blazers organization and will want to remain faithful to Portland because Portland has been faithful to them and given them a shot.

As a guy who's tried to help young men in the past, I can tell you that few things are as empowering as a young man being told that his people believe in him and trust him that he has what it takes to succeed. That's what KP and the Blazers organization did today. And I believe in them.

andrew said...

I have to agree with KP on this. I think trading right now would have been a mistake. We haven't even seen how this team will perform in the playoffs yet (assuming we get there of course). Lets give this team a chance to grow together. If need be we make a move in the offseason. Good move KP.

Kap said...

I agree with KP and the majority of Blazernation. Don't fix it if it ain't broke. Now that we're finally reaping the benefits of our patience in the development of our team, it's foolish to think of screwing that up. Take a look at all the progress the team has made -- we're fourth in the West!

Give this team a chance to prove itself before criticizing it. I am foursquare behind BRoy and the gang. I don't want any roster changes now. We deserve a chance; THEY deserve a chance.


Stephen said...

They made the right choice. It's not that making a trade for a good player would be bad, but that it would be bad right now, mid-season. People keep forgetting that this is a team with a winning record, who would be in the playoffs if they started today. How stupid would it be to throw even a proven player into the mix. Remember Dallas with Jason Kid last year? There's nothing wrong with Kid, or Shaq. Those guys are superstar players, but when they threw them into teams mid-season, both those teams, which were absolutely championship contenders beforehand went down in flames. It takes time for a team to learn to play together. I would go as far as saying; adding a new player now would have ended the Blazers playoff hopes. A positive example would be the Lakers getting Gasol, but they were without a center, and his style complimented their team, besides they have Kobe, and they only had to give up Kwame Brown, who was not an impact guy on their team, and future draft picks, which also had no effect on their current team. Trading Travis Outlaw, mid season, who has a big impact on the blazers is totally different. We have Raef's contract, but that would not be enough to get someone better than who we have.

Everybody's all worked up because the team has looked shaky lately, but that is due to injuries more than anything. Blake is back, but now Oden is hurt. Before Blake, Roy was hurt, and Joel broke his hand. Through all this they've still been winning. Just wait until these guys are all healthy at the same time.

There will be plenty of good players available in the off-season. Then if we still think we need to add some missing piece, there will be time to do it right, and get them into the system before actual games count.

There's also the idea that if the team makes the playoffs this year, and makes a good showing, do we still need a veteran player, or do we now have a group with playoff experience? Then do we look to the draft to find the forward that everyone seems to think we need?

I believe these guys can do something in the playoffs, and I'm glad this distraction is out of the way.

hg said...


fantastic post;

I agree wholeheartedly, except this summer if Channing Frye wants to be traded to get more playing time, I think I would trade him. Everything else looks good to me. They are winning even with injuries. That is team work. That is hard to beat.


Paintslinger57 said...

We are a Playoff team right now there is no one we can add without giving up talent that will make us a championship contender. with cap space this summer we can pick up a vet or a young defensive stopper that we need a nice fit could be either Trevor Ariza to give us that lock down defender or Lamar Odem who the blazers will more than likely not be able to resign both.

Brent said...

Vince Carter has like 4 or 5 quality years left,he is not worth it... and I heard that Rudy was in the talks with the Nets.. that's not cool. KP did a great job not bringing his contract to Portland, and maybe now we can get a younger, better player like Bosh in the off-season.

Andrew said...

Im kinda glad we didn't do anything huge. I think alot of you are mislead if you think we could have got Carter or Wallace for RLEC. Maybe Jefferson but not the others.
I just think that if we aren't trying to make a push for a title this year and if Jared Bayless was untouchable during trade talks then why isn't he playing now that Blakes back. I mean you would think that he is more Nates style with the defense. I just don't think he will learn sitting on the bench and if we are still using this year to develop young talent than let him play.
Sergio has been here for quite a while now and hasn't show any signs that he can be a starting point guard for a serious contender. I mean what was holding him back last year or the year before we haven't had a solid point in here since Damon and now we have Blake but in between their was time for Sergio to show something and I just don't think he has.
I think a lot of people are worried about another Jermaine Oneal situation but why, Oneal never won a title. He was and all star in the east during a time when there was no big men.none. And Jermaine had plenty of chances here in Portland and never did anything. I think also players excel when put in a new environment because they don't feel limited