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?
Pritchard: 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?
Pritchard: 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.
Q: 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.
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