Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Press Clippings: August 19

You want proof that NBA news is light these days? How about this: of the ten headlines on the NBA page, three pertain to legal issues (Nate Robinson not having a license, Carmelo Anthony suing his business manager and a judge ruling on the Atlanta Hawks ownership) of minimal importance. Lebron better not get any parking tickets between now and training camp, lest he wants the world to know about it.

Hopefully the following links will provide a bit more interest to you, the faithful Trail Blazers fan.

Courtside Podcast

Trail Blazers Courtside, YOUR weekly source for all things Trail Blazers and the NBA, aired on Monday, and the podcast of that show is available. Rice's opening salvo about Greg Oden comes out of nowhere, which is par for the course. The Courtside Crew are taking the next three weeks off, so this hour-long show will have to be your fix until then.

Terry Porter

It was nice to spend some time with No. 30 at the event in Longview on Monday. You don't often get to ride in the same bus with a legend. Two legends really, Jerome Kersey was in attendance as well. Three if you count The Schonz, which you should. And the Blazers wouldn't even exist if it wasn't for Harry Glickman, so I guess that makes four legends. One bus, four legends.

But back to Terry Porter. A few of the local journos had a chance to catch up with TP at the event.

Jason Quick of The Oregonian:
There are still questions that are unanswered in Terry Porter's mind these days.

He wonders why both times he became an NBA head coach, he was fired early into his contract, including last February, when the Phoenix Suns let him go just four months into his first season with a 28-23 record.

He doesn't understand how he could prepare so diligently, work so hard and care so much about his team and job, only to be told he is no longer wanted.

The same thing happened in Milwaukee, when he led the Bucks to the playoffs in his first season (2003-2004), but was fired the next season after injuries marred a 30-52 season.

"It's a tough pill to swallow," Porter said. "My whole career has been about working hard and you will have success. The coaching thing hasn't worked out that way, and so there have been a lot of questions in my mind as far as the whole coaching thing."
Regardless of what you think of TP as a coach, it's impossible to argue he's been treated fairly while wielding the clipboard. He deserves better.

Dwight Jaynes of
The Suns still owe him quite a bit of money, there’s no sense of urgency on getting back into any kind of coaching grind and I think, with a daughter just a year away from graduating high school and considering some very exclusive colleges, it’s a great time for dad to be around a little more.

It speaks so much to the impact this city makes on NBA players that a guy like Porter, who has played or coached in places like Miami, San Antonio, Milwaukee and Phoenix would choose this as the place he wants to live.

And our town will be better for all the Terry Porters we can add to the wealth of good people in our area. He is first class all the way.
Amen to that.

Egregious Errors

Joel Brigham of HoopsWorld has been taking a beating in the comments section of his "Top 5 Shooting Guards" post. The reason? He neglected to include Brandon Roy in his Top 5. Turns out it was a simple oversight.
(Author's Note: Brandon Roy was originally left off this list because I was, for some reason, viewing him as a point guard. Were I doing this over, he'd absolutely be ranked #3, followed by Johnson and Ginobili, which would push Ray Allen to the top of the Honorable Mention category).
Everybody makes mistakes.

Travis And Twitter

Seems to be a minor kerfuffle this morning about this comment Travis Outlaw posted last night on Twitter:
Workin out hard so I'll be gettin' paid like out of this world
Seems benign to be, but this time of year anything is a story.

Ben Golliver of
It's difficult to see, in the ultra-competitive environment that is the Blazers' rotation, exactly how Outlaw will find a yellow brick road to gettin' paid. Indeed, as we discussed this past weekend, he seems to be a likely candidate to see less, not more, minutes this season. I wouldn't be surprised at all if he saw less shots as well. For Outlaw, Minutes + Shots = Dollars. This equation is heading the wrong direction for Trout. You might say he's swimming upstream (my bad, indulge me).

Earlier this summer, Greg Oden made a similar "Contract Year" declaration, which was particularly grating and ill-advised given his performance relative to expectations up to this point and the absolute certainty that the Blazers will pick up his team option for 2010-2011 even if he were to play 0 games this season.

But with Travis's tweet, and the stark(ville) honesty that goes with it, we're looking at a totally different dynamic: this is less about Oden's faux-bravado and faux-self motivation and more about a player looking to make the most of a career at the crossroads. Because if Outlaw is, in fact, looking for big money next summer, Portland is not a likely final destination.

Dwight Jaynes of
Damn, Travis Outlaw is going into a contract year and I don’t see any way, barring injury, he’s going to get enough playing time to make out-of-this-world money with his next deal. It’s just not in the cards for him, unless those off-season workouts are going to result in a major makeover. “Out of this world” money?
The interest in Travis' sentence fragment got me thinking about what other parts of Trav's longterm career goals we could decipher from his tweets. Prepare to be shocked.

August 15, 8:22 PM
It's almost midnight and I just finished workin out, bout to watch film and expand my mind on Live... I mean business!
Is Trav considering leaving the NBA to get an MBA? Who knows!

August 12, 3:42 PM
Back at home in the south and back at it yall...out here grindin!
This is clear indication that Travis has at least a cursory interest in metal work. Welders make some pretty nice bank. Good benefits, too.

August 1, 12:33 AM
I'm addicted to polo y'all...respect my fresh.
Maybe Travis isn't ready to say goodbye to the world of professional sports just yet. Signing on with a top-tier polo squad would combine Outlaw's love of animals, the outdoors and mallets. Respect his fresh! Respect it!

I also stumbled upon this photo over at Travis' website,

Travis in nerd glasses? Does Travis need corrective surgery? Call the optometrist, or at least someone in the A/V club!

Martell Webster

Brian T. Smith, who has really hit the ground running since taking over for proud new papa Brian Hendrickson, caught up with Martell Webster to discuss the last year. The feature is still yet to be release, but Smith did put a few excerpts from the interview in his Blazer Banter blog.
Webster on how he felt about being forced to watch the Blazers' success in 2008-09 from the bench:

That was very hard for me. That was very depressing. Because I'm not one that plays this game for the dollar signs; I play for the love of the game. So it was very hard for me, sitting. It was very beneficial but yet very depressing. Because with me out, I actually got to kind of watch the game and try to understand it and learn it from an assistant coach's standpoint. So I got to see plays develop that coach (Nate McMillan) has drawn up, and see those plays develop, or see plays not work. I got to see that happen. And also, defensively, just see where we would break down — I mean, that stuff is deep. You're really not thinking about it that much when you're playing. But then actually see it, it makes you understand. But it was also very depressing because I really wanted to be out on the court with my teammates. It really didn't feel like I was contributing to the team, 'cause I was sitting out.

Nicolas Batum

The French National Team is just one game away from qualifying for the European Championships (or Eurobasket '09 as they call it) and Nic Batum is the main reason why. Les Bleus are 3-1 in qualifying, with their only loss coming by way of the Finns (way to go Petteri!) when Batum was unavailable because of a bad shoulder. Cue the doctors.
Recently, Batum’s ailing shoulder gave cause for concern to the Portland Trailblazers, who summoned the 20-year old back to the United States so the Blazers’ doctors could look at the shoulder first hand.

Batum, who had just helped France to victory in their second game against Italy, was distressed by the news, “It was perhaps my last match, so I wanted to win at any cost before leaving the team.” Batum said, “Tony Parker got back quickly, so I’m hoping that the the same thing happens for me. I’m just taking off to be examined over there, and after that, we’ll see what happens.”
Trail Blazers team doctors ended up giving Batum the OK to head back. Now Team France waits to play either Belgium (grudge match!) or Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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