I noted in an earlier post that Portland Trail Blazers President Larry Miller and General Manager Rich Cho told Mike Barrett, Mike Rice and Brian Wheeler on Blazers Courtside that guard Brandon Roy will not travel on the team's upcoming three-game road trip.
Miller and Cho also discussed Roy's status in further detail and made some wishy-washy comments about trade talks. To watch the entire episode, click here. Read on for the meat and potatoes.
Miller was fairly candid in his assessment of Roy's play so far this season and attributed the struggles to Roy's knee problems. "The Brandon that we've seen this year is not the Brandon that we've come to know and love, and watch play, and enjoy watching play. It's because of the injuries that he's dealing with."
On multiple occasions, Miller asked Blazers fans to continue to show respect to Roy despite his struggles. "Brandon Roy has been the guy that turned this franchise around. Rookie of the Year, All Star three times. Hopefully fans don't just turn on Brandon now."
Asked if he thought Blazers fans were turning on Roy, Miller tried to sound hopeful. "I don't necessarily think our fans are like that. I think our fans are better than that. But I do think it's a different style of ball. But if you look at the last few years when Brandon was out there, he brought excitement to this team. It's just that the Brandon we're seeing this season is not the Brandon we've seen over the last four seasons here. It's different, he's been different out on the court, the guys have adjusted and Nate is getting the most of the guys he has right now."
Miller went on to use an oft-repeated line in recent weeks, saying Roy will make adjustments to his game. "Brandon is a smart enough player and he has enough skills, where if he is able to play, once he's healthy enough to play, Brandon will be able to adapt to a different style if that's what it's going to be. I hope that fans don't forget that this was the guy that brought this organization back and this was the guy that represented this organization in the last three all star games and as a Rookie of the Year. Hopefully we'll be able to see him back at full strength again, being the Brandon we know and love."
Later, Miller acknowledged that Roy's absence has been a "disappointing" development for the organization. While he said he believes that most fans are remaining positive, Miller also acknowledged that other fans are not. "I'm sure there are fans that aren't happy. Thought they were going to see Greg Oden play this season. Thought that they were going to see Brandon Roy play this season. But for the most part fans are continuing to support us, and we've got a team of guys that are going out and playing hard every night."
Cho, meanwhile, stressed patience and appeared to hint that Roy's role might change in the future because of his injuries. "We have to be patient. Brandon is going to take another week off, he's not going to go on this road trip to Golden State, Utah and Denver. We have to be patient. At the same time, because he's struggling with his knee a little bit we're going to look at ways he can be effective in different ways."
Neither Miller nor Cho brought specifics or much substance when it came to discussing ongoing trade talks and rumors, although they did confirm the Blazers are being active.
"The phone lines have been lighting up both ways, incoming and outgoing," Miller said. "We're going to continue to look at how we can make this team better. If anyone thinks that we would have been better off with Gilbert Arenas here, I would challenge that."
Miller continued by repeating that patience would be a virtue. "We're not going to push the panic button and make trades just to make trades... It's not like we're not looking and trying to make this team better. We're going to continue to do that. We're not going to push the panic button and blow it up."
Cho was similarly vague in his statements regarding trades. "We get calls on all our players," Cho said.
The issue of a possible lockout next year was raised, but Cho said it hadn't affected trade talks so far. "It's really business as usual. Last summer we thought there would be a slowdown in contracts, and there were a lot of contracts that were signed that were pretty high-level contracts. The phone is ringing quite a bit, we are making a lot of calls. It's hard to say what will happen at the trade deadline, whether there will be a lot of trades around the league, but as far as activity I think it's pretty much business as usual."
Cho assessed this weekend's three-way trade between the Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns and Washington Wizards by playing it down the middle. "The moves didn't surprise me. There were advantages and disadvantages" for all of the teams involved. Of note, Cho called former Orlando Magic center Marcin Gortat, a player the Blazers had been linked to in rumors, "one of the best backup centers in the league." He also said that Suns guard Jason Richardson, who exploded on Portland in last year's playoffs, would be "a big loss to Phoenix's team."
Portland's silent executive did break out of his shell just long enough to poke fun at the validity of rumors that show up online. "Just don't believe everything you read on the internet. Not everything is true," Cho said. "You read HoopsHype and you read some of the rumors about our team, and we're sitting there like, 'What?' So you wonder how true some of the other rumors are about other teams."
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter