Blazers Press Conference: Audio and Transcripts

Blazers GM Kevin Pritchard addressed the media for roughly 15 minutes. Photo: Ben Golliver | Blazersedge

Here is the audio and transcripts from today's press conferences. No guarantees about the audio quality.

Click here for pictures and key quotes from the post from earlier this afternoon.

Click through to read the transcripts from Blazers General Manager Kevin Pritchard and Blazers President Larry Miller. 

-- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter

Kevin Pritchard's Comments

Opening Remarks

I want to thank you guys, first of all, for being patient. I know some of you guys tried to get in touch with me. I think you can understand over the weekend I wanted to think about some things. Losing Tom is not an easy thing. He’s a good friend of mine, he’s done good work here, and I’m proud to work with him. I only want to wish him the best moving forward.

 

What’s your relationship like with the owner?

I have talked to Paul or communicated with him. I know I’m going to do the best I possibly can here. I think it’s been portrayed that it’s strained but what I would tell you is that every single day I walk into this building, Nate walks into this building and Larry walks into this building and we want to do the best we possibly can. Everything else is out of our control.

Do you feel like you’re wanted here?

Um… I can’t control that. I’m going to give everything I’ve got. Blood, sweat and tears. I do believe we have the best owner in sports. Paul Allen is a phenomenal owner. We’ve got a great coach. We’ve got a great organization. Larry is a great President. I think it’s been, in some articles, that we’re not connected. That’s not right. I don’t like that. I don’t like when I see things written that aren’t correct. We have a wonderful organization. We’re a family.  Do we have bumps in the road? Absolutely. We don’t always agree on everything. I’ve told you guys this. I think what makes a great organization isn’t that you disagree it’s how you come together after you disagree.  We’re in this together. We want to win. We want to win at the highest level. I want the focus off of this and on the team. This team deserves our focus.

Are you being fired or will you resign?

I don’t know that. I’m going to give it everything I have every day. I want to be here. I really do. I’ve enjoyed working with everybody here. I just saw Mike Barret and Mike Rice, they just showed up to be here to support me. This is a great organization. Don't take your eyes off the fact that this is a good organization that wants its community to be proud of it. That's the most important thing.

You don't sound very confident that you'll be here next season

I don't know that. I don't know that. I'm going to keep doing everything I possibly can. I'm very proud of the work that we've done here. And I put "we" -- Nate McMIllan, Chad Buchanan, Mike Born, Tom Penn, Larry Miller, Cheri Hansen, Sarah Mensah -- I remember coming here a few years ago and the organization was in a different place. Now we should be very proud. This team, what this team is doing this year, is truly amazing. That we're talking about the playoffs with as many injuries as we've had. And that's what I want the focus on.

Given all of that, why is your future in doubt?

Um, I don't think I'm the person to answer that. I want to be here. I told this early on in my career as being a GM here is that I'd be here for 20 years. That's -- Nate and I were just talking about it just a minute ago. Utah has had their General Manager and their head coach for a long, long time. That stability means a lot. I feel like I work for a great owner and work with a great coach. And that's all I can ask.

How hard is it going to be to manage this team while looking over your shoulder

I'm not going to look over my shoulder. That's easy. I'm going to do what's right for this team. Keep doing our process. We have a lot of processes in place, we believe in them. Chad Buchanan and Mike Born are the best at what they do. We work very well together. It's been very rewarding to bring this team to the level it is. 

Has your relationship with ownership changed over the last year?

I don't know about that. You know, you go through some ups and downs. That's typical. It's how you deal with the down times. I think that your character is determined by what you do when things are tough.  What you will see is resilience, tough-minded, together organization.

What have been the downs over the past year?

Just the injuries. Expectations. But that's normal. That's what this business is. We had high expectations and we went through a bunch of injuries. Guess what, we made some changes and now we're competing and having a chance to hopefully move up and I think we're a good team. In the playoffs we could do some things.

Is there anything that you want to respond to that was written?

Well, don't believe everything that's written. But the big thing is we have a very cohesive unit. And I know everybody is going to say that's spinning. That's not spinning. Larry and I have communications every day. Nate and I talk 15 times a day. I talk with the players all the time. We have a good organization. It has been turned around. The biggest thing is that we have trust in each other. At the end of the day that's all you can have.

Why no contract extension?

I haven't asked. I'm not worried about that kind of stuff. Everything that's out there, I worry about everything I control and I want to do the best job I can. That's the most important thing.

Never asked for a contract extension?

No. Not one time. Never has been asked.

Your agent has been quoted as saying he thinks your ownership is looking to move you out. Your response?

I hope he doesn't. That's the bottom line. I want to be here. If you take anything away from here, it's that I enjoy being here. I enjoy being in the trenches with Nate McMillan.

Have you talked to Warren LeGarie?

Warren has his own opinions, there's no doubt about it. This isn't about me. This is about this organization. This is a great organization.

More on Penn

Tom helped us in a lot of ways. I only wish him the best. I'll still stay friends with him. I know he'll do great in another organization.

Will Chad Buchanan and Mike Born be considered for that Assistant GM position?

Umm, absolutely.

Can you characterize your relationship with Paul Allen?

We communicate just like we have. You know, email, any time there's any sort of issue there's communication. And I don't mean that in a bad way either. Every day there's something that's going on and we try to communicate the best we can.

Can you shed any light on Tom's dismissal?

I can't. I can tell you it was philosophical differences. And that the organization made the decision.

Your agent said it was a drive by and an attempt on you.

Uh, I don't think so. I don't know though. I know that I care for Tom. And I care for this organization. And sometimes there's differences.

Don't you think it should be your call as to who your right hand man is?

I would tell you that was an organizational decision.

What was your reaction to Tom's firing?

Like I said, I was sad. Any time someone as close to me as Tom is... look an organization is its people, right? As a leader, one of the things I try to do is help them anyway I possibly can. I do that with Chad, I do that with Mike, I do that with Cheri, I do that with Nate. You have many hats in the General Manager's job and #1 is to help everybody else.

Have you gone to Paul and asked him where you stand?

You know, now is not the time. We have to focus on the team. 

It's the playoff run and we're sitting here talking about this?

Which is what I don't want. I want this focus on this team. This team is an amazing team. Brandon, LaMarcus, Andre, Camby, Rudy. What they're doing right now is what we should be focused on. You think I want this focus? You're crazy.

Regardless, it's here.

It is. But I want to get it back on the team. 

Why wouldn't you go to Paul? You always preach open communication and dialogue.

I do. I do. There will be that time. Right now is not that time.

Do you feel betrayed?

Nope. Not at all.

More surprised that you would be here or not

I don't know that. I want to be here. I love it here. There's nothing more gratifying to me than, I think we've turned around this organization, we have great kids that are competing at the highest level. I want us to make a playoff run and do some things in the playoffs. I feel like I've been somewhat a part of that. I want to see this through. I want to see this through desperately. I want that Rose Garden going crazy after a huge playoff win or a huge playoff series. That's what I'm about. If you think it's anything else, you're wrong. 

How much do leaks bother you?

I can't control those.

Somebody has to control it.

How do you control it?

Well you can control what your agent says.

Yeah but he's talking about something totally different... I don't like it. Of course I don't like it. I believe we're all in this thing together. We have amazing people that I love getting into the trenches with.

Does it disturb you that other teams are talking about you?

Well I can't control that. I do know that teams are highly-competitive. 

Is your future here tied to how the team does this postseason?

This postseason? I don't know that. You'll have to ask Larry or Paul. But guys you guys know this. We're not where we are at without this owner being as good as he is. He's a tremendous owner. He's given us every opportunity to succeed.

Are you surprised to be having this talk right now?

Unbelievably.

 

Larry Miller's Comments

Your relationship with Kevin

 

Kevin and I have had a great relationship since I've been here. And we continue to. To echo what he said this is a great organization that wouldn't be where it is without us all working together. And I think that from a basketball organization perspective that we've got as good or better relationship between basketball and business than anybody. I believe that.

Do you intend on offering Kevin a contract extension any time soon?

Well, the reality is, the way this organization has worked and the way most organizations work is that you get  to the end of the season and you evaluate what's going on. We're going to take that same approach going into this. That's not just for Kevin, that's for me, that's for any of the major decisions that need to be made.

With the success he's had, that would seem to be a precursor to a contract extension

You're right. He's done a great job getting this franchise to where it is. But again, the way this process works every year is ... it's handled at the end of the season.

Is there something that ownership is not happy with Kevin right now. He did not seem super confident that he would be around next year.

As far as I'm concerned, I don't know of anything specific that ownership is not happy with. At the end of the season, that will be evaluated. It's not just Kevin, it's all major decisions at the end of the season that will be evaluated.

What's your evaluation of him to this second?

You're going to try to get me to that right? I think today if you look at this team you see a team that for what the adversities we've had this year -- to be where we are, this team has proven to be resilient, to be solid and it's been well-coached, it's just a great group of players. And Kevin was instrumental in putting that together so absolutely I would have to look at that. That's what I would take into consideration.

Would playoff success be a factor in Kevin's future?

Well, again, to me, this team even where we are today has accomplished, had some major accomplishments just based on the adversity that we had to go through. You look at all the injuries we've had. Everything we've gone through on the court. Just to be where we are today is a major accomplishment to me. Our goal going forward right now is to make the playoffs and have a successful run in the playoffs. That's really what we are all focused on right now. Kevin, Nate, myself are all focused on doing everything we can to make that happen.

Why are we going through this now?

The reality is we didn't create this. We had an issue it was time -- it was a decision made, a group decision that was made that it was time for, to part ways with Tom Penn and then all of this came out of that. That was the decision that was made, not anything beyond that. There was no decisions, no discussions beyond that. It became that through some comments of other people that were made out there. From our perspective it was about, hey, there are some philosophical differences with Tom and we feel as an organization it is time to part ways. All the other stuff, I'm as surprised as you guys are by all the other stuff.

Why couldn't it have waited until after the season?

There's never a good time for a decision like this. I think organizationally we just felt it was the right time to do it. And again, never a good time but we felt this was the time to do it. That's what this decision was about. It wasn't about anything else related to Kevin or anything else. There were some philosophical differences here and it's best that we part ways. Our feeling was that we do that and move on and it became something other than that.

Were you surprised to hear the comments from Kevin Pritchard's agent?

I was absolutely surprised to hear the comments from him but he's an agent and agents do what agents do. So I understand that. Again, to me, this whole thing evolving to where it has is a surprise. Our situation here was, it's time to part ways with Tom and we wish Tom nothing but the best going forward but for it to evolve into this it was a surprise.

Have you spoken with Mr. Allen and has he given Kevin a vote of confidence?

I haven't spoken with him. I have exchanged some information with him... 

Was it possible to wait until the end of the season to fire Tom? 

I think it was possible to wait until the end of the season but the decision was made to not wait until the end of the season. The thing that bothers me is all this speculation about it. All the things that I know are not true. For instance there was some personal issue between Tom and I. Absolutely, positively not true. There is no truth to that.

It seems like there are unanswered questions

There are unanswered questions and people are speculating about those questions but the reality is philosophical differences and we can't go into anything deeper than that. But that's really what it is about. Again, there were no other underlying personal issues or any of that kind of stuff.

You've refuted things about Tom but it's grown to Kevin now

Exactly and it's the same thing. People speculating on things and again this was about Tom, this was about the situation with Tom and it became Kevin. We didn't make it Kevin. I won't say who did but we didn't make it about Kevin.

Are you worrried this will distract the team for the playoffs?

Yeah, I am actually. That's why I would love for us to be able to put this behind us. Again, the situation with Tom and everybody else gets evaluated at the end of the season and let's just focus on basketball and let's just focus on having a successful run in the playoffs and put this behind us. That's really what I would like us to do at this point. That's one of the reasons Kevin and I are out here talking. To try to say let's put this behind us. Kevin wants to be here. He's made that clear. Let's focus on basketball. Let's focus on trying to win games and not allow us to be a distraction.

Peter Vecsey wrote that you might be the GM next season. Your reaction?

I hope not. Well because to me that's not the role that I was brought in here to do. I think I can make a contribution and help with some input on basketball decisions and things like that. But that's not my job. I don't -- we, you know -- Kevin is the GM and to me he's our GM today and that's who makes those types of decisions. I weigh in where I think is necessary but no.

-- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter

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