Full Court Press

It's been a few weeks but the Full Court Press is back; every Blazers link you need is right here.  Whether you want to crush on Rudy Fernandez's "tight Spanish frame" or simply want to know who is interested in trading for him (or both), you're in the right place.

But first an announcement.  This weekend over at Liberty High School in Hillsboro is the Nike Global Challenge. The schedule runs 2PM - 10PM from Friday through Sunday.  The list of US players includes Tony Wroten, Perry Ellis and Austin Rivers.  The Global Challenge is a perennially slept-on tournament. You should join the NBA scouts and national recruiting writers and check out the action if you get a chance this weekend. 

And here's what you might have missed on Blazersedge recently...

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Nate McMillan Asserts Authority | Nate on LaMarcus | Drama and the Media | Mailbag | 

2 Assistant GMs | Prunty to Cavs | Scrubdown Day One |

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Without further ado, click through for health updates on Greg Oden and Brandon Roy, two looks at Rich Cho, everything Rudy, a few alternate takes on the "drama" from last week, life advice (!) from KP2, video of an NBA star switching four lanes with the top down screaming out money ain't a thing, Charles Barkley shows his love for the Rose City and Michael Jordan, and a bunch more.  

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

Brian T. Smith with brief health updates on Greg Oden and Brandon Roy...

Oden said he is "positive" he will be ready for training camp for the 2010-11 season. The Blazers center has recently been working out with Portland strength and conditioning coach Bobby Medina in Indiana. Oden said he has lost considerable weight while going through daily five-hour drills. He plans to lose more weight, but would not reveal his ideal total.

Roy said he is "back to normal" and feels better than he has in a long time. Roy has also worked with Medina, while adding a personal trainer, and has focused on his conditioning and overall strength. "I'm in the gym everyday and getting stronger," Roy said. "I'm extremely excited about this year. More of a workman-like approach. Really not a lot to talk about. Just trying to prepare hard and get ready for a big season."

Jason Quick with an introduction to Rich Cho, including a nice recommendation from his former boss Rick Sund...

Sund said he never went into a negotiation with a player without Cho by his side, and he never did a trade without first consulting Cho. Because of that, Sund said he can offer first-hand knowledge that Cho is not a "yes-man." 

"And thank God he wasn't a yes man, because he saved me from making a few bad deals," Sund said. "He is his own man, and he's a strong personality. When we would get into meetings and he believed in something strongly, you knew it. I loved having him on my side, I can tell you that."     

Jonathan Abrams of the New York Times on Rich Cho...

Cho, who once worked as an engineer for Boeing, graduated from Pepperdine's law school. After immigrating to the United States from Burma with his family as a child, Cho developed a strong interest in sports. He recognized sooner than most that a law degree would be a useful tool for a sports executive. He served his internship with the Sonics while attending law school and soon after his graduation in 1997 was named Seattle's director of basketball affairs.

"He had a law degree and a diverse background, but he also has a pretty rich basketball background," Larry Miller, Portland's team president, said of Cho. "That was one of the things that was really appealing. He's got some pretty vast experience when it comes to working for a basketball organization. I've heard him referred to as the Swiss army knife of basketball."

Cho said, he will use an "eyes, ears, mind" approach.

So does anyone want Rudy Fernandez? Jason Quick mentioned three teams in his report: Chicago, New York and Boston.

Chicago might, according to Sam Smith, and is offering Taj Gibson.

From what I've heard it's in Portland's hands now for what they want. I've heard the Bulls have a pretty good shot, but nothing matters until it's done. Let's not overstate Fernandez, who always has sounded better than he has performed. But he'd be an excellent addition, and as I wrote Monday the No. 1 guy I'd still pursue.    

Mike McGraw of DailyHerald.com splashes some cold water...

The Oregonian mentioned the Bulls as a potential destination for Portland shooting guard Rudy Fernandez. League insiders wonder if the Blazers are really serious about moving Fernandez. The Bulls' inquiries earlier this summer were rebuffed.

At this point, if Fernandez is unhappy with his limited role in Portland, the Bulls may not be his best option, considering they've already added Kyle Korver and Ronnie Brewer at two guard.
According to reports, the Blazers are willing to accommodate Fernandez'trade request and are looking for a first-round draft pick in return.

I've seen rumors of the Bulls offering Taj Gibson for Fernandez, but cannot imagine that happening. You don't trade a competent big man for an unproven guard.

So what about the Knicks? Alan Hahn of Newsday writes...

The Knicks are on the wish list of yet another NBA player who is seeking a trade, but just like with Chris Paul , the Knicks don't appear to have what it takes to make a deal for Rudy Fernandez .

The Trail Blazers shooting guard, who was an All-Rookie selection two seasons ago, has struggled in a reduced role behind all-star Brandon Roy . The Knicks have inquired a few times over the last year about acquiring Fernandez but have never been able to come up with a solution.

"They just don't have anything [Portland] would want," a person with knowledge of the situation told Newsday.

Keith Idec of NorthJersey.com writes...

The Knicks' quest for Portland's Rudy Fernandez, however, remains on hold through the weekend. Their inability to send the Blazers a first-round pick until 2014 is a likely sticking point.

As for the Celtics?  There was a lot of fan interest in Rudy but the team signed (former Blazer) guard Von Wafer on Friday.

Kelly Dwyer on Rudy...

Either way, with just one year and just under $1.25 million left on his contract (there's a quite affordable team option for $2.1 million to follow in 2011-12), Fernandez could be a steal. And even if he keeps playing the way he's played - slightly below average - he's a steal at ... $1.25 million!

So yes, team, give up that first-round pick. Give it up in an instant. This guy is either going to be a bust-out player for you, or well worth what a team like Chicago or Boston (with a selection in the low teens or probable 20s) would end up paying for a first-round guaranteed deal at that slot anyway. If you kept the pick and ended up drafting a guy of Rudy's 2010-11 caliber, you'd be ecstatic. Even with him playing at his lowest ebb, as we may have seen last season.

This is worth chasing down, NBA. Take advantage of a team that might not know what it has.

Brian T. Smith with an intimate look at the Rudy Fernandez situation...

A year ago, he was untouchable. Inspiring and immaculate.

There was the shot. The touch. The energy and excitement. The living definition of a thrilling, wide-eyed sharpshooter. Talent, youth and potential all wrapped up in a tight Spanish frame.

There was also the look. The look can never be counted out, and no one ever doubted that Portland Trail Blazers guard Rudy Fernandez had it. There was the hair. The endless 5 o'clock shadow. The way he appeared to effortlessly glide on the court and off it.

Was it YOUR fault that last week's "drama" wound up a disappointment.  Nathan Begley writes...

Quick is taking some heat for the buildup to a rather anti-climatic story, however, I would argue that the buildup was at least to some extent, fan driven. If Quick had something ultra-juicy, he'd likely have to break it quickly for fear of being scooped. The issue at hand is that Quick left a vacuum in his lead up and fans rushed to fill that vacuum with best case and worse case scenarios and quasi-plausible fears. What article is going to live up to that kind of drum-up? In the old days before the internet, people would have heard Quick announce that he had a story about some player drama, shoot the breeze about it around the water cooler, and then wait in anticipation until the story came out. Now, that announcement gets placed in a Petri dish where it can quickly mutate and grow until when the article itself comes out, the expectations are completely out of proportion.    

Here's Mike Barrett's take on the situation...

I also know that Blazer fans have come down pretty hard on The Oregonian's Jason Quick, who really lit a fire with this story earlier in the week by basically saying some big-time drama is on the way for the team in the next 24 to 48 hours, and evidently was referring to Rudy's situation. That got everyone's attention, and people were frustrated when nothing really came of it. I'll just say this- Jason is very well sourced around the NBA, has been at this a long time, and doesn't have a history of just tossing stuff against the wall to see if it sticks. That would be irresponsible and that's not what he does.

Quick obviously had a reason why he reported what he did, and had to have gotten some information that led him to believe this was coming to a head in a hurry. That's why it's interesting now to hear both sides say that nothing significant has changed in this case. I refuse to believe Jason simply made it up to draw attention to himself. That's not how he operates. I give him the benefit of the doubt, and it's true that where there's smoke there is usually fire. It just seems like this is perhaps a well-controlled burn, and not the out-of-control blaze everyone thinks it is. And isn't that usually the case when you're dealing with rumors?

As you probably know, agents are responsible for a lot of what gets leaked in stories like this. But, Rudy's agent, Andy Miller, is very reputable, and hasn't gone on the record confirming or denying anything. Whoever is being sourced, from Rudy's camp, sounds like they're agreeing that nothing has really changed from the initial reports.

David Aldridge wrote last week that Portland had the 21st best (9th worst) summer in the league...

On the last day on the job, knowing it was his last day, Pritchard nonetheless did what he'd done for four seasons in Portland -- he got the Blazers more young talent. Most people had Babbitt as a Lottery pick; he went 16th. Williams will likely step in when the Blazers move Rudy Fernandez. Cho, from Oklahoma City, is well-regarded around the league. His first task is deciding whether to keep Andre Miller or to put a package together that could bring Tony Parker from San Antonio or Chris Paul from New Orleans. But if the Blazers can get Oden and Joel Pryzbilla healthy, allowing Marcus Camby to play more minutes at power forward, they should make a move in the West without a major roster upheaval.    

Craig Morgan of FoxSportsArizona quotes Hedo Turkoglu on the Raptors organization.

"People have to realize something is wrong with that organization and nobody wants to go there any more," he said in a phone interview from Turkey, where he is captaining the Turkish national team at the World Championships. "It's not just the players who see this."

Kevin Pelton is doling out life advice with six tips for making a career in Sports Stats.

Even if you happen to be the most insightful basketball analyst in the world, if you can't communicate that information in a way teams can understand, your work will never help anyone. This means both being able to write reports and explain verbally to basketball lifers who may not be familiar with statistical analysis what the numbers mean.

This is part of the task for analytical writers as well, so it's nothing new for me, but even with this background I'm still searching for new ways to communicate my point all the time. Improving your ability to communicate is one of the benefits of blogging. There are two basic ways to improve - practice and learning from others. That's another benefit of reading as much as you possibly can.

Somehow KP2 forgot to include tip #7: "Co-opt a team blog with a rabid fan base, get a great nickname, start a podcast, throw your tie on the court after some bad officiating to gain respect, but wind up getting arrested."  

Paul Allen topped John Canzano's top 25 most influential people in Oregon Sports list...

1. Paul Allen (2): Trail Blazers owner, 57, owns the state's only professional major league sports franchise and is operating with a sense of urgency as he battles non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. He fired/hired general managers, made changes in his coaching staff, and has his fingerprints on roster moves. Allen owns the state's top sports venue (Rose Garden Arena), and flexed muscle with a proposed entertainment-district development that effectively pushed Portland's Triple-A baseball club out of the Rose Quarter, and ultimately out of state.    

Other Blazers: Larry Miller (6), Greg Oden's Knee (8), Brandon Roy (10), Hubert Kolde (12), Nate McMillan (13), Rich Cho (15), Sarah Mensah (16) and Cheri Hanson (24). 

Quick Hits

Drop anything I missed in the comments. And, please, frequent the FanShots, which have been outstanding this summer.

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

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