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Blazers Acting GM Buchanan Responds To Koponen's "Hostage" Claim

Portland Trail Blazers Acting GM Chad Buchanan responded to a question from Brian Berger on 750 AM The Game about Finnish guard Petteri Koponen's statement that he feels like a "hostage" and would like the team to release his rights... ---------------------------- "All three of the guys -- Victor Claver, Joel Freeland and Petteri Koponen -- we value all three of those guys. They bring something different to our team. For us, it's trying to find the right time that makes sense to bring them over. "I think one or two guys are probably more ready to contribute than the others. We want to make sure that we're not bringing them over to put them on the roster. We want to bring them over when they're ready to contribute for us. We like all three of those guys. Victor Claver had an outstanding year. He battled an injury at the end of the year but he's back healthy. We're very excited about Victor's future. Joel and Petteri both had strong seasons as well. We want to make sure that those guys are ready to contribute. "Our team where we're at, we're trying to make the next step in the playoffs and the postseason. We want to add guys in that are ready to make that next step. We want to make sure that we're not bringing a guy over and having him sit on the bench or the D-League and not maximizing that guy's talent for us. Finding the right time -- obviously the player would like to come over sooner rather than later. But we want to make sure we're doing the right thing for the team." ---------------------------- Update (2:25 PM): Speaking by telephone this afternoon, Buchanan tells Blazersedge that Koponen hasn't used such strong language in his discussions with the Blazers and that Portland, to no surprise, would not consider outright releasing his rights. ---------------------------- Has Koponen communicated that he feels like a hostage to you directly? "No, not necessarily. We've had a lot of conversations with his agent over the last few years. We're well aware that Petteri would love to come over and play for us and play in the NBA but at the same time we have to make sure the timing is right for our team. "We like the development that he's shown the last two years playing for Bologna. He's played primarily off the ball. We haven't had a great opportunity to evaluate him as a point guard, that's what we view him as at our level. Last year, we drafted Armon and Elliot, we have Patty, we didn't feel like... we didn't want to bring him over here and sit on the bench and not really contribute is the best way to put it. "We're aware that he's frustrated, we have no problem with that. The kid wants to come over here and play and we like that about him." Would you ever consider releasing him? "No. I don't foresee that at all. There's still some value around the league with him. We have to look out for what's best for our team moving forward. How Petteri fits into that is something that we discuss a lot. We wouldn't do that." ---------------------------- -- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter

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