Steve Dykes-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire
Portland Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen talked with reporters at the first day of training camp.
Portland Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen briefly spoke with reporters following the first day of training camp at the team's Tualatin on Tuesday. The only real headline: Allen said the team is continuing its search for a new president after former president Larry Miller resigned in July.
Here's a transcript of his comments.
It was a great morning to see the new approach Terry and the other coaches have instituted. A lot of emphasis on defense. A lot of energy out there. Defense is something I've been looking for an improvement in for a few years now. I was excited to see that being emphasized. We've got a lot of changes with the roster, see the new players, it's really exciting.
GM Neil Olshey says you've been really engaged
I've never not been engaged. I'm excited to see our new draft picks. It's always exciting. You guys know me, I come down here every year before the season starts, and ready for preseason games not very far in the future.
Is this the first time you've been down here on Day One of camp?
I really don't... I've come down here before the season many times. I don't know about camp opener. But anyway it's great to be down here and feel the energy.
Judging on wins and losses or development this year?
I think everyone here in this organization is very competitive. We've got to find out how good our draft picks are. We're very, very optimistic. With what we've seen so far from the draftees, we had high expectations but I think they've exceeded those. But we've yet to play a preseason game too so it's going to be interesting to see how things develop and how the preseasons go and when we get into the regular season.
It's so early to tell. I think we'll know when the regular starts really quickly. We have a tough early schedule. It's all going to unfold. It's a very, very exciting time with all the changes we made and we've got new coaching, new general manager and new players. It's pretty massive change and exciting change at the same time. You have to see what happens and what adjustments you have to make and so forth.
Hitting the reset button again
We got hit by some really terrible, unfortunate series of injuries as you guys know. That's all behind us now. We're moving ahead. As I think I talked about a few times, those injuries were really tough, if you own the team, they're tough to work through, they're tough for the fans and the whole organization. Those are tough things but now we're moving ahead.
What does sellout streak mean to you?
I hope the fans embrace these new players. I think we're going to have a very exciting, much more up-tempo and defense-oriented brand of basketball. I hope the fans embrace these players and this new approach. I'm optimistic but it all depends on how the season unfolds.
Thoughts on offseason
We didn't get the guy we targeted in free agency as you guys know. In spite of that, we had a great offseason and a great draft. All of that has to be proved out as the season unfolds.
Still searching for president?
We have a process going on there but I'm not going to speak any more about it.
Timeline on when you want to see playoffs?
You guys know me well enough, enough years together, I evaluate things after the season is over and we determine what the next steps are. I just think when you bring in a new general manager, new coaching and new draft picks, it's going to take a few years for that to play out and for the team to be fully formed. The new general manager and coaching to figure out the strengths and weaknesses and how to utilize them. You guys know I'm very patient but I'm expecting progress.
Superteams building in the NBA
I think during the lockout there was a lot of discussion about small market teams versus large markets. I think some of those issues are unresolved questions. We'll see how this all gets played out over the next few years. See if these teams can afford to go deep into the luxury tax versus the smaller market teams. You look at Oklahoma City, they have a very talented roster, with the luxury tax, it's a strain on the finances. We'll see. All of those things will have to play out and we'll have to look down the road and change the league structure to address those things. I've always felt that every team [should have the possibility to compete].
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