Blazers Acting GM Chad Buchanan On Joel Przybilla, Armon Johnson, Greg Oden Decisions

On Monday night, Portland Trail Blazers Acting GM Chad Buchanan quickly took some questions on the team's decision to release guard Armon Johnson instead of center Greg Oden so that it could sign center Joel Przybilla for the rest of the season.

Earlier, I posted a list of possible reasons influencing the decisions plus links to press conference coverage.

Here's the transcript of Buchanan's comments.

Why release Armon Johnson instead of Greg Oden?

"It was a combination of a lot factors. Part of it was that Armon was on our inactive list for much of the year and wasn't getting a great opportunity with us. He's stuck behind Raymond [Felton], Jamal [Crawford] and Nolan [Smith] right now. This is a chance to give him an opportunity. He's going to be a free agent this summer. Courtesy to him a little bit.

"But there's obviously some cap-related reasons as well. I don't want to get too specific but there were some financial implications to the move. As far as Greg, there are some advantages to retaining Greg for us too... Come the trade deadline, if there's something out there and you need the money to match, the more money you have on a contract the more flexibility you're going to have.

"It was a combination of both basketball and financial reasons."

Nate McMillan said that Johnson seemed to be developing more into a 2 than a 1. Did Johnson's development since his success at Summer League 2010 go the direction that you thought it would?

"I think part of it is is that Armon lost a little bit of confidence last year. He started out strong and then, like most rookies, you're going to hit some rough patches. His decision-making was probably the biggest thing he needed to improve on. He was making some progress there but at the end of the day he wasn't getting the opportunity with us.

"We really believe in Nolan. Not that we didn't believe in Armon but we have a lot of confidence in Nolan going forward. That made it a little easier for us to move the direction we did with Armon."

What are your expectations for Przybilla this season?

"For Joel, it's going to take a little time to get his rhythm back. He hasn't played in an NBA game being healthy for a little while, much less playing in a game since last Spring. It's going to take him a little time to get his rhythm and his conditioning back.

"We have a lot of new players that he's going to have to get acclimated to playing with. He's very familiar with Nate and his system, which helps. I don't think it's going to be a major transition for him basketball-wise, as much as it will be conditioning and rhythm-wise.

"We need a big body in there to set some screens, to be a rim protector, a guy who has experience, who is going to complement what we have in Marcus [Camby] and Kurt [Thomas]. You can never have too many big bodies. In a season like this where Camby and Kurt Thomas, at their age, it's taking a toll on those guys. Our schedule. They're playing. You can never have enough depth at that position.

"Joel provides us some toughness, locker room presence which is very valuable down the stretch. He's going to hopefully provide the same thing he was providing before he left us last year."

So when are you going to trade for Steve Blake?

[Laughs]

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

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