The Portland Trail Blazers introduced guard Jonny Flynn and center Hasheem Thabeet at the Rose Garden on Monday morning in one of the lowest-energy press conferences you will ever see. Acting GM Chad Buchanan and Interim Coach Kaleb Canales flanked the two newest Blazers, who will be in uniform on Tuesday night after being acquired from the Houston Rockets in a trade last Thursday.
Flynn, a 23-year-old 6-foot-0, 185 lb. guard in his third year out of Syracuse, will wear No. 3. Thabeet, a 25-year-old 7-foot-3, 263 lb. center in his third year out of UConn, will wear No. 34.
Click through for a transcript of the group press conference, which includes talk about both players as well as some thoughts from Canales, who was named Interim Coach last Thursday after the Blazers fired coach Nate McMillan.
More information from Buchanan coming a bit later Monday night.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter
Chad Buchanan: "After a busy week, the smoke has cleared a little bit. We have two members of our team that are sitting up here today and our new head coach down there. I want to introduce Jonny Flynn and Hasheem Thabeet and welcome them to Portland. We're excited to add two young players to our roster at a couple of key positions for us. We've tracked these guys for quite awhile, dating back to high school. Obviously still young in their NBA career. Still establishing themselves as NBA players and where they fit in this league. We're excited to see what they can provide our team."
Why haven't your careers worked out so far?
Jonny Flynn: "Sometimes you find yourself in this league in situations where you really can't control them. You can come in every day, you can work hard, you can put in the extra effort, you can gain great relationships. Sometimes things just don't go your way. You learn that about life as well. You just have to control the things you can control. That's working hard, that's being a good person, that's being a person that everyone wants to be around. Continue to grow as a person and a basketball player."
Hasheem Thabeet: "Like he said, a lot of times we're not in situations that things aren't going your way. You have to work your way through it and make the most of the situation. For me, it's been a pretty tough road. Memphis, D-League, back to Memphis and then Houston. Now I'm in Portland. You have to just come here and work."
Jonny, you must be excited because they need a point guard?
Jonny Flynn: "That's always reassuring. When you're traded, you know a team wants you. Point guard is a position they are looking for for the future. That's all you can ask for. Being a young player in this league, it's an opportunity. I think it's a great opportunity here with this organization. You have a new interim coach in Kaleb that's very enthusiastic, that gets the best out of his players. It looks good for the rest of the season, we're right in the playoff mix, hopefully we can make a good push."
Jonny, has your hip injury changed your game?
Jonny Flynn: "No, I don't think so. Not at all. Getting through the rehab process last year in Minnesota, continuing on that process this summer. I think I'm back to where I was. I think I'm a different player in the aspect of -- learning the game. The game has really slowed down for me. Hopefully I can show that out there. It's a great opportunity like I said before and I just have to take it in stride."
What expectations did the team put on you guys?
Hasheem Thabeet: "Just come out here and work hard for the guys. We're down two games in the playoffs, they just want us to come here to show them we want to work and help the team."
Jonny, did you get a sense for what was happening with Nate McMillan being fired when you were getting traded on Thursday?
Jonny Flynn: "It all happened pretty fast. We were in the midst of all the madness going on that day. I was just looking at it as a great opportunity. The Blazers are going through a tough stretch during that time and sometimes you have to make tough decisions to get the best out of your players. That's all a part of this business that we play in. Hopefully it works out for the best for this team."
Kaleb, what do you expect from Jonny and Hasheem?
Kaleb Canales: "To echo what Chad said, we're extremely excited to have these two young men be a part of our team and be a part of our family looking forward. The one thing we do know is that they have a level of appreciation of where they've been. Their love for the game is contagious by the way they play. We're excited to have them at shootaround tomorrow."
How will your promotion to interim coach impact your relationships with the players?
Kaleb Canales: "The one thing is -- I felt over the past eight years there has been a lot of sweat equity built with our guys. having the opportunity to spend a lot of time with them in the player development and the skill development. We're trying to stay in the moment as a team. I just know that we're going to hold them accountable. We've asked for them to commit to each other and to commit to competing, playing together. That's what we're going to expect from anybody."
Do you have to change your coaching style moving from assistant to interim head coach?
Kaleb Canales: "I'm not going to change who I am. In terms of me. I understand that there are different responsibilities that come with this position that I'm very blessed and fortunate to have. That I take very seriously. Just to give the city of Portland to have something to be proud of."
What's going to be your biggest challenge during the rest of the season?
Kaleb Canales: "This is not about me, it's about us. If it's OK, I can talk to you guys one-on-one but I really want this to be about them today. If that's OK."
Will Jonny Flynn and Hasheem Thabeet be available Tuesday night?
Chad Buchanan: "Yep."
Kaleb, what do you expect from Jonny and Hasheem on the court this season?
Kaleb Canales: "Jonny, the one thing scouting him and watching him on film is his passion for the game. It's contagious. He loves to play basketball. I think he understands that he's been to the highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows and I know he has a level of appreciation.
"Mr. Thabeet -- being a defensive inside presence. We're excited about having him in the middle. Blocking some shots, getting us out on the break. We're excited to have both of them."
Jonny, when did you hurt your hip?
Jonny Flynn: "It actually happened first in college. I just played through it. Re-injured it towards the end of my rookie season.
"In college, I got tangled up with a guy and I think that's when I initially did it. Towards the end of the season, my rookie year, it just got worse and worse. Playing on it so much, going through a long NBA season. Practices and things like that. I came off the bench one time after sitting for a long time, tried to accelerate fast and that's when I really hurt it."
Hasheem, have you just not gotten the opportunity yet?
Hasheem Thabeet: "Mostly that. Maybe the previous situations weren't able to capitalize on my talent. This is a different team. New coach. Just different situation. Just come out here with the mentality to work and be positive about it."
Do you view yourselves as part of a rebuilding situation?
Jonny Flynn: "I just look at it as a team that wants to rebuild and establish-- it does't matter to me. I think we have a great coach right now, great pieces, a centerpiece in LaMarcus Aldridge for the future. Went through a tough time, games where you had to look for something to rejuvenate the team. We just have to get it back on the right track and hopefully make it to the playoffs."
Jonny, did you know Kaleb before you came here?
Jonny Flynn: "I seen him in the Chicago game, seeing him on the sidelines, jumping up on down. Players coming out, slapping high fives and things like that. It's infectious. The energy that he has, that's how I see myself on the court. A guy who players like to be around. That's one thing you like as a player, a coach who is really all in for you. And this guy is definitely that."
Kaleb, can you reflect on that scene in Chicago?
Kaleb Canales: "I'm not going to sit here and lie and say it wasn't special. It was a special moment. It's about us as a team, not me specifically. Just really concerned and focused on our 12 guys -- 13 with Elliot -- going forward.
"I don't think I was listening to anything, just all the hugs. It was pretty special."
Will you have time to evaluate these guys?
Chad Buchanan: "It's a shortened stretch here to try to incorporate two new players. There's an opportunity at both positions. We've got Nolan and Raymond at the point guard position. We've moved Jamal back to the two. We've got two centers in Joel and Kurt. You need depth down the stretch here. We get to play a good stretch here at home to have practice time to try to incorporate them as quickly as he can.
"Throw them out there and see what they can provide. I think Kaleb has done a good job of giving guys an opportunity these last few games and I think he'll find a way to incorporate these guys as well."
Did you want a change of scenery?
Jonny Flynn: "You definitely look forward to it. In this league, it's all about timing. Being in a situation at the right time for yourself. It's a lot of guys in this league that can play basketball but you would never know because they're in a situation that doesn't best suit them. A new change of scenery will do us right .IT's a great organization, definitely coming to a city with a great fanbase. It's almost like all the stars are lining up. I can't wait to get out on the court and play."
Hasheem Thabeet: "He said what I said."
Syracuse heading to the Final Four?
Jonny Flynn: "Of course you can. I'm never going against Syracuse. Even with the loss of big man Fab Melo. I know this is hurting Hasheem because UConn is out. I think we can definitely do it. We changed our pace of play up. I think they can definitely do it."
-- Ben Golliver | email@example.com | Twitter