The Portland Trail Blazers officially announced a trade for Oklahoma City Thunder guard Eric Maynor and the release of guard Ronnie Price on Thursday. The Blazers moved the draft rights for Georgios Printezis for Maynor. The Thunder also received a trade exception in the deal.
Blazers GM Neil Olshey took questions about the moves at the team's practice facility.
Here's a transcript.
When we took over, looking to build a model of sustainability. I think we've stayed true to that model while still adding an asset without giving away any of our future cap flexibility. I think we've had a pretty successful trade deadline.
Ronnie Price being waived
Unfortunately it's just a part of the system. We needed to create a roster spot and we just felt like by bringing in a point guard who is going to play significant minutes, we needed to waive a point guard and unfortunately was the likely candidate at this point.
Moving on to another subject, the 14 players who remain, who are here are all here for a reason. Suffice it to say we're not going to comment on any trade speculation on who may or may not have been involved in trade talks over the last few weeks. This is the Portland Trail Blazers roster for the foreseeable future.
Eric is a guy we tracked during the draft. Both myself with the Clippers and here in Portland. [Assistant GM] BIll Branch and [assistant coach] David Vanterpool had him in Oklahoma City. At one point he was probably considered the premier back-up point guard in the NBA. He had a little set-back with the injury. He plays the type of style that we like to play.
He's a great guy to run our second unit while still being able to play with the starters. He plays with good pace, tempo and takes care of the basketball, makes good decision. We also think we can experiment a little bit with him and Damian [Lillard] on the court at the same time.
Hard to remain patient?
I don't know if it's that hard. If you really believe in the vision that you have for the franchise. To be honest with you, when you talk about impatient moves, any impatient move would have required us to move one of our core pieces which we were in no way going to do. When you start to look at some of the more ancillary moves you can make, acquiring a guy like Eric for the draft rights to a guy overseas is a pretty good result based on the needs we've seen over the course of the season.
Will you tender him a qualifying offer?
I think that's something we'll discuss when we actually see him.
Will he play in Los Angeles?
No. We're hoping Eric can arrive tomorrow, have his physical, meet with our doctors and be on the floor for practice on Saturday.
Eric Maynor didn't play a lot this season
I don't want to talk about Oklahoma City's business but that point guard they have there is pretty good. Their back-up was the steal of the draft two years ago. With Eric, the opportunity went away, they've clearly been successful. They have a great backcourt there. It's a great opportunity for Eric to find a new home. He'll have a significant opportunity to play minutes both behind and with Damian and we hope he's the player that he was when he was helping Oklahoma City win playoff games.
Knee wasn't a concern?
No. If it was, we wouldn't have done the deal. I know you all have knees on the brain here, but at the end of the day he had an injury, he rehabbed the injury, he's back on the court. His playing time right now is in no way related to his knee injury. It's related to the fact they have an All-Star point guard [Russell Westbrook] and the guy behind him is one of the premier point guards they took in the draft they took Reggie Jackson in.
Still trying to make playoffs?
We've talked about this from the beginning. Every single day we walk into this gym we're trying to win every single game. It doesn't change course. No matter how much everyone keeps waiting for there to be a shift in organizational vision, it doesn't. Terry has done an outstanding job, the guys are competing, we've got guys playing hurt. They're sacrificing their physical well-being at times to help us win basketball games and that's going to go on through April. If we're lucky enough to make the playoffs we'll celebrate and if not we'll regroup and find a way to make them next year.
Lots of management turnover recently
I don't know, [former GM] Kevin [Pritchard] was here for a long time. Kevin had a hell of a run, [former coach] Nate [McMillan] had a hell of a run. There was a chance last year, a new GM, a new coach, a new president. All three of us share the same vision for the franchise, I think that the positive aspect of it is that you do have a general manager who hired the coach and you have a general manager and a coach who were on board when the president was hired and were a part of that process. I think now we've got some consistency in terms of vision and organizational direction under the leadership of Paul.
Is Eric Maynor a long-term option?
I'd like to hope that. You don't make moves just for 28 games. Clearly there's going to be an evaluating curve for us. We're going to evaluate Eric, see how he fits in with our team, our style of play and our culture. I know he's got goals and aspirations beyond just being a back-up. We''ll see what type of opportunities present itself. The positive part is that he is a restricted free agent because we have the ability to qualify him at the end of the year. At that point we'll know more about our draft position, we'll know where we are as a team, we'll know how much cap flexibility that we have.
When was deal made?
It was made at about 11:30 this morning. [Thunder GM] Sam [Presti] and I had discussed a deal in the last two weeks, in the very nascent stages. Some of it was predicated on other things he was trying to accomplish. Same thing for us. We went into the trade deadline knowing we didn't want to affect our flexibility going forward, we didn't want to convey any assets that we thought would help us accelerate this thing come draft time or free agency.
This is the best deal we could construct. We didn't give anything up. We're sorry to lose Ronnie, he was a great guy and leader for us, but at the end of the day Eric fits into our culture, he's a great guy in the locker room and he's a really good guy on the floor. I think he upgrades our talent base in terms of the point guard and backcourt positions.
Ronnie's ankle a factor?
I don't think it really has as much to do with it. Ronnie is a pro, he understood. We needed to waive a point guard and, look, this organization invested a first round pick in Nolan Smith 19 months ago and we've got an organization responsibility to try to develop Nolan and maximize the investment the organization made in him prior to my arriving.
Trade exception used?
[Blazers' cap guru] Joe Cronin gets a lot of credit for us having this player acquisition tool. A lot of the things we did last summer were a testament to Joe's ability to manage the cap and create exceptions. During that Jared Jeffries deal, one of the things that went unnoticed, other than the rights to [Georgios Printezis and [Kostas] Papanikolaou and Jared, is that we did create a $2.4 million trade exception. This is basically the continuation of that deal. Joe's ability to manage our cap, he gets a lot of the credit for that.
Amount of Eric Maynor's qualifying offer
$3.35 million. I don't know the exact number on his cap hold, but it's a little over $5 million.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter