Laura Keeley of Raleigh's News & Observer writes that Portland Trail Blazers unrestricted free agent guard Nolan Smith isn't nervous about finding his next job.
Nolan Smith was at ease in the Ravenscroft gym, smiling and posing for pictures at last week's ACC Barnstorming event. He did not look like a man with an uncertain future.
"Some people would be nervous and not sure if they'll end up on a team, but I'm excited," Smith said. "I'm confident that I'll end up in a great situation that will allow me to be myself and play my game."
"If you're not in that GM's plans, then it's a tough situation," Smith said. "Now it's like starting all over. It's not being drafted, my agency just talks to teams that will be the best fit for me."
Smith, who was wearing a Chicago Bulls hat last week at Ravenscroft (for what that's worth), is looking forward to his fresh start. In the meantime, he'll be working out in Durham, lifting weights and working on his game with other current and former Blue Devils.
Smith, a first-round pick in the 2011 NBA draft, recently compared himself to Sam Bowie and Greg Oden.
During his exit interview with media members, Smith made it clear that he doesn't expect to be back.
Future with Blazers: "I think it's pretty obvious that I'm a free agent. They made that pretty clear. ... I think we can say that [I won't be back here next year] but I can't see the future. I don't know what they're thinking. We'll see what happens. ... They have a path that they want to go down and it's pretty obvious I'm not on it right now."
Desired situation: "Just playing. A playing situation. In this league, I've had a chance to watch a lot of games. Playing time makes a big difference, three minutes or 20 minutes, it's a big difference."
Blazers GM Neil Olshey echoed that.
Neil Olshey: I think Nolan needs a new environment. Nolan is an NBA player but bringing Eric Maynor in, the moniker of being a first-round pick was tough for Nolan to overcome. He's a great kid, he did everything we asked him to do, he's going to be on an NBA roster next year, but he more than anyone needs a change of scenery, he needs to start fresh.
Back in March, he intentionally stuck his finger into his nose while on television.
Smith, 24, averaged 2.8 points, 0.9 assists and 0.7 rebounds in 7.2 minutes per game in 40 appearances this season. He posted a PER of 7.1.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter