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Today's Practice Report: Sergio Speaks and more

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Wacky, wacky day at practice today.

First things first.  As you can see below, KP very publicly talked with Sergio after practice for upwards of 15 minutes.  

Bling. You have one message in your inbox.  It reads: KP is in charge and he's got this.

After the discussion, KP jetted back to his office without taking questions and Sergio addressed the media.  

Sergio took questions for almost ten minutes, by far the longest I've seen him speak to the US media this season. Curiously, no Spanish media was in attendance at practice; there were camera crews at last night's game.  

Sergio mentions in this interview that he is frustrated. He wears that frustration all over his body and face.  His eyes were moving around quite fast, he wasn't making eye contact, and there was an emptiness there.  He is not happy.  He wants to play so badly.  His humanity is evident, he wears his heart on his sleeve.  It makes you feel for him.

About halfway through the questions, Rudy saw the crowd around Sergio and came over, bouncing around behind reporters' shoulders trying to get a smile out of Sergio.  He had a mischievious grin on his face, as if he thought he could lighten Sergio's mood.  Sergio either didn't see him or ignored him and Rudy left to return to the training room for treatment.  Sergio was just kind of in his own zone. 

The following is the best transcription that I could provide of Sergio's media Q and A.  The vast majority of these questions were asked by Jason Quick; some were asked by KGW's Joe Becker and The Columbian's Brian Hendrickson.  

Be sure to keep an eye out for Quick's takes on this evolving story. Inevitably, he will have the latest, best information.

I have paraphrased the questions but tried to leave the answers as close to verbatim as possible. Sergio apparently contradicts himself a few times; I would chalk that up to the emotion of the moment and the depth of his frustration. Also, the language barrier.

So, what's up?

I've been here for three years. It's not about me playing 8 minutes or 20 minutes, it's about the circumstances. I think the moment is the moment. I feel bad, I feel frustrated.

During the game were you upset?

After the game and during the game I was happy. Before the game I was ready. 

Why did you leave the bench?

Because I had an emergency.

Number one or number two?

Number one.

So you are frustrated about your playing time?

It's not only playing time. I've been here for three years. I really love everything. I think I am not in the plans that Coach has.

Have you tried to talk to Coach?

We had a hard start of the season and I didn't want to talk to him before, during the Lakers. I think I played a good preseason, I felt good, I been working all summer long, for put myself ready for the season.  After the first game, I am asking many questions to myself. I don't think I'm good right now. I feel bad.

So do you want to be traded?

I mean. I told him last year and told everybody here that I want to play. I think this is a really good spot. I really love everything here.  But I cannot be 3 years playing the same, be the third point guard for 3 years. I got to try other things.

That's sad.

That's very sad. At the beginning I really liked playing here. Right now, I enjoy playing here and playing in the Rose Garden and enjoy playing with my teammates, I think it's a great locker room, it's a great everything here. But the thing is the team.

What did KP tell you?

Kevin has been good with me for everyday that I've been here. We have honest conversation. I just want that, honest conversation, and they've got to tell me what's going to happen and what's happen. So I'm asking questions.

If you say, I want a new situation, what does KP say?

He's got to look out for what's best for the team. And I understand. He's got to look out for what's best for the Blazers and I understand.

What did he tell you?

If he thinks that it's best for the Blazers for me to be here, I'm going to stay here. If it's not the best thing for the Blazers, then he'll trade me.

Can you continue on like this playing 10 or 11 minutes?

Again, it's not about minutes. Of course it's about minutes because if I played more minutes I would be more happy. But it's not only about the minutes, it's about feelings. I don't feel that I'm doing the things I have to do.

It's not about minutes, it's about feelings?

It's also about minutes. I am frustrated about everything here. I don't know if I play good or I play bad. What I have to do. What I don't have to do. 

Coach says he has an open door, have you used it?

We've been talking. Last year we talked. The year before we talked. We talked at the beginning of the season. We talked before the Utah game. He told me, "you're going to play." I was waiting for the right moment to talk to him. The day off that we had. But I didn't meet with him. 

Does your playing style fit here?

I think it could fit. It could fit. But I don't think it's fitting right now.

Would you fit better with a team that ran the ball more?

You never know.  I feel good when I play with the second unit, with Rudy and Channing and others.

How do you see your future playing out?

I don't know. I'll continue being professional. I told everybody here I love here and I keep working and I think I improve in the two years I've been here. I continue with the team and hoping the team and wishing the team win every game. And help the team.

If you don't get playing time, what are your options?

I don't know. I don't have to worry about that. My feeling is that they've got to worry about that.

How do you think you're playing this year?

I thought way more better than the last two years. I have been working during the summer. I feel I need some free time. Enjoy. Enjoy playing basketball because I really like this sport.

Would you ask for a trade?

I mean, I am frustrated because I don't feel I can figure out the rotation on the team. 

What has Coach told you what your role will be?

I talked to him before the Sacramento game. He told me that I'll play with the second unit. I tried to do my best to change the tempo. That's what he said.

Have you talked to him since then?

Yeah but I try to do it.

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Aside from the Sergio drama, I talked to Coach briefly about Aaron Brooks' play last night and whether smaller guards might give us trouble if Rudy/Roy are in the backcourt together.  He wasn't about to commit to anything.  Here's what he said.

Blazersedge: How did Brooks do last night and how did you try to play him?

He's quick. We knew he had a lot of speed. We wanted to stay in front of him. He's been playing well for Houston. So the main thing was to stay in front of him and not give him lanes to the basket.

Blazersedge: How did Rudy do at that?

He tried to use his length. He gave him a couple of steps.  I think he did a nice job just staying in front of him.

Blazersedge: Do you have any concerns about playing Brandon and Rudy at the same time on the defensive end?

All of this we are trying to work out. We are seeing different combinations. Right now we don't really have that set combination. We are trying to work some things out and see if certain guys can play together.  Things that we can do with those groups.  So it's still really early where we are trying to smooth out some things with our guys.

Blazersedge: Batum guarded Parker in San Antonio, is that something you might go back to as well? How'd he do in that role in your eyes?

It wasn't bad. We put him on Parker. He gambled once or twice and lost Parker but we wanted length and he was doing a good job in that game of moving his feet.  Again, we are going through different situations because of the new guys and the guys I'm familiar with, we are trying to make some adjustments to see what certain guys can do in certain situations.

Blazersedge: Any favorites so far?

Again, it's really early.

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A few other random notes...

  • Brandon was still basking in the glow of the shot, doing one interview after another.  Dude is so legit. I love it.
  • I believe I heard word that Rudy will be a game-time decision tomorrow due to his back injury last night.  He was getting ice and treatment today.
  • Asked about KP meeting with Sergio, one Blazers employee said, "He's doing his GM thing.  That's why they pay him the big bucks."  
  • When I entered the gym (I was a bit late), practice had been called but the second unit guys were playing a fierce game of 3 on 3: Sergio, Frye and Shavlik vs. Bayless, Batum and Ike.  Bayless smells blood -- he was going after Sergio hard.  Everybody was dripping with sweat.  Both Bayless and Sergio were tugging on their shorts they were so tired.
  • During Sergio's talk with the media, Bayless was on the far side of the gym, talking with Coach Monty one on one.
  • Batum also got in some extra shots after practice today and then did a lengthy interview with a French journalist.  Boom Boom is internationally known on the microphone.
  • Last but not least: Brother Wendell at HoopsWorld spoke at length with Coach McMillan about Sergio and other topics. Nate talks about how players should air their grievances...  "If you are unhappy come to me. Don't let me read that in the press because I don't control what you say to the media. If you have a problem or if you are upset about something, I'm here. Let's talk about it. Whatever you want to say, bring it to the office and let's talk about it. Let's talk about why you are not playing or why you are wanting to be traded. We've had conversations about roles. If you are unhappy with your role, then that is something different. My door is always open."
-- Ben (benjamin.golliver@gmail.com)