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Full Court Press

Remember back to the pre-draft workouts when Nate McMillan was already plotting his August getaway?  Well he didn't wait long: 4 and a half hours into August 1, Nate was standing in line at PDX checking in for the first flight of the morning.  How do I know? I was in the same line. Don't worry, it was pure coincidence, I didn't stalk him down in a farmer's market or anything. Anyway, with that, we've officially entered the doldrums and reading is light this week.

Nothing to do this weekend? Roll up to Seattle for a meetup with me and Kevin Pelton.

Here is the ultimate Kix Pix, courtesy of Dwyane Wade's new sponsorship with Jordan brand.  Sick.

Marc Stein tweets a little more about the rumored Lamar Odom contract offer...

Expected to hear more about Lamar Odom's press conference and the team he promised not to name that came in with a "gracious" late offer

All but confirms scenario reported THURS: Portland indeed made a run even though that would have required some wheeling and dealing

Let's face it: LO wasn't leaving LA. But POR was apparently prepared to give away a contract like Outlaw's to a cap-room team to make a play

In what might turn out to be the NBA news of the week, Geoff Calkins reports that the Memphis Grizzlies have disbanded their college scouting department.

This season, the Grizzlies will have no full-time college scouts. Booth, West, Manning, Jones and Selacek are all gone.

A couple of them fled the building; a few more were let go. The Grizzlies will use a part-time scout to help them keep on eye on players in Europe. They do not plan to make any hires.

"We had a restructuring," said Wallace, and I guess you could call it that.

The Grizzlies restructured their scouting department the way the city restructured the old Baptist Hospital. With well-placed dynamite.

John Krolik with an outstanding look at the rise and fall of Stephon Marbury.

When most people read The Last Shot, they're struck by how arrogant the 14-year old Marbury was. Although the other three players in the book were seniors on the Lincoln team, Marbury, as a freshman, was easily the boldest of the quartet; he'd talk his game up without the slightest provocation, talk trash on the court, needle the seniors about their shortcomings and futures as players, and make decrees regarding his own future success. (After the article was published Marbury, furious about the way he was portrayed, reportedly vowed to change his ways and conduct himself in a more professional manner.)    

Must ReadTom Ziller of Sactown Royalty really blows minds with this post, in which he examines how much money each King would make based on their production rather than a pre-set salary.

Rob Oller of the Columbus Dispatch writes that Greg Oden is thinking about his next dollar?  Really?

"It's one of those seasons where I have to prove myself. You go through your rookie season and most rookies by the end of it are where they want to be," he said, explaining that because of his initial knee surgery he considers his second season to be his rookie season. "By the time I was getting there, I got that second knee injury right before the All-Star break and never got back to where I was. So this next season is to show what I can do.

"And it's also a contract year."

Jason Quick wih the final update from the Monty Williams to Minnesota coach odyssey.

"It was a really good experience for me. David was really good to talk to,'' Williams said. "But sometimes, it's good to hear 'No,' because in this profession, we have so many people catering to us and telling us how great we are. But I think this will definitely keep me sharp.''    

The biggest (?) question of the offseason: Jason Fleming asks, how much is LaMarcus Aldridge worth?

There is very little discussion around the worth of Roy, nor should there be. Max money, no questions asked. But how much should the team pay Aldridge? We noted this morning that Aldridge is looking for something starting at $12 million while the Blazers would probably prefer something about $9 million to begin.

For reference, a maximum contract is currently $13,520,500 - 25% of the cap number - for players with six years of less of experience. (Meaning if Portland gave both players max deals, that would be half of the salary cap number for 2010-11 - just saying.)    

Mike Barrett writes about Miller vs. Blake.

Mike Rice asked our guest, Andre Miller, an interesting question- "have you ever been on a team where you weren't a starter?" It didn't take Miller long to simply say "no." As a follow-up question, Brian Wheeler said, "have you ever been on a team where you weren't on the court at the end of a game?" Miller again said, "no."

Miller, however, backed up both answers by saying that he's a guy who will do anything necessary to win, and said it's all about the team.    

If you're still incredulous about the whole "Blake over Miller" thing, you're not alone: multiple observers at Miller's Tuesday Press Conference scoffed at the idea that Nate would actually follow through and start Blake once the season kicks into gear.

Dwight Jaynes agrees.

I think Miller is the better player. After all, that's why they went out and got him, isn't it? And I'd want to start the game with my best guys playing together - and get them as many minutes together as possible.    

Dwight Jaynes also looks at Przybilla versus Oden.

if Oden is going to improve, if he's going to be perceived by referees as a legitimate player worthy of being allowed to play his game without cheap fouls, for him to improve as much as possible, he MUST be the starter. And really, he wasn't taken No. 1 overall to be a backup center.

Isn't that really a no-brainer? I mean, Joel Przybilla wasn't invited to the U.S. National team mini-camp, Greg Oden was.

Feels like deja vu from last year as Wendell Maxey looks at the small forward quagmire.

Much is being made of the upcoming point guard battle heading into training camp, but Miller versus Steve Blake isn't the marquee match-up: leave that to small forwards Martell Webster, Travis Outlaw andNicolas Batum. With Webster back and if he's healthy, is Batum still a starter? Or will Webster win the position, allowing Outlaw and Batum to benefit the Blazers - especially if they run - best within the second unit with Batum at the three and Outlaw at the four? That's the real discussion.

And now, for some video...

Contrary to an earlier report, Carlos Jimenez reports that Pooh Jeter is still out there looking for an NBA deal and has not signed with a Spanish team.

I just finished summer league with Portland and I feel with the performance I just had, I can play in the NBA. I came off the bench for Portland and when I got in the game, I showed energy and leadership. I averaged 12.5pts and 4.6asts with Portland so hopefully I caught some eyes of NBA General Managers and top teams in Europe. It only takes one team to give you an opportunity. Coach Nate McMillian and the coaches wanted me to bring energy, get respect from my teammates, and just be myself. I would like to thank God and Portland for the opportunity to showcase my skills in Summer League.    

John Canzano's top 25 list of Influential people in Oregon Sports reads like the Blazers Media Guide: Paul Allen (2), Brandon Roy (5), Larry Miller (7) Darius Miles (8), Nate McMillan (10), Kevin Pritchard (12), Sarah Mensah (17), and Cheri Hanson (20) are 8 out of the top 25.  Then there's Tom Penn, LaMarcus Aldridge, Greg Oden, Bill Schonely and Mike Golub, who are all current or former Blazers employees that made the honorable mention list. 

As always, please drop links in the comments and be sure to frequent the fanshots.

-- Ben (