This afternoon, Portland Trail Blazers President Larry Miller went on 95.5FM The Game for an interview with The Bald Faced Truth host John Canzano. Here's a link to the show's website where you'll be able to download a podcast of the interview later today.
Miller sounded as focused and confident as I've heard him. He addressed a number of topics: the team's search for a new general manager, recent interviews with candidate Danny Ferry, the team's approach to free agency, Miller's message to fans, how far away the team is from competing for a title, and the latest on negotiations between Comcast television and dish providers.
Miller said the team is "moving with a sense of urgency" to fill the GM position but, at the same time, he said the team would "take our time and make the right decision." He called Ferry a "thoughtful" man and said he seemed well-equipped to pursue the team's goals of improving via trade and free agency. Probably the funniest moment of the interview came when Miller equated hiring a GM and pursuing free agents to "walking and chewing gum at the same time."
Click through for a transcript.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter
"I can tell you that we have interviewed and talked with Danny. And it went well."
Did Ferry meet with Paul Allen in Seattle?
"I don't want to talk about who he's met with but he's met with a group of folks here from the Trail Blazers. It was a good interview. I think Danny fits what we're looking for in terms of skillset. It went good."
Your thoughts on Ferry?
"Well, I think he is very thoughtful, he seems to think through the things he wants to do. That came across clearly in talking with him. I think he is analytical but I also think there is a passion there for the game of basketball. Danny is a person who's been around the game his entire life. His dad is a GM and he played ball in college, Europe and in the league. He has a passion for hte game and that comes through loud and clear."
When do you hope to have the position filled?
"We've never set a deadline out there. That's never been our approach. We're moving with a sense of urgency with a goal of getting someone in place as soon as possible but at the same time we're going to take our time and make the right decision."
Will you interview other candidates?
"We do have plans to talk to other people. There are people who have been in our pipeline and we plan to talk with them as well... We really are looking at more than one person. We want to talk to more than one person and we want to make the best decision in terms of who is going to lead this team."
What's the next step to improve this team?
"We're a good team right now. Our goal is to get better. Our goal is still to compete for a championship... For us that is mainly going to come through free agency or trades, that's how we'll make our team better and get to the next level. That's what we're looking for when we look to hire the right person."
Free Agency starts tonight. Who is in charge and how are you handling it without a GM?
"Mike Born and Chad Buchanan are driving that process for us. Nate is involved. I'm a little bit involved. We sat down yesterday and spent some time looking at free agents and thinking about who we might want to target. Those guys are driving the process and I'm supporting the process where I can and Nate is also involved."
Is it tricky to manage things in free agency without a point person in that GM spot?
"I think we are focused on free agency and what we need to do to get better. At the same we have a search going on. As in life, as in business, we sometimes need to walk and chew gum at the same time. And we're capable of doing that... Any opportunities that are out there in free agency we will absolutely take advantage of."
Do you have goals in place for next season?
"We're always thinking that's what we want to do. I think for me what I'd like to see us do is get this GM role filled... then we can all sit down and determine what our goals are for the coming season."
Can we say Brandon Roy is untouchable?
"I would say we could. Yeah, yeah I would say that. We're not looking to trade Brandon."
How far away were you guys to competing with the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers?
"I think one of the key factors for us is injuries and health. Had we been healthy throughout the entire season... I think we could have been right up there competing. I don't want to say we would have been better than the Lakers but we could have competed with the Lakers and possibly beaten them. We've got the parts, we've got the pieces in place to compete for a championship... It's kind of hard to say "Could we compete with those teams?' when we really didn't have a healthy roster this year."
Do you understand the frustration from fans that you let Kevin Pritchard go after you just said you have all the parts in place to win a title?
"I do understand the frustration. There are things that go on behind the scenes that fans and people that arent a part of the organization don't see or understand. Kevin did a really good job helping to build this team... I would just ask that they have confidence in the rest of us that we are going to continue to build this, to continue to make this better. Our goal is to win a championship and I don't think we're going to lose sight of that goal."
What is the latest update on the negotiations between Comcast and the satellite providers to carry Blazers games?
"I really do feel confident that we'll have something resolved by the start of the season. We're doing everything we can to make that happen. This is something that bothers me more than anything else. I was a DirecTV customer and I had to switch."
-- Ben Golliver | email@example.com | Twitter