Here's a full transcript of comments made by Portland Trail Blazers president Larry Miller, Acting GM Chad Buchanan and coach Nate McMillan during a press conference at the Rose Garden on Monday afternoon. Highlights below. Everything is direct quotes in the grey boxes. The person to whom the question was addressed appears in bold above the question.
Larry Miller: Opening remarks
"Thanks for coming out on short notice. I know last week I had an opportunity to spend some time with you, get mobbed by you guys. We've been really, all of us have really been very, very busy. But these two guys have been spending a lot of time getting us ready for the start of the season. We now have players coming in which is great. We can actually hear basketballs bouncing out at the practice facility which is a good sound."
Nate McMillan: Describe the roster?
"I like my roster. I think we have a team that for the most part is in their prime. We have a second unit that could possibly be young. I like the moves that we made earlier. Bringing [Ray] Felton, adding Felton to our team. A young guard that's in his prime, along with Wesley [Matthews], Brandon [Roy], LaMarcus [Aldridge], Nicolas [Batum] and then we get fairly young with our guards, Armon [Johnson]. But I like this group."
Chad Buchanan: How do you see the roster looking on opening day given free agent contact?
"First off, before we get going, I want to thank everyone for being flexible. Because of the lockout we had some restrictions on what we could say. I appreciate that with all of you guys. I think we are limited with what we can do with our roster. We've had a lot of discussions with a lot of representatives out there. We feel pretty confident that we can add a player through free agency that's going to help us. Obviously we have a need in our front court. I think we'll be able to address that through free agency. We've had a lot of good discussions with some players that we have respected, feel that can fit in seamlessly with our team. Nate is on board with a lot of these guys as well so we feel pretty good about where we are right now."
Chad Buchanan: Have you had anybody in town?
"We have not. With the shortened window this year, not very many guys are making visits this year. We've had a lot of discussions, Nate has spoken with a few guys today, today was the first day we were able to communicate with players. Over the last four or five days we've had a lot of discussions with agents."
Chad Buchanan: Will there be a signing Friday?
"Possibly. Until we get to that spot... frankly right now we can't talk any sort of contract matters, as far as coming to any sort of agreement until Friday. We can have discussions about our interests and that's kind of where things are at with agents. People know where we stand, how we feel about players but until Friday comes, we can't discuss anything as far as coming to an agreement."
Chad Buchanan: Discussions with Brandon's agent
"We had a great meeting with Brandon today. All three of us. Brandon is in a great spot. I think he feels good. Excited about the season. He told us he feels, compared to where he was at last year heading into the season, and where he's at right now, [his] body feels good. We've talked to his agent quite a bit. He felt good about our meeting walking out of there."
Chad Buchanan: No resolution?
Chad Buchanan: Amnesty decision?
"We expect Brandon in camp on Friday and we are excited to see how he looks just like the rest of our team."
Larry Miller: Amnesty decision?
"I would just say, as I said last week, we have made no decision on amnestying Brandon. Right now our plan is that Brandon is going to be a part of this team when we start training camp and hopefully when we start the season. We had a great meeting with him today. I think we all came away feeling good about where Brandon is. His level of excitement about coming into the season, his level of commitment wanting to help make this team better all came through in the meeting we had with him. Now, when training camp starts, we'll see Brandon out on the court and we'll take it from there."
Larry Miller: So he said all the right things?
Larry Miller: When do you have to make the Amnesty decision?
"We still don't know that yet."
Nate McMillan: How do you adjust to compressed schedule?
"I think depth becomes even more important. Right now we have 19 back-to-back games. 2 of those back-to-backs will be three games in three nights. For the entire league, it's going to be a challenge. We play just about every other day. To me it's almost like Major League Baseball. Your practices are going to be your games. The days you have off are going to be days to recover. Pretty much, after you leave training camp, the first seven, eight or nine days, there's not a lot of practices for the rest of the season, because we will be playing just about every other day. Depth is going to be important. We want to try to address some of that in free agency and that's going to be important to try to have efficient practices where you get a lot done in a short period of time. We talk about that."
Chad Buchanan: If Roy is at practice, you would not have the full Mid-Level Exception. Do you expect o use the full Mid-Level Exception or a portion of it?
"Right now, we expect Brandon Roy at practice on our roster on Friday so that would drop us down in our free agency pool, the amount of money we have to spend. We're going under the guidelines that we don't have a full Mid-Level. Like I said, Brandon is going to be on our roster come Friday so we're working on that amount of money right now."
Chad Buchanan: Does a trade become more likely than signing someone at the mini-Mid-Level Exception?
"We are looking at everything right now but I think we're more geared towards trying to sign a free agent big man. That's what's we've been locked into for about the last six days. Whether that's a full mini-Mid-Level type player or a minimum player, that's to be determined, which player we bring in here."
Larry Miller: Brandon will be in camp. Will you say now that you will not use the Amnesty this year?
"I'm not going to say that to make it definitive but at this point our plan is for Brandon to be a part of this team going forward. He will be in training camp and hopefully he can show us what he can do and be a part of the team."
Larry Miller: What goes into that decision?
"Nate is going to be the one watching it. We would not [have] made the decision to amnesty Brandon Roy without looking at every single factor involved. That being where he is mentally, where he is physically, what's best for the team, what's best for Brandon. And at this point we have no decision to amnesty Brandon. The plan at this point is for Brandon to be a part of this team."
Nate McMillan: Will Nicolas Batum start?
"One of the things that you have to look at is Brandon going back into that starting lineup. That's something you didn't see last year due to medical reasons. Brandon is feeling better so Brandon back at the two position is something that I'm leaning towards and making our adjustments from that."
Nate McMillan: What did you hear from Brandon that made you think he can start again?
"He feels good. He feels better. I mean, Brandon is an All-Star. Because of what happened last season, we had to make adjustments as far as minutes, limiting his minutes, trying to get him back to the floor to be productive. We felt at that time, I mean, we, Brandon, myself, Dr. Roberts, [Trainer] Jay [Jensen], we had to limit his minutes to try to make him productive. Bringing him off the bench was the role we kept him in. But we have not seen him back in the starting lineup. He feels much better now and that's something I'm going to take a look at."
Nate McMillan: Do you have hope that Brandon Roy can recapture his old form?
Larry Miller: Interjecting into same question
"One thing that Brandon said today was that he feels much better coming into this season than he does coming into last season. His knees feel much better. I think one of the things that we... Brandon will be available and you will be able to talk to him soon. From what he told us today, it sounds like Brandon is ready to play."
Larry Miller: Face-to-face meeting?
"Face-to-face. In Portland."
Nate McMillan: Roster imbalance?
"Well, we'll have to make that adjustment. I think this roster is a good roster. Last year we had to juggle and make adjustments because of injuries and the fact that Brandon, we didn't know if he was going to have surgery, he ended up having surgery. When he returned, we didn't know when he was going to return, how many games he could play. We know now that he feels much better.... I thought Wesley stepped in and did a very nice job at the two position. We know what Nic can do out on the floor. Nic stepped into a role when Gerald was traded to us. He was really good coming off the bench. With this lineup we do have a little bit more depth if Brandon is in the starting lineup or if we rotate Brandon into that second group. It does give us a little more balance and it gives us depth when you have Wesley and Nicolas possibly coming off the bench. We hope big Greg Oden will be a part of that."
Chad Buchanan: Could Greg Oden practice before the first exhibition game if he gets a favorable medical report?
"No. Greg Oden has three options right now. The qualifying offer is on the table for Greg which he can choose to accept, at that point he would be in camp practicing with us. Obviously he can entertain an offer from another team and we'd have three days to match. Right now where he's at physically I wouldn't anticipate him on the court practicing at the start of training camp if he's with us."
Nate McMillan: Can you anticipate how Brandon Roy will hold up over the course of a season?
"We can't. There's no way. Brandon is well aware of the schedule and what is out in front of him. This will be possibly an adjustment that we will have to make once we get into the season. Right now, that plan is to play him. There's no restrictions on playing him. I haven't been told him we can't play him. I should expect him on back-to-back games. That's the approach we're going to take. We're hoping he can be productive out there. If not, we'll have to make adjustments as we did last season."
Chad Buchanan: What did Roy do during the offseason to get right?
"Brandon made the comment that last year he was coming off of a surgery so coming into the season last year he felt little tweaks here and there in his knee. I think we saw a little bit last year at the beginning of the year that he was a different player. Has knee surgery, comes back from that during the season and was never quite back where he wanted to be. I think he had enough time off resting his knees, went through his normal workout routine that he does during the normal offseason up in Seattle with NBA players, college players. He just made the comment to us that he feels really good right now. He's tested his knee in workouts, it feels very strong, he feels a lot different this year heading into camp than he did last year and he's very encouraged how his knees feel right now."
Chad Buchanan: Did he mention that he was willing to come off the bench?
"Brandon made it clear that he wants to do whatever is best to help this team win and that's what you would expect from a person like Brandon. Very receptive to whatever role he ends up."
Nate McMillan: Interjecting same question
"And that includes coming off the bench."
Larry Miller: Interjecting same question
"His confidence level is very high. He's feeling really confident and that's a good thing."
Nate McMillan: Seeing LaMarcus today
"It's been so long since I've seen these guys. I just wanted to hug him. It's like seeing your son. Going to the gym, a couple of our guys showed up, you hear the ball bounce, and you peak out there and it wasn't our guys, it was Steve Blake. It's good to see our guys in the gym, back, and know that they are getting started. Just excited to get going. We are, they are. Had reports a lot of guys were in the gym last night, so that's a good thing."
Nate McMillan: Want to see more development from LaMarcus?
"For us this year it's going to be important that LaMarcus continues to improve. It's going to be important that Wesley and Nicolas, that they improve their games. They bring more to the floor. Felton is [an] unknown on the team this year. Can we get to the tempo and what tempo will that be with Ray Felton as opposed to Andre Miller? And Brandon... if we can get Brandon back to being consistent with what he does out on the floor, and know what he can do, I just like where we are. Same with the big guy. Greg. Getting him out on the floor and getting some consistency from our guys. LaMarcus has to raise his level of play. Last year he pretty much became the go-to guy for us. Nothing changes, we are certainly going to stay in that direction. I do feel that Nicolas and Wesley and Brandon, those guys ... will help us get into the playoffs."
Chad Buchanan: Talking contract extension with Nicolas Batum?
"Yes, we've already begun. Starting out with his agent. We'll likely have until the start of the regular season to do something along those lines but we're talking about all options with Nicolas right now. Obviously we look at him as a big piece moving forward. It's still early on."
Chad Buchanan: How committed are you to Greg Oden in the face of potential multi-year offers?
"Kind of like Nicolas, we view Greg as a big piece of our organization going forward. We've shown a lot of commitment to Greg both on and off the court and I think Greg feels like he has some unfinished business here. Long-term, we've talked about a lot of different things with his agent, exploring all options at this point, obviously Greg has options to be considered as do we. I think Greg is at a good place mentally right now. Once he gets back on the court it's going to be an adjustment period after a major injury but I think he's in a good place right now. The doctor reports have been very positive and we've been told that Greg is very anxious to get back out there and prove himself. This is a big season for him, it's his chance... he told us before the lockout he has unfinished business with us."
Chad Buchanan: You're not expecting him ready for camp?
"This doctor check-up, I would not anticipate him being cleared to practice on Friday. I think that's highly unlikely. I think theoretically [if he was cleared] I don't anticipate it happening but if he were to [be], he could sign his qualifying offer at 12:01 AM and be eligible for practice. But I highly don't anticipate that happening."
Larry Miller: Interjecting
"But we wouldn't be upset."
Chad Buchanan: When do you anticipate him being able to practice or play again?
"It's kind of.. during the lockout, the calendar is a little different this year. Friday we can begin signing or coming to agreements with free agents. Greg is a restricted free agent so beginning Friday he could begin entertaining offers from another team. As I said before, we have three days to match that offer or not match that offer. I think the earliest Greg could sign a contract, a qualifying offer or an extension with us potentially on Friday or it could be as late as Sunday if he gets an offer as a restricted free agent.
"As far as his timetable for return, we're going to support Greg. When he's ready to play, he's ready to play. We're not going to put a date on his return. Greg is in a good place with his recovery, his mindset, we want to continue to support him and when he's ready to step on the floor, we'll know he's ready."
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