Portland Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts was interviewed by CBS Sports' Jim Rome this week, discussing his team's identity, expectations and the uncertain long-term future of All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge.
"No," Stotts said, when asked if Aldridge had committed to him for the long-term. "I think in this business everything changes. He hasn't said that, and he hasn't said he wants to leave either. I think like a lot of players in this league, it's year-to-year. I know a lot of players say, I've heard players say they want to be here long-term and that changes. I think regardless, I think it's important that he's happy here and that he wants to be here."
You can watch the video right here or at the bottom of this post.
Here's a transcript of the interview.
Well, it's evolving right now. I know what I want it to be. I want it to be a consistent team on the defensive end. I think you're going to see us continue to improve on the defensive end. I want us to be solid, not necessarily cause a lot of turnovers, but be solid defensively.
Offensively you're going to see us pick up the tempo a little bit, shoot threes, get LaMarcus [Aldridge] the ball on the block, play a lot in flow, I'll call some plays. A lot of what I feel with our Dallas team when I was there as an assistant, I'd like us to emulate that a little bit.
I don't ever think he was in a bad place this summer. I thought he was frustrated by the way the season ended. Obviously he wanted to be part of a winning team. He's in the prime of his career. By all accounts, he's doing great. He's gotten off to a great start with us as far as the efficiency and scoring, and I think he's in a very good place.
Has LaMarcus Aldridge told you this is where he wants to be long-term?
No. I think in this business everything changes. He hasn't said that, and he hasn't said he wants to leave either. I think like a lot of players in this league, it's year-to-year. I know a lot of players say, I've heard players say they want to be here long-term and that changes. I think regardless, I think it's important that he's happy here and that he wants to be here.
I think the culture of our team has changed. Robin brings certainly a defensive mindset to it, a toughness, a seriousness to the defensive end. He's committed to playing team basketball. I think that rubs off on everybody. LaMarcus -- it helps that he has a big center behind him. He had Joel Przybilla and [Marcus] Camby, having a defensive-minded center beside him takes a lot of the wear and tear off of him at both ends of the floor.
Well, I think the goal is always going to be the playoffs. But I don't want to be content with just the playoffs once we make it. We win 33 games last year, to make the playoffs this year obviously you need to get into the mid-40s. I think it's important we stick to the process, but the playoffs, we don't want to shy away from that being our goal or expectation.
Best team you've ever had?
Personally this is the best team I've had as a head coach. I don't think that's even close in my mind. Obviously I've been involved in Seattle, Dallas and Milwaukee with some very good teams. I see a lot of potential with this team, it's still young. The potential is certainly exciting.
He always had a confidence about him, but he's even more confident about what he can accomplish in this league, not only this year but going forward with his career. His attention to the defensive end has been remarkable. He's taken a lot of pride in his defense in practice and games. He knows how important it is to do what we need to do, for us to be better defensively. He's taking that personal challenge.
Criticism of Lillard's defense last year warranted?
Not to that extent. There's a tendency in society or in sports to pick away at someone's shortcomings. Obviously he's such a talented offensive player, he did a remarkable job as a rookie. In some ways it was historical in what he did. If there was a criticism, it was going to be his defense, which is to be extended for a young player. But I didn't think it was nearly as bad as people heaped on him a bit.
Spending time with Seattle Seahawks and Pete Carroll
I didn't know Pete at all before going there. I appreciate how he turned around the Seahawks. That was my biggest takeaway. He's very competitive by nature, I thought there was some similarities between him and me as far as our poersonalities. He's very upbeat and positive, outgoing, a player's coach. He's a basic fundamental football coach. Team defense, running the ball, not a lot of outside-the-box, he believes in the basic fundamentsl of the game. That was probably my biggest takeaway.
Aldridge was interviewed by Rome in October.
Earlier this week, Aldridge reiterated that he was "happy" in Portland and said that Portland's coaches were "too strict for me" last year.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter