Jorge Sierra of HoopsHype.com interviews Portland Trail Blazers forward Nicolas Batum and asks him about ongoing trade rumors surrounding All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge as well as recent comments made by Jason Quick of The Oregonian about Batum.
There have been these rumors that [Aldridge] has privately demanded a trade from Portland...
NB: I heard that too and I laughed when I read that. He doesn't want to get traded, he wants the team to get better. LaMarcus is a winner.
He has told you that?
NB: I mean, I know that's what he wants. We had two bad seasons and missed the playoffs and wants the team to improve. I think he didn't ask for a trade. He wants to stay and win with the Blazers. He just wants a better team around him so we can get back to the playoffs.
I don't know if you read this interview with Jason Quick, the Blazers beat writer for The Oregonian. He talks about how he was pretty disappointed with the players and he mentions you specifically. Any comment on that?
NB: I heard about it. I don't really care about that. If he wants to talk about us like that... I don't really care, I don't focus on that. He's just a guy who left and got a job somewhere else. He's not with the team, I don't really care what he says about this. It's not my problem.
Quick recently announced that he was leaving the Blazers beat to cover the University of Oregon's football team. In an interview with Blazersedge on Tuesday, he mentioned Batum's 2012 free agency as a tipping point for him in terms of his frustration with covering the NBA.
"One thing that really hurt was last summer. As far as, 'Why am I doing this? Why am I spending so much time...?'
"Nicolas Batum was probably one of my favorite players on this current team. I felt like we had a really good relationship. When he was going through all that crap, the Minnesota stuff. I ran into him downtown, right there at Director's Square, by the waterfalls and stuff.
"During the interview, his agent Bouna [Ndiaye] calls, what a piece of work he is. Bouna asks him what he's doing and he says, 'I'm talking to Quick.' Bouna tells him, 'Don't, stop talking to him, don't run anything.' Nic gets off the phone, he says, 'My agent doesn't want to run what I just told you.' It was basically the same thing that he told David Aldridge about a month or so later.
"He said, 'But when it comes time, you'll be the first person I'll call.' We shook hands, he put his other hand on our two embraced hands, and he said, 'Trust me. Trust me. Have I ever done wrong by you?' I was like, "Nic, I don't know about this. You said this was on the record and you're asking me not to do it.' He's like, 'Quick, trust me. Have I ever done wrong by you?' His hands are over our hands shaking.
"For the rest of the summer it was nothing. I had his number, texting, calling, all that. The next training camp, he gets back, I don't talk to him. I didn't talk to him until the second game of the year, all through training camp, media day, I didn't say a word to him. He was asking Joe, 'What's wrong with Quick? Is he mad at me? What's going on?'
"Finally we talk in Oklahoma City. He had a s---- game. You can go back and look at what I wrote. He said, 'Are you mad at me?' I said, 'Yeah, you know exactly why.' He said, 'I know, even my girlfriend said it's not right. I'd never been through something like this. My agent was telling me this.' At the end, I got over it.
"It was just like, 'Why trust these guys? Why have faith in these guys?' If there was a guy I trusted and had faith in being a good person it was Nic. That was like, 'What am I investing so much time into this for?' I've given a lot of time to this beat, that was a real... that was when things really started shifting for me."
On Wednesday, Quick wrote a follow-up piece about his departure from the Blazers beat for The Oregonian.
Meanwhile, Aldridge's name has been in trade rumors throughout the summer.
Blazers GM Neil Olshey recently said that Aldrige is "happy."
Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com reported that Aldridge's representatives met with Blazers GM Neil Olshey in Las Vegas to discuss trade possibilities.
Olshey told Blazersedge in July that his discussions with Aldridge would remain private, but that Aldridge was "pleased" with Portland's 2013 offseason.
Blazers coach Terry Stotts told Blazersedge in July that he's received no indication of unhappiness from Aldridge this summer.
Earlier this summer, Aldridge told multiple media outlets, including The Oregonian, that he had not gone to management to demand a trade.
"I haven't demanded a trade," Aldridge said in the e-mail.
"I'm looking forward to who we sign in free agency to make us better," Aldridge said in the e-mail.
Aldridge also replied "no" to a fan asking on Twitter asking him whether he was leaving the Blazers.
Kerry Eggers of the Portland Tribune reported that Aldridge told a reporter that he did in fact go to Olshey to request a trade.
Haynes previously reported that Aldridge "loves Portland" but is interested in a trade if substantial improvements to the roster aren't made. The Chicago Bulls and Dallas Mavericks were listed as his desired destinations.
Quick reported that Aldridge "wants out" of Portland and believes the city is "too small" and "too boring." Olshey was quoted as saying that he wasn't making outgoing trade calls about Aldridge but that he would listen if the phone rang, and that Aldridge hadn't yet issued a trade demand.
Hat tip on the find to Casey Holdahl, Blazers.com
PS Thanks to JP503 in the FanShots.
-- Ben Golliver | email@example.com | Twitter