During Media Day at the "Moda Center" on Monday, an impassioned Portland Trail Blazers GM Neil Olshey addressed ongoing trade rumors surrounding All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge.
Rumors around LaMarcus Aldridge
"Oh dear God, would you guys get over it? How many -- asked and answered. Thank you [to Chris Haynes], by the way. What else, guys? Show me a media report where LaMarcus Aldridge has said anything other than, 'I hope the team improves, I'm excited about what we did, I want to get better and I want to win.' Then we can have a conversation. Until then, let's move on. OK? Is that possible.
"It's not breaking news, dude. We covered it in July. Guys, let's talk about something, someone has got to have a better question than that."
How was your summer?
"Thank you. LaMarcus and I went hunting and fishing and talked about Portland. Lord. I would avoid that one with him because you may not get as congenial of a response, because the redundancy of it is wearing on everybody a little bit."
Fans still wonder about it
"Why? Why do they? What have they read that has indicated anything other, here's Ben Golliver from Blazersedge, who basically copies and pastes every article that's written about everybody about the Trail Blazers. Which he does and it's great.
"And the entire string that Ben showed, right, the entire string around LaMarcus, other than one, said, 'I want to get better. I want to win. I want to be on a playoff team. I don't want to go through a rebuild.' Right? 'I like what we did this offseason. I haven't given Neil a chance yet. I like what we did. I like the additions. I'm excited about coming back. I never asked for a trade.' Every one of them. So I don't know where you're getting this from? Where? Where are you getting this from? Guys, move on."
Renewed motivation from LaMarcus Aldridge?
"I don't think LaMarcus's motivation ever waned. The guy averaged 21 [points] and nine [rebounds], he was a two-time All-Star, led us in scoring and rebounding, barely missed a game, was on the floor the last night of the season after we were eliminated and had 30 and 20. Where would he need to be reengaged? If LaMarcus can get 30 and 20 every night, he can be whatever he wants to be.
"Look, if LA wasn't happy, he wouldn't be here. He's got a really good team around him, we've supported him with veterans. We've continued to do what we need to do in terms of bringing young talent in here. We've kept our long-term flexibility, we have the ability to aggregate our assets and put those into play, if it gets to that point, where we can put another star around him and Damian [Lillard] and some of the other guys.
"If there was an issue with LA, don't you think somebody nationally would have gotten to this? He's represented by the most powerful agency in the business. Don't you think somebody nationally would have gotten something if the guy wasn't happy and didn't want to be in Portland?"
Here's video of Olshey's comments via CSNNW.com.
Aldridge said Monday that he was "happy" in Portland and that this summer's reports were "blown out of proportion." Here's a transcript of his comments.
Mindset entering season
"I'm good. Had a good offseason. Healthy. I feel good. The team looks really good right now. Guys are ready to go."
Rumors during offseason
"I'm here. I'm excited about the season. We're looking good, I'm in great shape, I had a great offseason of getting my body ready to go, I'm healthy, I'm happy that I had a full offseason. I'm happy to be here, I'm here, and we're going to win. That's all I have to say about that."
What do you want to see from the team to stay long-term?
"I'm not going to get into all of that. I'm here, I'm happy, I'm looking forward to this season. This team looks really good. We have a better bench, we have [Robin] Lopez, who is a true center. This year should be good for us."
Why frustrated last year?
"It was just frustration because I'm a winner. I want to win. We weren't winning, I was frustrated and things got blown out of proportion. That's it."
Difficult to know that rumors were swirling?
"People that know me know that I never said any of those things. All of my teammates that I'm close with, Wesley [Matthews], those guys called me, they knew it wasn't true. It's just the job. Whenever people think you're unsatisfied, or things happen, they're going to make up stories."
Aldridge's name was in trade rumors throughout the summer.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports said recently that Aldridge rumors should subside.
"I think [Aldridge] is going to be in Portland in the foreseeable future. I don't know what leverage he has right now. He's got two years left on his deal. A lot can change in two years in the NBA, a lot can change in one year. Listen, at the end of these two years, maybe as a free agent, he decides to leave, maybe Portland moves him at the trade deadline before he leaves, before he can leave.
"But I don't see them... I just don't think Neil Olshey will trade him for pennies on the dollar. If there's a star attraction, if there's a guy they can bring back, a guy to build around, of course they'll do it, but I don't know if LaMarcus Aldridge is commanding that kind of value out on the market right now. Certainly there are teams who want him, but what are they willing to give up?
"I think he's going to be in Portland, certainly the team is going to be much improved this year. I think they have a chance to compete for the playoffs and, by the way, he's got to play at a very high level for them to do that. I think he can want to be somewhere else but he can increase his value by playing really well for them this year. I think that will quiet down because Portland has not shopped him or put him out there, and I don't think they're going to do that."
Aldridge told Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports in August that he was "extremely frustrated" by Portland's 2012-13 season but that he hasn't asked for a trade.
Blazers' [LaMarcus Aldridge] tells Yahoo Sports he was extremely frustrated with last season but not to the point where he asked for a trade.
"I wasnt ready to make a move yet. I was just frustrated in the moment. I haven't given Neil (Olshey) a chance yet," [Aldridge] told Yahoo.
Aldridge told Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com in August that he doesn't want to be traded.
CSNNW.com reported that if moves weren't made to your liking, you would prefer to be moved. Was that accurate?
"Yeah, but I don't have to worry about that because we've added some good pieces this summer and I'm looking forward to working with them."
Prior to those interviews, Haynes previously 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. Olshey said in August that Aldridge is "happy" and "excited" and that he sees the team's plan.
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 who asked him on Twitter 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.
Jason Quick of The Oregonian reported before the Draft in June 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.
Back in May, Aldridge offered this assessment of his standing with the Blazers.
LA: You know, as of now I'm here and we have a great team. I'm here now and we have a team that can definitely get better next year and we have cap room so we can bring in players. So I'm definitely here, and we'll see what happens.
During his April exit interview, Aldridge suggested it could take two years for the Blazers to return to the playoffs.
Where this team is headed: "This year was a down year. I think it was better than what people thought it would be, it ended bad. I think if we add one or two pieces this summer and we have one OK season, I feel like that following season we should be good, really good."
Timeline for improvement: "I think just getting into the playoffs isn't good. I've done that. I think one year of maybe, barely getting in or not getting in, and that next year we should be able to really be serious about it."
Here was Blazers GM Neil Olshey's response to Aldridge's exit interview comments.
I don't think you can speculate today because I don't know what free agency is going to bring, I don't know what the draft is going to bring, I don't know what trades are going to bring. But I know we're going to do everything we can to build the roster. To sit here and put an artificial expectation on what a roster may or may not be when you only have eight returning players and you haven't drafted yet or gone into free agency doesn't make a lot of sense.
But I do know from L.A.'s perspective, we talked, and he knows we're going to be aggressive in building the roster. I'd like to think the improvement from the guys who are already here on top of the guys we're going to bring in will make us a factor faster rather than later.
Aldridge, 28, is under contract through the 2014-15 season. He averaged 21.1 points and a career-high 9.1 rebounds last season.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter