Portland Trail Blazers GM Neil Olshey addressed his team's present and future in a letter to fans this week.
The letter, which was marked "From the Desk of the General Manager," was mailed out and individually addressed to season ticket holders. Olshey discussed the Blazers' progress over the last two seasons, this year's hot start and his long-term vision, while also cautioning against "unrealistic expectations." He refers to Portland as a "very good team at this point" that is striving to become "elite."
Here's a full copy of the letter.
Please let me start by thanking and acknowledging you for your patronage and unwavering support by being a Portland Trail Blazers Season Ticket Holder.
Many things about Portland and the Trail Blazers have made a strong impression on me during my first two seasons in Rip City, but nothing more so than our ravenous fan base and, in particular, that of our Season Ticket Holders.
In large part, It was you, our fans, and our owner Paul Allen, that made me realize the passion in Portland is different than any other market in the league, and that we needed to accelerate our transformation into a playoff team. This was and continues to be our goal for this season.
Even with as much faith as we had in our roster, nobody could have predicted we'd get off to one of the best starts in franchise history, and it's certainly a step in the right direction. However, it's only one step.
I've talked a lot about building a sustainable franchise. There are many factors that go into that, including, but not limited to: successful asset acquisition, free agency, the NBA draft, trades, etc., all while maintaining the cap flexibility to make moves now and in the future. I believe we're a lot closer to achieving that than we were, but we're not yet where we want to be. It's a process that will take time and patience.
We're a very good team at this point but our goal, and the goal of our owner, is to be an elite team. We will not settle for just making the playoffs, but strive to be a factor in the playoffs on a consistent basis. You don't have to look much further than our two All-Stars, LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard, to believe we're on our way.
The exciting brand of basketball that Terry Stotts has us playing this season has led to wins over the NBA's best. Every time we step on the court we battle right down to the final buzzer, showcasing the "no quit" attitude of each and every one of our players. These are all positive signs of growth, and it only stands to get better.
There is an inherent risk in getting off to the hot start that we did. It can lead to unrealistic expectations, because if there is one thing we know about the NBA, it's that there are ebbs and flows to every season. However, I choose to look at it as a great jump start to becoming an NBA Playoff team again. That is the first significant milestone in our quest for sustainability.
I feel confident in saying that we're on our way to achieving our goals, both on and off the court. It's been a fun ride to this point and it's only going to get better.
The final and most important piece of becoming the franchise we all want to become is the continued support of you, our valued Season Ticket Holder. You are the foundation of the franchise and your support is our barometer of how we're doing as a team.
Thank you for your commitment to excellence and GO BLAZERS!
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter