Blazers GM Neil Olshey addressed the media to wrap up the 2012/13 season, and we've got the highlights below, courtesy of Ben Golliver of Blazer's Edge..
What went into the decision behind waiving Jared Jeffries?
"Jared was well aware that we were always going to have to waive him. He was part of a sign-and-trade where we had to do three years. His second year would have been guaranteed within five days after the end of the season. We felt it was appropriate to handle while he was here. He was a player that we we were going to have to renounce anyway to create the maximum amount of cap room. As we told Jared, we'll look into it again at the end of the summer. If we have a need and he doesn't have a job, it's something that we can discuss. Right now, where this organization is going, we need every ounce of cap room we can get to create the best roster possible."
What improvements do you need to make this summer?
"It's obvious. We had a tough time protecting the rim, we had a tough time giving up points in the paint. That's not an indictment of J.J. Hickson, we asked a 6-foot-9 power forward to play center every night in a league against the Marc Gasols, Roy Hibberts, Dwight Howards, etc. Even last night against Andrew Bogut. J.J. performed admirably but that's a hole we need to shore up. We've got to get our interior defense better. That's my job, whether it's by draft, trade or free agency, to make sure that's not a hole that Terry walks into next training camp having to address."
Does players recruiting other players actually work or is money the overriding factor in free agency decisions?
"Max money to max players is always a good idea. [Recruiting] is big, guys want to play with guys who are about the same stuff and who are trying to win. The best voice for your organization is your players. How they're treated, the resources they have, how they're coached, how they prepare for games, how aggressive the front office is, how invested the owner is.
All of those things, LaMarcus Aldridge has a larger sample size of anyone in the organization, he's been here the longest, and I think he knows that Paul is going to drive anyone who works for him to build this as quickly as possible. If LaMarcus can embrace and endorse what we're doing, there's more credibility there sometimes than a general manager who is recruiting or a coach or his agent who is negotiating the deal on a player to player level. I think that the bigger, stronger advocates of guys like Damian, LaMarcus and Nic can be for us, the easier free agent recruitment will be for us."
Will you tender a qualifying offer to Eric Maynor?
"It's more strategic than complex. Eric has a very significant cap hold. We really like Eric. We made the moves because we want him to be a part of our future but there are realities to how strategically we can maximize the amount of room we have, the mini-mid level that we have and the draft pick. Who knows? Our roster may look far different come July 1 which can affect what we do as well. Eric, Andy Miller, everybody knows we are going to maximize every tool that we have knowing that we are taking into consideration that we want Eric back with us."