In an interview with Jorge Sierra of Hoopshype, Nicolas Batum said he likes what the Trail Blazers have done during this offseason and thinks a playoff berth is the most realistic goal for the team heading into this year. When asked about rumors that LaMarcus Aldridge had privately requested a trade from Portland, Batum had this to say: "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
Asked if Aldridge had told him that directly, Batum continued: 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."
Here's more out of the Western Conference tonight:
- Helene Elliot of the Los Angeles Times touches base with Clippers head coach Doc Rivers on the team's high expectations this year, how he's reached out to his players this summer, what he wants to carry over from Vinny Del Negro last season, and what he'd like to change.
- Kevin Arnovitz and Jordan Heimer of ClipperBlog join ESPN.com's Henry Abbott and Ethan Sherwood Strauss, along with Royce Young of the Daily Thunder to talk about how the Clippers will fare next season (ESPN LA's Clippers podcast).
- J.A. Adande of ESPN praises the election of Chris Paul as union president, saying it "signals a level of commitment to the union by prominent players that hadn't existed in recent years." He also looks at what Paul has positively brought to the Clippers organization as a promising sign of how he can effectively lead the NBPA.
- Hoopsworld's Jabari Parker believes the Lakers can win between 44-47 games next season and thoroughly discusses how the team and the franchise overall should function in order to get back on track.
- The purple and gold also unveiled their new black alternate jerseys for next season (hat tip to USA Today).