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."
The Trail Blazers have officially released Jared Jeffries, the team announced today (Twitter link). While the timing of the move may seem unusual, considering the Blazers' season is over, Jeffries' contract for next season would have become guaranteed had the team not cut him within the next five days.
Jeffries, 31, was acquired by the Blazers last July as part of the sign-and-trade deal that sent Raymond Felton to the Knicks. Jeffries also had to be signed-and-traded as part of the transaction, which meant he had to be signed to at least a three-year contract, although the Blazers only had to guarantee the first year.
Earlier this week, Jeffries told Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com that he didn't expect to be retained by Portland, and would likely seek another team that would have more playing time for him. With the Blazers this season, Jeffries appeared in less than half the team's games and set career-lows in many statistical categories, including PPG (1.2) and MPG (9.2).
Blazers owner Paul Allen spoke to reporters this evening about the offseason for his team, which begins tomorrow, and it seems one decision will have to be made fairly quickly. Jared Jeffries is under contract for the next two seasons, but neither is guaranteed. Next season would become guaranteed if he's not waived by the fifth day following Portland's final game this season, according to Mark Deeks of ShamSports. Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com believes it's likely that Jeffries won't be back, judging by the 31-year-old's lack of playing time this season, so it appears the Blazers could be cutting him loose soon. Jeffries wants to remain in the NBA next season, however, and tells Haynes that he'll be looking for more playing time wherever he winds up.
As we wait to learn the fate of Jeffries and others as the offseason begins for nearly half the league, there's plenty more NBA news:
Here are the latest updates from around the Northwest Division:
The latest updates out of Portland from Trail Blazers training camp on Friday evening:
THURSDAY, 1:42pm: Mark Deeks of ShamSports clarifies that Felton's deal with the Knicks is for four years and about $14.86MM, with a fourth-year player option.
MONDAY, 4:13pm: The trade is official, according to a Blazers press release. The Knicks receive Felton and Thomas, while the Blazers get Jeffries, Gadzuric, Papanikolaou, Printezis, cash, and a 2016 second-round pick. As ESPN.com's John Hollinger points out (via Twitter), the Knicks can't be sending more than $1MM to Portland, since they already sent $2MM to Houston in the Marcus Camby deal.MONDAY, 7:59am: A few more details of the swap, courtesy of Jason Quick of the Oregonian and Howard Beck of the New York Times: The Blazers will acquire Jeffries, Gadzuric, Papanikolaou, and Georgios Printezis, and cash from the Knicks, with New York also paying for Jeffries' 2012/13 salary, which appears to be for the veteran's minimum (Twitter links). Felton, meanwhile, will earn $10.5MM on his three-year deal (Twitter link).
SUNDAY, 11:37am: According to a tweet from the Oregonian's Jason Quick, the Knicks might be sending Kostas Papanikolaou to Portland along with an undetermined amount of cash to help pay Jared Jeffries' $3.1MM salary. Papanikolaou is a Greek forward who was selected by New York in the second round of the 2012 NBA draft.
SATURDAY, 9:53pm: The Knicks are set to acquire Raymond Felton from the Trail Blazers in a sign-and-trade deal, reports Frank Isola of the New York Daily News (via Twitter). The Blazers will sign Felton to a three-year, $10MM contract prior to completing the trade. Forward Kurt Thomas will be joining Felton in New York as the Knicks will send Jared Jeffries, Dan Gadzuric and a 2016 second round pick to Portland to round out the deal.
In addition to receiving Thomas and Felton from the Trail Blazers, the Knicks will also acquire the rights to two players currently in Europe. The Knicks now face the decision of matching the Rockets' offer sheet to Jeremy Lin or allowing the former Harvard star to leave for Houston as Felton becomes New York's latest starting point guard.
The acquisition of Felton will provide the Knicks with a seemingly cheaper alternative to Lin as the third year of his offer sheet from the Rockets was designed to be cost prohibitive. While it appeared Lin was destined to return to the Knicks regardless of price, the Knicks may simply not believe that the 23-year-old is worth the money being offered to him by the Houston. Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News suggests that Lin may not even want to play in New York, which would be reason enough for the Knicks to reconsider making such a heft investment in the young guard (via Twitter).
Felton, 28, enjoyed success with the Knicks during his first stop with the team during the 2010/11 season before being trade to the Nuggets as part of a package to acquire Carmelo Anthony. The former Tar Heels star averaged 17.1 PPG and 9.0 APG in 54 starts with the Knicks under then head coach Mike D'Antoni's tutelage. Felton's play fell off after landing in Denver and continued to struggle when he was traded to the Trail Blazers after the 2010/11 season. His time in Portland saw the veteran guard average a career-low 11.4 PPG as he started nearly all of his team's games.
For the Trail Blazers, receiving anything for Felton, an unrestricted free agent, serves as an added benefit for the franchise as it crafts a new identity. Look for Portland to waive Gadzuric and use Jeffries as a defensive specialist off the bench.
The return of Jeremy Lin to the Knicks seemed to be more of a sure thing than Michael Jordan smoking a cigar on the golf course merely 24 hours ago. With the Knicks set to add Raymond Felton to their backcourt through a sign-and-trade with Portland, Lin's future in New York remains unclear. The Knicks have until 11:59pm (EST) on Tuesday to make up their mind and will reportedly take the entire time allotted before announcing a decision. We'll keep track of all the latest rumors and news surrounding the offseason version of Linsanity with the latest news on top.
The Knicks will meet with free agent center Marcus Camby in the next few days, but a source told Marc Berman of the New York Post that it won't be in New York. The get-together will likely take place in Las Vegas as coach Mike Woodson is already there with assistant GM Allan Houston for the U.S. Olympic Team practices. More out of MSG..
The Knicks are currently battling the Pistons at Madison Square Garden after winning five of their last six games under new head coach Mike Woodson. While the team's fortunes are currently looking more favorable since the departure of Mike D'Antoni, the Knicks' schedule becomes more difficult with upcoming games against Orlando, Chicago and Miami. Let's take a look at the state of the Knicks as they look to improve their playoff seeding heading into the season's final stretch.
With 15 points, eight assists and two steals three quarters into his first start as a Knick, Jeremy Lin is making a strong case to cool some of the point guard trade rumors surrounding Madison Square Garden. Beyond Lin, the uncertain state of the Knicks roster has occupied NBA conversation in the wake of new and old health concerns as well as personal tragedy.
Here are a few evening items on the Knicks as they lead the Utah Jazz 75-73 through three quarters of play: