Trail Blazers GM Neil Olshey is preparing for this month's draft much differently than he would have with the Blazers, as he pointed out in an interview on Trailblazers.tv yesterday. Whereas the Clippers have a single second-round pick in the draft, the Blazers hold four picks, including two in the lottery. Olshey spoke to the hosts of Trail Blazers Courtside about draft preparation, roster construction, and the team's coaching search, and Casey Holdahl of TrailBlazers.com provides the transcript. Here are some of Olshey's more interesting comments:
On whether the team plans to keep both of its lottery picks:
"We're open to anything right now. Clearly we have a lot of roster flexibility. We have two very valuable picks in what is a deep draft. There are a lot of starters in this draft. I don't know how many superstars there are but there are definitely NBA-caliber starters. We're going to exhaust every resource we have. We're going to be on the phone generating deal flow. I've received some calls and made some calls already, kind of looking at where other teams may be vulnerable or have some hot-button issues they may want to address where we could improve our roster and accelerate our success curve."
On what players or positions the Blazers will target at sixth and 11th overall:
"Well look, it's cliche but it is best player available. I think that the point that this organization is at right now is an asset acquisition phase. We've got to rebuild our assets and at that point, either guys are going to make your team and contribute because they were drafted or you're going to be able to use those assets to generate a deal to bring players in from the outside from other organizations to rebuild the roster…. I think everyone has to look at the draft as a player acquisition vehicle and the more assets you can acquire in this league, the more flexibility you have to build the roster and accelerate the growth to become more successful quicker…. That's really what the draft is about. It's not about filling needs."
On calling other teams to discuss trades:
"I think everybody went to Chicago and you really want to get a feel where other teams are in their process. There are teams looking to go younger and acquire picks, there are teams looking for veterans because they feel like they're closer. You get as much of that information as possible, you come back and meet with your staff and you use that intel to target the goal of your phone call."
On the head coach search:
"I don't think that's right on the priority list right now. I think the guys that are available are still going to be available. But I think it's important to remember, when you do a coaching search, it's very important that you know what kind of a team you're searching for the coach for. We just don't know that right now. The roster composition is in a state of flux. Depending on which way we take this team will dictate what kind of coach we're looking for in order to target the search."