With the 2012 draft just three days away, Trail Blazers GM Neil Olshey spoke to Portland media today about his plans for Thursday, along with a few other topics. Among the tidbits Olshey dropped: The team has agreed to a new multiyear contract with salary cap guru Joe Cronin, whose old deal was set to expire this weekend (Twitter link via Joe Freeman of the Oregonian). Ben Golliver of Blazer's Edge provides a transcript of Olshey's comments, so let's dive in and pick out a few more key quotes….
On whether the team is ready for Thursday's draft:
"[Today's workout] is the last workout…. We're just going to second-guess ourselves about 50 times between now and Thursday night. Yell and scream in the Draft room and then be convinced at about 4:45 that we absolutely made the two right picks and everybody else can tell us we made the two wrong picks."
On whether the Blazers will keep both lottery picks:
"Right now, we are. Right now, we've got No. 6 and No. 11. That's where we stand…. I may walk back in there and have three voicemails that completely change my mind. But right now, what we're going to get 6 and 11 in this draft will set up the best course of action for us going forward. That's not to say that two minutes after the draft you don't do something. I think right now, relative to where we want to go, we have a better chance of getting there using 6 and 11 than just doing one-offs to bring guys in and conveying the picks."
On meeting with former first-round pick Joel Freeland over the weekend:
"We had a really nice time with Joel. We got to see a couple of practices. We had a nice dinner with him. He played against Lithuania, which was great, because they've got [Jonas] Valanciunas and Linas Kleiza and some former NBA guys. He had a good game, he played really well. He sounds interested in coming over and we're interested in having him. It's just a matter of making sure we can work it out where his role on the team and where he fits in roster composition wise, and where his salary slot fits in, works for both of us."
On whether adding Freeland will affect the team's draft strategy:
"No. Joel is another really good player. What we've tried to do is position him, where he would be in this draft. He's still a young guy and value him accordingly…. But we're going to take the two best players that we think can grow with the existing group of guys we have here. If you have redundancies at a position but they're strong — I go back to seven months ago, that I had too many point guards [with the Clippers] but by the time the playoffs rolled around I only had two of them on the floor. As long as guys can play, it doesn't matter what position they are at."