Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen met with reporters this evening before the team's final game, expressing his disappointment about the Blazers' failure to make the playoffs as well as his belief that the team is nonetheless headed in a positive direction. Allen had plenty more to say, and Ben Golliver of Blazer's Edge provides a full transcript. We'll pass along a few highlights here:
On GM Neil Olshey and coach Terry Stotts, both in their first year with the team:
I think they are both doing a very good job. Obviously the end of the season, injuries can really get you. Wes (Matthews), Nic (Batum) and (LaMarcus Aldridge) having some issues. That can always — especially when you don' t have as much depth as you would like. I think you saw Terry institute that new brand of basketball to start out the season and I think compared to styles we've had in previous seasons, I think it's refreshing, unselfish style. In terms of what Neil did, we did very well in the draft, there's no question about that. I think getting Eric Maynor at the trade deadline that was a nice move. We're positioning ourselves for the future with cap room, draft picks, flexibility. It's going to be a very interesting offseason.
On his approach to the luxury tax:
Well, I'm not going to be a repeat offender with the multiplicative tax. That's something we'll try to stay, we'll be moderate, we're not going to be like the big-market teams that are paying the tax when they're in a championship window. People should understand, big markets have a huge local cable deal and can afford it when you're in a championship window, otherwise those taxes are so punitive they'll have their desired effect.
On the fight over the Kings between Sacramento and Seattle:
I think the league announced that there wasn't going to be a decision at this owners meeting. If there was, I'd be back in New York talking to people, forming my opinion. I think it's a tough call. While I supported the Sonics staying in Seattle when they ended up leaving, I think in general there's some feeling that if there's good fan support and there's good political support sufficient to have a state of the art facility, that's more than enough reason to keep a franchise in the same place. Then you can get into all the parameters of who has made the best offer, who hasn't made the best offer. It's a very difficult thing. Steve Ballmer is a very good friend of mine and I think he would be a great owner. I reserve my final decision.