Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen said that the team has moved on from the loss of LaMarcus Aldridge to the Spurs this summer, and that he is excited for what the future holds for the franchise, Joe Freeman of The Oregonian relays. When asked if he felt betrayed by Aldridge, Allen said, “No. I think LaMarcus had a lot of options. We went down to Dallas, [GM] Neil [Olshey] and I pitched him and he chose to go a different direction. We made it to his last few choices and he was good enough to call me up and explain his decision and all that. It’s tough for a franchise, because we were all thinking that we had a real shot at getting him back. But in the end, he chose to go a different direction and now it’s a new day. We’ve moved on and I think you can feel the excitement and the energy in the gym now.”
Allen said he enjoys the process of developing younger players, which makes the team’s current transitional period easier on him, Freeman adds. “It’s always a transition. I’m always trying to figure out how many times we’ve done a rebuild here. I think three. But you guys will probably correct me on that, I’m sure. I probably, more than a lot of owners, enjoy seeing young players develop. Always have. Always will. And that’s also been a hallmark of other teams like the Seahawks that I’ve been involved with. So seeing young players develop and I think if you watch some of the players that Neil has brought in here, we’ve been very lucky to be able to bring those in and be able to pivot from being a playoff team to being a team that’s going through a transition to hopefully being back in the playoffs before too long. So we’ll see.”
Here’s more from the Northwest Division:
- The deals that Talib Zanna, Dez Wells, and Julyan Stone signed with the Thunder are all one-year, minimum salary arrangements that include no guaranteed salary, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets.
- Omari Johnson‘s pact with the Blazers is a one year deal for the league minimum and includes no guaranteed salary, Pincus relays (via Twitter).
- Difficulties between Kenneth Faried and former coach Brian Shaw negatively impacted the forward’s performance for the Nuggets last season, Mark Kiszla of The Denver Post writes. “If you don’t have a coach that believes in you, then what’s the point of going out there and playing?” Faried said. “If your coach doesn’t have faith in you and puts you out in the fire against all these great players, you’re going to get torched.“
- Kevin Durant is a fan of new Thunder coach Billy Donovan, Anthony Slater of the Oklahoman tweets. Of Donovan, Durant said, “Great basketball mind, but more importantly, a better person. We’ve hit it off.” With Durant eligible to become an unrestricted free agent next summer, any added incentive for him to remain in Oklahoma City is certainly a boon for the franchise.
- After a breakout season in 2014/15 for the Jazz, Gordon Hayward needs to become a better closer at the end of games in order to take his next step forward as a star player, Aaron Falk, Tony Jones and Steve Luhm of The Salt Lake Tribune write.