Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen regaled his team with an emotional speech regarding how proud it made him by overachieving this season, Jason Quick of CSNNW.com relays. “What he said came from the heart,’’ point guard Damian Lillard said. “You could hear it in his voice. He really meant what he was saying. He saw that we left it out there, and he saw how bad we wanted it. And he felt it, he felt what we did.’’ The players noted that the owner’s faith in them never wavered, even when the team struggled early in the campaign, Quick adds. “All owners aren’t connected to their teams like that,” swingman Gerald Henderson noted. “To a lot, their teams are just an investment. But he is committed and invested into the team, not just with his money. He is a clear basketball fanatic, a Blazers fanatic. I think he loves his players, and that’s pretty cool.’’
It remains to be seen just how impressed Allen was by Portland’s 2015/16 campaign, as the team is reportedly set to open extension talks with coach Terry Stotts this summer. Here’s more from the Northwest Division:
- Allen Crabbe is excited about his upcoming restricted free agency this summer but had all positives to say about the Trail Blazers, his incumbent team, in exit interviews today, notes Erik Gunderson of The Columbian (Twitter link). Henderson, who’s hitting unrestricted free agency, was a reserve this season for the Blazers but said he places less of a priority on starting than he used to, instead favoring a chance to win and play a role that fits, Gunderson tweets.
- The Jazz want to arrange interviews and workouts with University of Utah center Jakob Poeltl and Weber State power forward Joel Bolomboy, as Walt Perrin, the team’s vice president of player personnel, told Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune.
- In response to a fan’s question on Twitter, soon-to-be unrestricted free agent Jared Dudley noted that the Timberwolves‘ young roster reminded him of the Bucks’ and that he could envision himself playing in Minnesota next season if the team is interested in his services.
- The Wolves interviewed former North Carolina power forward Brice Johnson today, Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN relays (via Twitter).
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.