Blazers’ woes give McMillan some sleepless nights

Attention at training camp begins to return to basketball

By Matt Calkins, Columbian Sports Reporter

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TUALATIN, Ore. — No new injuries. No surgeries or procedures on the horizon. The only real health concern the Trail Blazers had to endure Saturday was their head coach’s insomnia.

“I thought the no sleep would come during the season,” Nate McMillan said. “But I haven’t slept in 48 hours.”

The past couple days have no doubt been replete with news that would keep anyone tossing and turning throughout the night. From Brandon Roy’s retirement, to Greg Oden’s medical “setback,” to LaMarcus Aldridge’s heart procedure, Portland has taken its typical health woes and marked them with a fluorescent highlighter.

A few years ago, the aforementioned trio was considered the core of a potential championship organization that, just last season, ESPN listed as the franchise with the biggest upside.

But now, they are a team still searching for an identity. “It’s no question that we have to look at where we go from here. You don’t just lose an All-Star in Brandon Roy and not look at ‘OK, are you rebuilding? How are you going to do it? And what moves would you have to make?,” McMillan said. “And you have to look at what Greg’s situation will be. When will he return? Will he return? We have to look at all of that.”

But McMillan also expressed confidence in his current roster, singling out players such as Gerald Wallace, Raymond Felton, Wesley Matthews, and Nicolas Batum.

The thing is, besides Matthews, those players are either in the last year of their contracts or have a player option for next year.

“I’ll worry about that this summer,” McMillan said with a grin. Matthews will, too. Asked about the team’s roster instability, the third-year guard said that he wasn’t even aware of his teammate’s contract situations.

“I didn’t know any of that,” he said.

What Matthews does know is that he has players with him now, and that’s all he’s worried about. The 25-year-old also defended his younger teammates.

When the subject of a more up-tempo offense came up Saturday, a reporter asked Matthews if the Blazers had the depth to run for 48 minutes.

“We have plenty of depth,” Matthews asserted.

And when the reporter replied that most of the depth lacked experience, Matthews fired back, “depth is depth.”

Matt Calkins can be contacted at 360-735-4528 or matt.calkins@columbian.com