PORTLAND — The Blazers introduced their newest acquisitions Monday, but most of the focus centered on who they likely won’t acquire.
A series of reports indicated that Indiana will match Portland’s 4-year, $58 million offer to restricted free agent Roy Hibbert, meaning the All-Star center wouldn’t be coming to the Northwest.
Blazers general manager Neil Olshey refused to comment on Hibbert directly, saying that the free-agency moratorium period, which lasts until Wednesday morning, prevents him from doing so.
What Olshey did say, however, was that there wasn’t another free agent on the market that he thinks can “move the needle” in terms of wins and losses.
“It doesn’t go very deep, strategically,” said Olshey when asked about his back-up plans for free agency. “I interviewed on this platform, to go after one major guy, a big-time piece, and we put all our chips in trying to get him.”
Olshey followed that comment by saying that he did not take the job for “quick fixes,” and that the focus now turns to trade scenarios, where Portland can acquire a center that will not inhibit the development of newly-drafted big man Meyers Leonard.
Another report floating around is that Blazers restricted free agent Nicolas Batum is not happy in Portland, a rumor being perpetuated by his agent. However, when Olshey was asked if Batum didn’t want to return to the Blazers, he responded quickly: “Why wouldn’t he want to come back here?”
Olshey then added: “Restricted free agency is a nightmare.”
Miller comments on resignation
Former Blazers president Larry Miller discussed his decision to step down after five years on the job to return to Jordan Brand, the Nike affiliate where he served as president before coming to the Blazers.
Miller refuted rumors that said he was displeased with the hiring of Olshey, and reiterated his stance that it was the right time to leave the organization given the “good hands” it was in.
Olshey, meanwhile, confessed that Miller’s resignation “caught me off guard.”
“Larry is the perfect president because he knows basketball, he knows how important it is, he does everything on the business end to make sure we have all the resources we would need,” Olshey said. “He also has major connections.”
Olshey was then asked if he was interested in becoming president.”How about I worry about doing this job before I worry about getting another job? You’ve got to be kidding me,” Olshey said. “I was an English major. I can’t even do an excel sheet. I have no idea what presidents do. I just find players.”
Coach search almost complete?
So now the Blazers are currently without a president or head coach, although the latter seems to be a more pressing issue.
Olshey said he hadn’t zeroed in on one particular candidate, but plans on doing so very soon.
“I can tell you we’ve vetted all the candidates. We’ve got our list. I’ll have some clarity for you guys by the end of the week in terms of names that will be on the interview list,” Olshey said. “Right now, I plan on conducting those interviews in Vegas. It’s the atmosphere most conducive to a search.”
Matt Calkins can be contacted at 360-735-4528 or email@example.com