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Blazers find place at ‘The Table’

Kaman, Davis, Leonard organize place for players to discuss hot topics

By Erik Gundersen, Columbian Trail Blazers Writer
Published: January 17, 2016, 8:29pm
2 Photos
Portland Trail Blazers center Ed Davis, front, pursues the ball with Denver Nuggets center Jusuf Nurkic, center and forward Kenneth Faried in second half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016, in Denver. Portland won 112-106.
Portland Trail Blazers center Ed Davis, front, pursues the ball with Denver Nuggets center Jusuf Nurkic, center and forward Kenneth Faried in second half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016, in Denver. Portland won 112-106. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) Photo Gallery

While on the road this weekend, a group of executives within the Trail Blazers will solve the world’s problems before breakfast.

“The Table” is an otherwise normal breakfast table but is transformed into a board room by its “CEO’s” and specific rules.

The ground rules are made up by the CEO’s: Chris Kaman, Ed Davis and Meyers Leonard.

“On the road, we leave shootaround and we have a time to talk until 10 minutes ’til we have to give (gear) back,” Meyers Leonard said. “We go have breakfast. Probably five tables, five, six chairs. It’s always been me, Ed (Davis), (Chris) Kaman, Pat (Connaughton) — that was our first four.”

“All the conversations are just random,” Davis said. “It might be something going on in the world. ‘How do you feel about this situation?’ ‘How do things go on at your house?’ ‘How were you raised?’ ”

After the original table formed, it expanded to include Al-Farouq Aminu, Mason Plumlee and Gerald Henderson.

Being accepted to The Table means you cannot be on your phone, unless you are looking up a fact that has been brought up in an argument. The other rules are that one must stay at the table until a conversation has come a close and one’s attendance must be consistent.

It’s part college discussion course, and part meeting.

“The big thing is you can’t be on your phone,” Davis said. “This generation now — it’s text message, text message. You go certain places and everybody is on their phone. So that’s our main rule. You can’t get up until it’s that time to end the conversation.”

Rookie guard Pat Connaughton was also an original member of the table, but he’s a rookie and thus not eligible to be the CEO. His presence at the table can also be in jeopardy.

“Pat he’s one of the guys who is in there,” Davis said. “Sometimes he gets booted out ’cause he a rookie, you know.”

“We got a lot of guys that want to be accepted in the table but they can’t,” Davis said. “You got guys like Gerald who always fight to get in there and sometimes we won’t fight to let him in. Chief one of the guys you usually get to see. Mason was in there, but he got booted out for being inconsistent.”

After joining, Plumlee broke one of the two rules of the table by going back between tables too much for the liking of the table’s corporate overlords.

“It’s like being a Democrat or a Republican. You got to pick,” Connaughton said.

Connaughton is saying all the right things and playing his place on the depth chart.

“Life isn’t very tough for the rook at the table,” Connaughton said. “I get a lot of stuff blamed on me. But I have enough of a personality to be able to give it back without looking like a smartass ‘rook.’ It’s fun. I enjoy it. It’s good conversation.”

He also knows who he has to impress to make his life a little bit easier.

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“For the most part, it’s always fun when we’re talking about something and it’s fun for me when I bring up a point that the majority of the people don’t agree with and Chris Kaman and Ed Davis agree with and they back me up,” Connaughton said. “That doesn’t happen that often.”

Gerald Henderson was added to the table at midseason after recovering from hip surgery.

“I fight through a lot of adversity sitting at the table,” Henderson said. “The table group wasn’t even ’til this day they always have something to say to me when I’m at the table.”

Henderson added: “Kaman is going to give you a hard time about anything.”

Even the team’s stars are not exempt from the rules.

“We got guys like Dame (Damian Lillard) who want to get in there, but he just not ready for it,” Davis said. “We got a guy like CJ (McCollum) who wants to say his little things here and there, but he gets ignored.”

Kaman has also been known to give pointers to younger players, but basketball is probably the topic they cover the least when they’re at the table.

They could be talking about racism, marijuana legalization, a current event, cars, the difference in contracts between the NBA and the MLB, guns, why Connaughton is allowed at the table. Whatever.

As for the opinions of those at the table, that’s a privilege only those at the table can know.

“You learn,” Davis said. “It’s certain things that some guys know and you know certain things that guys are more educated on than you. You figure people out a little bit, how they think, how they might react to certain situations. You learn and it’s good bonding.”

Columbian Trail Blazers Writer