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Friday , Apr , 20 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

Sources: Mitch Kupchak to interview with Blazers

Kupchak is one of the Blazers' top targets in their quest to land an executive with experience running a franchise's basketball operations, sources told ESPN.com.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Mitch Kupchak, things are weird with the Los Angeles Lakers.

The owner’s son, Jim Buss, is your boss despite having no experience as a basketball executive. The superstar, Kobe Bryant, is a raging Alpha Male who can’t accept that the team is better with Andrew Bynum as the top option. Speaking of Bynum, his lack of maturity is obvious.

And we haven’t even mentioned Metta World Peace, Matt Barnes, coach Mike Brown‘s offense, the press, or the rapid fan base that demand a championship every year.

Still, the Lakers quirks are nothing when compared to the mayhem of the Portland Trail Blazers.

The Blazers lost two of their top three players, Greg Oden and Brandon Roy, to injury. Long-time coach Nate McMillan was recently fired. The club is starting over.

Sadly, the on-court mess wouldn’t be the biggest challenge. That would be eccentric owner Paul Allen.

Remember, Allen fired executive Kevin Pritchard moments before the draft and casually told his former executive to stick around for the team's pick. The club spent months searching for Pritchard’s replacement. They supposedly had their man in Richie Cho, but fired him a year later for being too quiet.

There's a reason the Blazers haven't hired a replacement: no decent executive will take the gig. They don't want the mess, melodrama, and headache.

So Mitch, stick with the Lakers. The devil you know is better than the devil you don't.

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Thursday , Mar , 15 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

Report: Blazers fire Coach Nate McMillan

Nate McMillan has been fired by the Blazers, according to a source. McMillan has been the head coach of the Blazers since the 05-06 season.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Right or wrong, fair or not, Nate McMillan's time was up.

Reports out of Portland had the players tuning-out McMillan, which eventually happens to every coach. So the Blazers, who started rebuilding today with several trades, fired their longtime coach.

It's worth noting, McMillan held the Blazers together -even though Greg Oden has been a bust and Brandon Roy's career fell apart due to injuries.

McMilllan, an elite sideline boss, will get another gig this summer.

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Monday , Mar , 05 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Blazers to trade Jamal Crawford?

The Clippers or any other team looking for scoring could also turn their attention to Portland's Jamal Crawford. With the Blazers (18-18) underachieving and the 12-year veteran having struggled to fit in this season, sources say he's available.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Jamal Crawford hasn’t fit with the Portland Trail Blazers.

Crawford, a former Sixth Man of the Year, is a scorer, while Blazers coach Nate McMillan likes defense. And Crawford is stuck playing point guard because McMillan is frustrated with Ray Felton, who is also on the trading block.

Then there’s Crawford’s contract. He inked a two-year, $10 million pact with the Blazers, however, the second year is a player’s option.

Crawford, unhappy with playing time, has made littlle secret of his desire to exercise that option and test the free agent market this summer.

So Blazers management may move Crawford to a contender and get an asset as part of an inevitable rebuilding project.

LaMarcus Aldridge aside, no player or coach is safe, which means the next few months should be awfully interesting in ‘Rip City’.

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Sunday , Aug , 28 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Carl Landry to Portland?

Carl Landry believes the Blazers would be a good fit for him and LaMarcus Aldridge is in agreement. “That’s big of him to speak out and I’m glad he spoke out and said he wants to play with us,” Aldridge told SLAMonline. “He’s a good player and I definitely feel like he can help us immediately.”

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Carl Landry is interested in Portland. And Portland, according to their newly anointed superstar, should have interest in Landry.

Landry and LaMarcus Aldridge have been throwing each other public bouquets, which has fuelled speculation the free agent will sign in ‘Rip City’ when the lockout ends.

While not a fan of players acting like general managers, Aldridge is right to suggest a fit.

Landry could start at center if Greg Oden’s injury woes continue. Or, he could come off the bench and back-up Aldridge and a healthy Oden.

Either way, Landry is a professional. He’ll fit in, work hard, and accept his role, while never rocking the boat for coach Nate McMillan.

All Landry, Aldridge, and Portland need is a collective bargaining agreement, so their interest can perhaps become something more substantial  -like a contract .

--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , May , 28 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Blazers want Brandon Roy to retire?

A source familiar with the situation said Thursday that Portland figures it must deal with Brandon Roy's future if it's truly going to rejoin the league's contenders. Retirement for Roy is among the options they're considering.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It seems premature.

Not long ago, Brandon Roy was the face of the Portland Trail Blazers. He was an All-Star. He was a terrific scorer. And he was a role model in the community.

Roy, the 2007 Rookie of the Year, seemed a blessing for a basketball mad city that suffered through the ‘Jail Blazers’.

All appeared good. So the Blazers handed Roy the keys to the Rose Garden, signing him to a six- year deal for maximum money.

The good times didn’t last, though.

Roy’s knee injuries became serious. He missed significant time. When he returned his game changed. He was a part-time player earning a star’s salary.

Coach Nate McMillan gave Roy’s minutes to others and the situation became a national crisis when the two-guard spoke out publicly during the playoffs. 

The scandal inspired Roy. His play improved. And he single-handedly won a playoff game for the Blazers by dropping 16 points in the fourth quarter on the Dallas Mavericks.

When healthy, Roy can still play. This may not be enough for the Blazers. 

Bottom line: the Blazers have a choice. They can hope Roy’s play justifies the remaining four-years and $68 million on his contract.

Or, they can do some research and search for an escape clause, which would mean buying Roy out or pushing retirement.

This is risky. Suppose the Blazers approach Roy about ending their relationship. Once the process begins, there’s no turning back. Things could get ugly.

Who would contact Roy about a buyout? And who would negotiate the terms of this buyout?

After all, owner Paul Allen fired Richie Cho –even though, he hired him less than a year ago- because he didn’t feel chemistry with the GM.

There’s no timeline to hire a new front office Tsar. And no self-respecting executive would take the gig knowing they had to deal with Allen’s meddling and buyout Roy.

The Blazers should step back and think carefully before initiating discussions with Roy. This has the potential to end badly.

--Oly Sandor.

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Wednesday , Sep , 08 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Nate McMillan on Rudy Fernandez: ‘he’s in my notes for training camp’

He's a great player," McMillan said. "He's a good player. A talented player. Very talented."He is in my notes for training camp. All right," the coach said when pressed for more.

Through his agent, Andy Miller, Fernandez told The Oregonian two weeks ago he intends to not report to training camp even though he has two years left on his contract.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Rudy Fernandez won’t be at the Portland Trail Blazers’ training camp. His coach, Nate McMillan, expects him to be there.

Call me crazy but something will give. It has to. And for the sake of all involved, hopefully it gives soon.

For months, we’ve heard about Fernandez’s unhappiness. He apparently sacrificed millions of dollars leaving his European pro side to ply his trade in Rip City.

And because of his ‘financial sacrifice’, he feels entitled to minutes, shots, and a leading role with an NBA team. At least, that’s what he’s telling foreign journalists.

If he doesn’t get his way, Fernandez and his agent have even mentioned breaking the final two years of his NBA contract and returning to Europe.

This, of course, puts the Blazers in an impossible position. The other 29 teams know Fernandez wants out. They smell opportunity and are offering little in a trade.

But the Blazers have to get something significant for Fernandez. Fans would never forgive rookie executive Rich Cho if he got back less than equal value.

So Cho must hold the line, stand firm, and pull a rabbit out of the hat in a trade.

Until such a situation presents itself, the standoff between Fernandez and the Blazers will continue. And it will only get even more unpleasant.

--Oly Sandor.


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Thursday , Jun , 24 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rudy Fernandez: ‘New York, that’s where I want to go’

Rudy Fernandez was telling teammates last season, " New York, that's where I want to go."

HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: The Spaniard won't end up in The Big Apple -even if he has a New York state of mind.

Two points on Rudy Fernandez and his current team, the Portland Trail Blazers. First, the energetic swing and coach Nate McMillan don't trust each other. And second, their relationship will be tough to repair.

However, the New York Knicks have little to offer Portland when compared to other teams. For instance, the Toronto Raptors are reportedly offering their lottery pick for Fernandez.

And the Vulcan group - the holding company that own, control, and, at times, micromanage the Trail Blazers - never give away assets without getting back something close to equal value.

So Fernandez shouldn't hold his breath about the NYC. It's unlikely he'll be donning a Knicks uniform anytime soon.

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