05.31.06

Life & Death Of A Rip City One-Tracker

Posted in Basketball at 2:49 am by

Jason Cohen forwards the following item from Chicago Tribune’s Sam Smith which ran on Monday :

The Portland Trail Blazers, the NBA’s most repressive regime, appear to be becoming more so with a new media policy that includes tape recording interviews between reporters and players. Not surprisingly, the dysfunctional Blazers already have had to apologize to the Portland Oregonian for getting quotes wrong in their transcript.

Commissioner David Stern, during a media session last week in San Antonio in which no member of his staff thought to record the questions and answers, was asked about Portland’s new policy, unheard of in the NBA, and responded: “I haven’t had the opportunity [to see the policy], but I think they ought to have some discussions with the Chinese government to see if they can align their policies.”

Stern joked he would “love to muzzle everyone in this room and have you print exactly the story that we’d like.” But he added, turning serious, that he was proud of the NBA’s media access, which is a conduit to its fans, and that it disappoints him when one of the teams doesn’t pursue that goal.

Of course, Stern said, “I don’t know all the facts. I read it in a newspaper, which is inherently unreliable.”

Have we got the funniest commissioner, or what?

In a completely unrelated note, Blazers GM John Nash was relieved of his duties yesterday. The Oregonian’s John Canzano figures it’s just as well, as Nash didn’t have nearly enough autonomy.

I asked Nash often about the team’s three-headed management team, and he usually said something like, “This franchise isn’t run unlike a lot of others. This is my job. I’m part of this.” And maybe some of that is true, but anyone who has observed the sociological experiment going on at One Center Court knows there is only one other show like this on Earth.Even that one has a ringleader.

This is one of those days I wish we could call in investigators, tape off the franchise with yellow crime-scene tape, and dust for fingerprints. I suspect we’d find that Nash’s prints would show up sparingly. He overruled scouts and drafted Sebastian Telfair two years ago, for sure. Best we can tell, he pulled the trigger, too, on signing free agents Steve Blake ($1 million salary), Joel Przybilla ($1.6 million) and Juan Dixon ($2.5 million).

That is, he had the juice to make the little moves. And you know, he jabbed with the best of them. But it’s haymakers — the knockout moves, for crying out loud — this franchise needed most during this era. And those were noticeably absent. Someone always stood in the way.

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