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Welcome to the NBA Blog Squad, a varied collection of insiders, media members and fans from around the world who will share their thoughts about the NBA, WNBA, and whatever else comes to mind on an ongoing basis in online journals - or "blogs" - right here on NBA.com.

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  • John Nash and Maurice Cheeks
    Portland Trail Blazers General Manager and Head Coach


    Portland Trail Blazers General Manager John Nash and Head Coach Maurice Cheeks will take turns discussing the off-season plans for the team.
    John NashMaurice Cheeks

    Nash Gives Free Agent Update
    John Nash discusses the available free agent market
    As the date to begin signing free agents nears, we are reviewing our options. As of today, I don't see any free agent signings taking place right away.

    Since we're in the early stages of the offseason, it's in our best interest to wait. It's only July, and contracts are always higher in July. When the summer gets a little further along, contracts get to be more toward our liking.

    September is when the real deals become apparent. The list of free agents available then isn't as extensive, but we have to weigh the asking price to reality and base it on fair market value. Although some players we are interested in look like they are going to other teams, we still have a list of free agents that can fill the needs of our team.

    Right now, we'll be looking at some second choices. Most of the players we look at probably aren't going to sign contracts in the next week. We know we aren't really in a position to make any contract offers right now.

    Just because a player is our second choice, doesn't mean they aren't right for the team. The players out there are attractive, we just need to make a fit with the money and years they are asking and what works for us.

    To learn more about our offseason plans and roster updates, visit Blazers.com.
    Posted by John Nash and Maurice Cheeks - Jul 13 2004 4:40PM

    Cheeks Talks Summer League
    Coach Cheeks talks about the Summer League Roster
    Now that we're through with the draft, we're heading into summer league and training camp. We start a mini-camp on Monday to test out some current free agents and some local talent that we're interested in.

    We've also just released our summer league roster and are making plans to head for the Rocky Mountain Revue that runs July 16-24.

    The Revue is the longest continually-running NBA-sanctioned summer league. We've been at the summer league every year that I've been here. It gives us a chance to look at the guys we think can contribute next season. It also gives younger guys a chance to experience NBA action. Zach Randolph was named MVP his first year and Qyntel Woods was named to the All-Revue Team last year.

    This year, we're taking our new guys from the draft (Telfair, Khryapa and Ha Seung-Jin), as well as last year's picks (Outlaw, Sinanovic). We're taking summer league veteran Qyntel Woods and Dan Dickau from our current roster.

    We've added some new players that we're interested in. We're also taking Tyrone Barley from St. Joe's and Jamel Thomas, the brother of Sebastian Telfair.

    To learn more about our roster and summer league plans, visit Blazers.com.
    Posted by John Nash and Maurice Cheeks - Jul 7 2004 3:37PM

    Nash Discusses Free Agency
    John Nash talks about free agents, trades and other off season plans
    Today begins the first day of discussions with free agents. As I've been saying for the past few weeks, we're hoping to make some moves and gain help in the areas we need through free agency.

    We know we can't get a player who can satisfy all of our deficiencies right now. We're limited in what we can offer monetarily. Last year, our team was over the salary cap, and that means we're limited to about $5.3 million to use with free agents.

    The kind of player who can fill the gaps we have right now are the superstars who aren't going to sign a deal with the limited funds we have. We are, however, trying to pursue a few players who we think can make contributions.

    Obviously, our first action is to work with Darius Miles. He played well after he got to Portland. His size is something we need. And his youth and his athleticism are attractive, so we want to work with him. There are some aspects that he still needs to work on, but we're making him our top priority.

    We do have some other options. We have a $1.5 million exception that we can offer to a veteran player. We also have some good trade prospects. We're trying to get a prominent shooting guard. We're willing to explore trades with every team if that's what it takes. Right now, I don't have anything that I think will be announced right away, but we'll keep looking at the options.

    To learn more about our roster updates and off-season plans, visit Blazers.com.
    Posted by John Nash and Maurice Cheeks - Jul 1 2004 3:06PM

    Cheeks Summarizes Roster Additions
    Coach Cheeks talks about the players selected in the draft.
    I think with every draft, when it's over people wonder why a team makes the picks they do. This year was very interesting for us.

    The selections we made resulted in a collection of thoughts and opinions. We wanted to take the best player, and we talked about the positions we needed. We know we need a point guard who is already established in the position.

    Knowing that, we looked at the fundamental skills Sebastian Telfair has. Those skills are already embedded in him. He's a guy who can run a basketball team. With Sebastian, it will be important for him to have a veteran player like Damon who can guide him and who he can learn from.

    When it comes to the Russian selections, we decided to take a chance. We can't assume that they can't contribute today. I think they can. We're going to put them on the floor and see what they can do.

    To learn more about our roster updates and off-season plans, visit Blazers.com.
    Posted by John Nash and Maurice Cheeks - Jun 28 2004 12:22PM

    First Round Draft Success
    John Nash discusses the team's first round draft results.
    After the first round of the 2004 NBA draft, we feel that we've made some pretty good acquisitions.

    We picked up teammates from Russia in Sergei Monia and Viktor Khryapa. Although it wasn't a plan we went in with, we knew we were interested in both players. As the draft was unfolding we were pretty pleased that both were still available. When the opportunity presented itself, we jumped on it.

    We made our trade with New Jersey in order to pick up both players. Adding these two after already acquiring Sebastian Telfair gives us three quality players.

    Telfair is an exceptional passer. There were two players that we are impressed with their ability to distribute the ball. Shawn Livingston was one and Telfair was the other. I think they are the two best point guards of their high school class and three to four years down the road, they should both be premium point guards in this league.

    As we head into the second round, the entire organization is pleased with the outcome of the first round. Don't forget to visit Blazers Draft Central on blazers.com for details about our selections, the trade and more.





    Posted by John Nash and Maurice Cheeks - Jun 24 2004 10:33PM

    Cheeks Talks Draft Strategy
    Maurice Cheeks discusses workouts and draft choices
    We've had several players come in for pre-draft workouts in the past month. I've seen a lot of guys at this point.

    We need a shooter and a point guard, so we've had several players in for that position. We brought in Jammer Nelson from Saint Joseph's and Lionel Chalmers from Xavier. We also brought in Brandon Mouton from Texas and Chris Duhon from Duke.

    One of the players who has made an impression with me and my coaching staff is Sebastian Telfair. He seems to understand the game. He was averaging 33 points and 9 assists this past season as a senior in high school. Even though he's young, I can tell he understands how to play the game.

    Telfair does have a size disadvantage. We aren't sure that drafting another short point guard is the best option. Ideally, we'd like to get a point guard who is around 6-4, but I don't know if someone will be there for the 13th pick.

    Given our two first round picks and the options we've been looking at, I think we'll probably use that 13th pick to draft the player we think is the best available. We have to see who is still around when our pick comes up, so it might not be used for a point guard.

    To learn more about our pre-draft workouts and for the latest inside scoop on the 2004 NBA Draft, visit Blazers Draft Central on blazers.com.
    Posted by John Nash and Maurice Cheeks - Jun 20 2004 12:33AM

    Nash Discusses Private Workouts
    John Nash explains the importance of pre-draft workouts
    One of the options given to us by the NBA is to hold private pre-draft workouts in our own facility. We're allowed to bring in up to four players at a time over the course of a 48 hour time period.

    Our pre-draft workouts have given us the opportunity to look at a few potential picks that we want to learn more about. It also gives us the chance to address some areas of concern we might have with some players.

    Having time to work with a player in a non-game situation is beneficial. During an actual game, you can't run down and say to a player, "Let's see your left-handed crossover dribble." But in a private workout, we put them through various drills that are revealing.

    That doesn't mean that bringing a player in for a private workout is the most important piece of the draft puzzle. When making your draft pick, you have to look at a great deal of different information.

    We have our scouts evaluating players that we're interested in. We use that information to decide who we bring in. Then, having them at our facility for a workout gives the coaching staff and management a chance to see the guys in action. It also gives us the ability to interview them and find out what type of person a player is and how he handles himself off the court.

    To learn more about our pre-draft workouts and for the latest inside scoop on the 2004 NBA Draft, visit Blazers Draft Central on blazers.com.
    Posted by John Nash and Maurice Cheeks - Jun 16 2004 2:46PM

    Expanion Draft List
    John Nash talks about the expansion draft
    This week, I'm at the NBA pre-draft camps looking at our draft options and working on our plan for who to protect in the expansion draft.

    At this point, we're pretty confident in who we will protect. It seems to be the cause of a lot of speculation though. We're not providing names at this point, but we are close to having a firm list.

    Teams have a lot of choices when it comes to something like an expansion draft. With the Trail Blazers, we're just looking at it as a way to protect the players that are most valuable to us. We're using it as a chance to expose player contracts that aren't in our favor.

    The business of basketball is different now then it used to be. In this day and age, I don't think people will be surprised at some of the players that are left exposed. Contracts are bigger and longer. I don't know which players around the league will be left open, but there are teams that might want to lose a player who holds a long-term contract.

    We'll keep you posted as the draft gets closer. Until then, keep checking out the Blazers Draft Central section on blazers.com.
    Posted by John Nash and Maurice Cheeks - Jun 9 2004 12:28PM

    Planning for the Draft
    John Nash talks about the upcoming draft.
    There's a lot of talk right now and we see new things in the media every day. It must be hard for a fan to follow everything, so I want to summarize a few of the things we've been talking about lately.

    Big Men: There are a lot of options out there. Some are better then others. Most of them aren't ready to play in the league yet. There are some foreign players who might make a difference to their team right away, but I don't see many of the top ten selections being from the available big men.

    Sebastian Telfair: I've heard a lot of speculation about the Trail Blazers and Telfair. He is a good shooter and he had a good workout his with us. He does have a disadvantage with being only 5-11, but he is an amazing passer and scores well. We are looking at him and along with about 10 other players, we would consider taking him with our 13th pick.

    Guarantees: I can tell you that we don't have a deal in the works. We aren't making commitments right now. I would like for us to maintain the flexibility that we have. If we make a commitment, we lost the ability to possibly trade our picks.

    Workouts: We've had a lot of players come workout for us. We are still looking at a lot of players. We're at the point where we still want to look at several people. We'll start to narrow our list when we get to Chicago, but for now, we're open to new talent.


    To learn more about our draft plans, please visit our Blazers Draft Central section on blazers.com.

    Posted by John Nash and Maurice Cheeks - Jun 4 2004 2:54PM

    NBA Draft Lottery Recap
    John Nash talks about the lottery results
    The 2004 NBA Draft Lottery just ended and we're ready to focus on the upcoming draft.

    Even with my lucky t-shirt, and all of the fan support back at the Rose Quarter with the lucky charm party, we still weren't able to secure a top three pick.

    Our decisions about our 13th and 23rd pick are still evolving. We have had a number of players in for draft workouts, probably more for the 23rd spot since those players at the top spots knew our draft order and figured they were more likely to be drafted by another team. Both picks will provide us the opportunity to get players for the future, if not the immediate future.

    To learn more about our draft plans, please visit our Blazers Draft Central section on blazers.com.

    Posted by John Nash and Maurice Cheeks - May 27 2004 6:40PM

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