Przybilla downplays rumor of anger
Joel Przybilla has heard it, too. That he is angry at Darius Miles and, to a lesser extent, Zach Randolph, for their behavior last season. That he wants Trail Blazer management to trade Miles, and perhaps Randolph as well.
'That's not true,' says Przybilla, who is expected to sign a five-year, $32-million free-agent contract with Portland on Wednesday. 'Darius went through a rough time last year. We all did, with all the losing. He hurt his knee, and it seemed like everything went downhill from there. He didn't handle everything great, but he's a good guy and a good player. Darius, Zach and I, we're pretty tight. Everything is going to start fresh in October. Those guys want to win, just like me.'
• Last season, coach Nate McMillan was perplexed over the logjam at point guard with Sebastian Telfair, Jarrett Jack and Steve Blake. So the Blazers trade Telfair to alleviate the problem - then get a point guard, Dan Dickau, in return, draft another point guard, Sergio Rodriguez, and experiment with draft pick Brandon Roy at the point.
In addition, McMillan said he wanted to leave a roster spot or two open going into the season, so the Blazers could acquire additional talent, if necessary. Now they are at the NBA limit of 15 guaranteed contracts. What gives?
'It's something we didn't want to do, but we were kind of put in a situation where we had to,' McMillan says.
The coach means the opportunity to land Rodriguez was too good to pass up. Rodriguez probably will open the season in the NBA Developmental League, but if he shows well in training camp, I'd feel uneasy if I were Dickau.
• Eduardo Schell, a Spanish journalist who has covered the 6-3 Rodriguez, 20, the past couple of years, offers this appraisal of Portland's draft pick: 'Not yet a star, but he is on the correct path … he can change a game himself, (has) a great mind to read the flow of a game. He likes to take risks when he passes the ball, and his game is totally NBA. People there will like him a lot … he's always smiling, tries to make everybody comfortable and likes to make jokes, but at the same time, is a hard worker. The best thing is, though things are going extremely fast for him, he stays humble, with his feet on the ground.'
• McMillan's first impression of rookies Roy of Washington and LaMarcus Aldridge of Texas at the Las Vegas Summer League: 'They are both very skilled players, fundamentally sound, as far as footwork and being in the right place. Their basketball IQs seem to be pretty high. They both went to good universities and played under good coaches. You can see they have been taught how to play the game.'