Ripping mad in Rip City might be one way of describing (oh, thank god I didn’t employ that headline) either the reaction of Blazers execs to the following item, or perhaps the questionable actions of one Greg Oden. Way to knock last night’s loss to Golden State off the front page, Greg. From the Oregonian’s Jason Quick.
The Trail Blazers on Thursday were alerted to an internet rumor that Greg Oden had participated in a pickup basketball game at a 24 Hour Fitness facility in Tualatin on Wednesday night.
Turns out, the rumor was true.
And naturally, the Blazers were none too pleased.
“We heard about that, and I talked to him today,” coach Nate McMillan said. “I let him know he can’t do that.”
Oden is in the sixth month of his rehabilitation from microfracture surgery on his right knee, and is on schedule – if not ahead – to return to the court in time for the start of training camp in October. Oden has been cleared to participate in light drills during practices, but the team wants to control his running and jumping to controlled environments.
“I know he is excited to be moving again, but as I talked to him about it, he said ‘Coach, I promise I wasn’t running hard …’. And I was like – ‘I really don’t care’,” McMillan said. “The thing is, we were surprised. So we let him know that he doesn’t need to be there. We have plenty of workout equipment and gym space at our facility.”
Oden apparently took part in two pickup games on Wednesday night, after which one of the participants came home and posted his account on the internet. By Wednesday morning, word had gotten back to the Blazers, who were in Oakland, Calif., for Thursday’s game against Golden State. McMillan said he then called Oden in Portland.
“Young guys,” McMillan said, shaking his head. “Right now, these young guys don’t know their value. That’s part of growing up and maturing. In a couple of years he will understand how stupid that was. I understand it, because I’ve done it. You are a pro, you want to walk into a building like that and feel good about yourself, you know, play with some guys. You don’t move hard, you know, just shoot some jump shots … yeah, I’ve done it. But we just have to remind him, especially in his situation, where he is coming off an injury. That … that, you just can’t do that.’
While the New York Post’s Peter Vecsey steadfastly insists Donnie Walsh isn’t fibbing when he denies having a deal in place to run the Knicks (“Walsh is about to end his 24th season in Indiana, and I defy anyone to testify he ever has broken his word”), Hardwood Paroxysm’s Matt Moore might’ve unwittingly provided a hint about Isiah Thomas’ next assignment in the midst of an illuminating chat with D-League President Dan Reed ;
HP:Has there been any discussion at this time of expanding a team to New York, and do you see it as a viable D-League market?
DR: There’s been a lot of discussion. There’s a lot of interest. The most prominent one is the Knicks’ interest in putting a team in Harlem. We’re going down that road and looking at pros and cons. I think it’s pretty viable. They say New York has the best basketball fans in the world, and I’ve seen nothing here to dispute that. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a team there in the next few years, but there’s a long way to go. I think it would be pretty cool.
Filip Bondy has already suggested the most appropriate punishment for Isiah Thomas would be to make him coach the Knicks for another season (“Thomas says he wants this job. Call his bluff”). Though I suspect the NBA wouldn’t look favorably on a James Dolan owned D-League franchise, who amongst us wouldn’t want to see Zeke as the player-coach-GM for a new Harlem minor league team?