PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Portland Trail Blazers are done with the summer roster overhaul, just a few months after advancing to the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 2000.
The team’s president of basketball operations, Neil Olshey, spoke about the changes during a conference call introducing the newest Trail Blazer, Pau Gasol. There are 14 players on the roster. Seven of them are new additions for the 2019-2020 season. Olshey said he’s done making moves unless a two-way player becomes available that can move back and forth from the G-League. “We think we did really well this offseason. We think we filled some holes where we looked at areas where we were vulnerable last year in the post season. We were really successful but there were things we clearly could have had more solutions to some of the challenges we faced in the conference finals and we think we’ve addressed those. We’ve got great depth. I think we’ve got a really good balance of established veterans and really talented young guys,” Olshey said.
Olshey added, the addition of forward/center Pau Gasol will help the Trail Blazers young core improve. Gasol is entering his 19th season in the NBA and has won two championships, both with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2009 and 2010 respectively. Gasol said he’s looking forward to helping the Blazers take that next step and reach the NBA Finals for the first time since 1992. “I am excited about it because once you get to this stage of your career it becomes a very fulfilling aspect of the game to share knowledge, to share experience, to share wisdom and to help the younger guys just like other veterans have helped me along the way in my younger years.” Gasol said.
While head coach Terry Stott’s rotation is far from set, Gasol should expect to get more minutes than last year. A foot injury limited the Spaniard to just 30 games split between the San Antonio Spurs and the Milwaukee Bucks. Gasol said he had surgery on the foot this spring, and is expected to be ready to go for the start of training camp. He could see extended minutes in the early part of the 2019-2020 season while center Jusuf Nurkic continues his rehabilitation from a broken leg. While no timetable has been set for Nurkic’s return, Olshey did say that the Bosnian center is “on or ahead of schedule.”
The Trail Blazers open preseason, the franchise’s 50th year in the NBA, on October 8 against the Denver Nuggets. The game will be played at the former home of the franchise, Veterans Memorial Coliseum.