My friend Broooke Olzendam sat down for an interview with Neil Olshey, the Trail Blazers' president of basketball operations and the video was shown on Facebook, But since it ran nearly a half hour, I have to believe a lot of people just didn't have the time to spend watching the entire interview. So with that in mind, as a public service, I'm here today to present five nuggets that I'm pretty sure you didn't know unless you watched that one-on-one interview:
- Zach Collins was the "No. 1 defender in summer league," according to Olshey. While he was on the court for Portland, the team gave up .227 points per possession -- which was, according to Olshey -- the best number of any player in the league. It's, as Neil put it, "an insane number."
- Olshey mentioned state income tax as being a factor in free agents not choosing Portland, something I've been talking about for years. Of course I've heard a lot of people dismissing that because, they say, "for people making that much money it doesn't matter." Actually, it matters a lot. Oregon's tax rate for people earning more than $125,000 per year, is 9.9 percent. Consider that you're pondering a $100 million contract offer from Portland and your agent mentions that before federal tax or any other expenses, the state of Oregon is going to get $10 million of your money. Yes, I know -- it's even higher in a few other states. But players might be willing to pay that much to play for the Lakers or Warriors.
- Olshey was very blunt about the reasons for not bringing back Ed Davis and it had very little to do with money. It's all about clearing more playing time for Collins. They didn't want to bring Davis back and then cut his role and playing time. Collins' ability to "spread the floor and pass out of the high post" is a big plus for a team that seems finally to be dealing with its shortage of long-distance shooters.
- On Sept. 24, Olshey will be inducted into the Le Moyne College Gold Wave Hall of Fame. But you probably already knew that. What you may not know is that Olshey -- who in 45 career lacrosse games for Le Moyne scored 48 points on 24 goals and 24 assists -- like most of his teammates, had never played the sport until he got to college. He was part of the very first lacrosse team at the school.
- The 1979 Le Moyne baseball team will also be inducted into the Hall on that date. On that team, according to Olshey, were two pitchers who threw no-hitters in the major leagues: Tom Browning and Jim Deshaies.