Interview: Blazers' Penn provides details about Randolph, hardship exemptions

Transcript of an interview conducted Wednesday with Tom Penn, Portland Trail Blazers vice president of basketball operations, at the team’s practice facility in Tualatin, Ore.

Blazers forward Shavlik Randolph, who was signed to a non-guaranteed contract Wednesday, was acquired by the Blazers with the team’s second NBA hardship exemption. Randolph can remain with the team until injured players Rudy Fernandez and Nicolas Batum return.

Portland still has one hardship exemption left, though, which was originally filled by Anthony Tolliver, who was waived Tuesday. The Blazers must re-apply to the NBA every two weeks to keep the exemption open.

On the Blazers still having one exemption left:

We do. Technically, we’ve been granted two injury exemptions.

On the second one being approved by the league:

Today, yes. It’s approved as of today.

On exemptions:

The way those work is, you’re able to fill it for a period of time in a slot. So, technically, we have another slot available.

On being able to keep Randolph on the team’s roster until Batum and Fernandez return:

That’s basically correct.

On whether that would change if the Blazers used their other exemption:

I know what you’re saying, but it’s hard to answer that accurately without setting up another fact pattern. So, basically what happens is, when we had four injured players that were going to be out long term, we were given a hardship exemption. When Joel (Przybilla) turned into a fifth injured player that’s going to be out long term, that turned into a second hardship exemption.

They have different timelines. So, we waived Tolliver in the 16th spot, if you will. And we’ve added Randolph to the second hardship slot.

On the team still having an exemption because the Blazers waived Tolliver:

Correct. But … the approval windows for those are running in separate intervals. Because you have to re-apply every two weeks to basically say they’re still going to be out.

On non-guaranteed contracts becoming guaranteed:

Complicating all this is the fact that, Jan. 6, is the cut-down date when all these (non-guaranteed) contracts become guaranteed. … Jan. 10 they become guaranteed, but the player has to clear waivers by Jan. 9. So you have until Jan. 6 to get that done. And with this relief offered by the league, it’s supposed to be short-term relief. …. So, all that factors into decisions, when you look at our schedule.


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