Blazers waiting to let initial free-agent wave pass, Buchanan says

Chad Buchanan, Portland Trail Blazers director of college scouting, said Thursday it is highly unlikely the organization will make an immediate offer to a free agent.

NBA teams opened discussions July 1 with free agents. Teams can submit formal contract offers today.

While the rest of the NBA waits to see which franchise free-agent forward LeBron James chooses to crown, Buchanan said the Blazers feel their best move is to let the initial wave of signings pass.

“I just don’t see us making an offer today to anybody,” Buchanan said. “We’re still in the process of meeting with some guys. We want to make sure we feel comfortable with somebody before we make an offer to them.”

Buchanan said sign-and-trade talk has been minimal. However, some long-simmering trade discussions are still alive.

“Pretty much everybody around the league is waiting on these big names to drop,” Buchanan said. “I think that will kind of shift some teams’ strategies — who they get and who they don’t get. Both with trade talks and with free agency.”

Utah guard Wesley Matthews and San Antonio guard Roger Mason have been the only free agents widely linked to the Blazers. Matthews is a restricted free agent, while Mason is able to sign with any team at any time.

Buchanan just returned from a scouting trip, viewing college and high school prospects participating in James’ Skills Academy Camp in Akron, Ohio.

Buchanan said it was a great experience, adding that it felt good to put on his scouting glasses and temporarily remove the mantle of what essentially amounts to an interim assistant general manager title.

But the hype surrounding James’ future did not go unnoticed. Buchanan compared the media atmosphere at the camp to the Super Bowl, referencing a horde of television trucks, satellite dishes and media members.

“It was like a circus,” Buchanan said.

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