Trail Mix: Victor Claver signs in Russia, Blazers talk media

Wesley Matthews, Marco Belinelli

(AP Photo/Don Ryan)

The Portland Trail Blazers face the Oklahoma City Thunder Friday night at 7:30. Here’s the best of what the Blazers internet has to offer.

Mike Richman from The Oregonian had a nice story about Arron Afflalo and LaMarcus Aldridge rooming together at the 2004 McDonald’s All-American game

Twenty-two of the 24 players in the McDonald’s All-American game that year played at least one game in the NBA and 12 are still in the league today: Aldridge, Afflalo, Howard, Jefferson, Livingston, J.R. Smith, Josh Smith, Corey BrewerGlen DavisJordan FarmarRudy GayRajon Rondo andMarvin Williams.

Even as a high school senior Aldridge knew he was playing with a special group.

“I did know that that class was that good. I just didn’t know how good,” he said.

One of the players that was included in the deal to get Afflalo, Victor Claver, has reportedly signed with the Russian team Khimki in Moscow. Claver was waived by the Nuggets shortly after being traded there. From Sportando:

Victor Claver is returning to Europe. The Spanish forward agreed to terms with Khimki Moscow where he will replace Joffrey Lauvergne, who moved to the Nuggets, according to sources.
Claver was waived by the Denver after being traded by the Blazers.
Claver has played 80 games in the NBA in three seasons averaging 3.2 points and 2.2 rebounds in 13.3 minutes on the floor. Khimki will announce Claver most likely on Saturday. The contract is till June.

In a very roundabout way the Nuggets basically executed a trade with Khimki.

Thomas Robinson was waived by the Nuggets and then picked up by the Philadelphia 76ers in a move to meet the salary floor.

Will Barton has been getting good amounts of minutes for the Nuggets lately, averaging 15 points a game in 27 minutes a night and shooting 50 percent from the 3-point line.

NBA Players Association President Michelle Roberts raised her concerns with media availability to Kate Fagan of espnW.

“Most of the time I go to the locker room, the players are there and there are like eight or nine reporters just standing there, just staring at them,” Roberts said. “And I think to myself, ‘OK, so this is media availability?’ If you don’t have a f—ing question, leave, because it’s an incredible invasion of privacy. It’s a tremendous commitment that we’ve made to the media — are there ways we can tone it down? Of course. It’s very dangerous to suggest any limitation on media’s access to players, but let’s be real about some of this stuff.

“I’ve asked about a couple of these guys, ‘Does he ask you a question?’ ‘Nah, he just stands there.’ And when I go in there to talk to the guys, I see them trying to listen to my conversation, and I don’t think that’s the point of media availability. If nothing else, I would like to have a rule imposed, ‘If you have a question, ask it; if you don’t, leave.’ Sometimes, they’re waiting for the marquee players. I get that, but there is so much standing around.”

Casey Holdahl of asked Damian Lillard and Wesley Matthews about their interactions with the media. Here’s what Matthews had to say on the issue:

“You can’t just come into a guy’s face and try to probe questions,” said Matthews. “It’s a relationship. As good as we are to the media, the media has to be to us. We have to work together all the time.”

Matthews, one of the players who the media look to most often in Portland’s locker room when they need a good, honest quote, said there needs to be a baseline level of respect for what the media needs from players and vice versa.

“I think there has to be a mutual trust because we do share common areas and common spaces,” said Matthews. “I think, in order for us to get the best out of the media and the media to get the best out of us, there’s got to be a mutual trust. We’ve got a job to do, media understands that and has to kind of try to put themselves in our perspective that, above the stresses of being a professional athlete and trying to win as many games as possible and dealing with injuries and stuff on the court, that we are humans at the same time… And for us, to respect the fact that you guys got a job to do. Your job is to report and, for the most part, be unbiased and give your perspective and all that. But as far as eavesdropping, we’re definitely careful of what we say. Again, there has to be a mutual trust and respect.”

The latest episode of the Blazer Banter podcast is up with Thunder beat writer Anthony Slater from The Oklahoman.

And here was our latest story in The Columbian ahead of this evening’s Blazers-Thunder match-up. We also have our Scouting Report on OKC.

Erik Gundersen

Erik Gundersen

Erik Gundersen is the Trail Blazers beat reporter for The Columbian. He's a graduate of the Allen School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon in addition earning a degree in Spanish. He's covered the NBA for four seasons. You can also occasionally find his work on's NBA section for their TrueCities series. He also fist-bumped with Kanye West once. Follow @BlazerBanter on twitter for more Blazers and NBA news.

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