On Wednesday, Trail Blazers team president Chris McGowan, vice president/general manager of the Rose Quarter Chris Oxley and vice president of premium seating Anthony Jones-Deberry hosted a tour at the Moda Center to show off some of the newest capital improvements of a $16 million renovation of the almost 20 year-old building. After upgrading concessions on the 100 level last year, improvements to the concourse on the club level, remodeled suites and a new bar on the 300 level overlooking the westside of Portland are currently being worked on, with the expectation being that all of the most recent upgrades will be completed in time for the 2014-15 NBA season.
“When people come to events at the Rose Quarter, we want it to be special and we feel the Rose Quarter is part of that experience,” said McGowan. “Maybe a year and a half ago, when the fountain wasn’t working, the lighting wasn’t on the arena, the landscaping wasn’t what we would like it to be and we didn’t have a place like Dr. Jack’s to go to, people were just kind of walking over the Rose Quarter, coming in and watching an event. We think we can do better than that. With all the stuff you’ve seen on the Rose Quarter, people can come a little bit earlier and enjoy their time coming to an event or a concert. And then afterward, if they want to let traffic die down or wait for a train, you have a place to go to as well. We’re extending that event experience for everyone who comes to the Rose Quarter.”
The club level, after years of serving an all-you-can-eat buffet to club level ticket holders, will now function more like a standard concourse, with concession stands similar to those on the 100 level.
“We were an all-inclusive club environment going on eight years,” said Oxley. “It wasn’t, I think, the right business-to-business environment that we were looking for. To our club level constituency, it didn’t necessarily play into the premium level experience. What was up here before was all-inclusive, chef’s table buffet-like environment. Those are going away specifically to go back to a premium concession environment where club level guests will have store value on their ticket essentially.”
Now, those who purchase club level tickets will receive a $30 credit per game which can be used to purchase concessions at Bunk, The Nook, Cha! Cha! Cha!, Salt & Straw and Hot Stone on the club level or any of the other concession stands throughout the Moda Center. The credit can also be used to purchase merchandise at any of the fan shops on the concourse.
“We’re reinventing the culinary experience in its entirety for our premium seat holders, adding six new high-end concession locations up on the club level,” said Oxley. “We’re going away from an all-inclusive environment on the club level to a premium concession environment that has more point of sale, more variety, more options.”
“We had Bunk sandwiches up on the 300 level last year. It was a real destination, I think, for people all through the building. We’re trying to get people to move around the concourses and different levels a lot more than they have in the past. This is a great opportunity, I think, to the exclusivity of the club level for Bunk Sandwiches to have a really marque location here. This was a general concession stand before.” — Chris Oxley, VP/GM of the Rose Quarter
“We’re really looking forward to bringing Cha! Cha! Cha! into the Moda Center. This is their first introduction into the building. Mexican, obviously, is a great seller, particularly when you have a lot of diversity. A good Mexican concept is ideal for us as a location. A very approachable location.” — Chris Oxley, VP/GM of the Rose Quarter
“Italian as a type of food was called out within a club level survey of that we did as to what is missing the most (from the club level). So we’ve designed Hot Stone. We’ll be doing pizza ,we’ll be doing baked ziti. On one side you’ll have all the hot food and point of sale, then on the left side we’ll do Italian sodas, cappuccinos and tiramisu. So it’s going to be a full-service Italian location for the club level.” — Chris Oxley, VP/GM of the Rose Quarter
“Junction 5 is probably the closest ode to a traditional location that we’ll have on this level. The top sellers in a food and beverage environment are always going to be hot dogs, popcorn, nachos, pretzels, so we’d be remiss if we didn’t provide those offerings. But it will be a unique twist in terms of Junction 5, where there will be a fully developed condiment location. So if you have the ability to be creative with your food, you’re going to have that at Junction 5.” — Chris Oxley, VP/GM of the Rose Quarter
As a part of the improvements, all of the Moda Center’s suites will be completely remodeled, with 21 of the arena’s private suites this year and 10 more next year, and the construction of never-before-available “Studio Suites” and a premium “365 Studio.”
“It’s a double suite (pictured above), which is something that we’re contemplating doing as well. From a capacity perspective, this size works when you want to entertain here. I think the look and feel is great, the lighting is great, it feels modern, it’s open. I think one of the problems if you look at our older suites and what we’re doing with the executive suites, people want an open feel where they can stand up, mingle at a high table, have some food, have a cocktail while they’re watching the game as well. So I really feel good about how we’ve opened these suites up.” — Chris McGowan, Trail Blazers president and CEO
“The whole point was to not only modernize the suites but also we had to create some differentiation amongst our suites sizes. Basically, our suite product was essentially all the same. We had the party suite, which can hold 100-plus people, but the other 66 suites that we had were all the exact same, they all had the exact same look, the exact same feel. The truth of the matter is that as we a number of clients, not only our executive suite clients who have suites on longterm leases, but also our nightly suite rentals, they have varying needs in regards to size and the number of people they want to entertain at a given moment. So what we’ve done is created a new product.” — Anthony Jones-Deberry, VP of premium seating
“This is the first renovation to the exterior of the Moda Center in it’s history,” said Oxley. “We’ve coined it “The Pines.” This is an ode to our 300 level demographic and something we’re really excited about offering to the folks who sit in the upper deck. This used to be an outdoor smoking area, and now we’re in a position to offer this really unique bar venue with a food component associated with it as well with views of the city that are not found anywhere else from the eastside.”
Everybody is really excited about this opportunity. It was an underutilized space for many years. It overlooks the Essential Forces fountain, Dr. Jack’s, the city, Broadway Bridge and downtown. Really a unique opportunity. I think we’ll have people coming from the 100 level just to check out the space. I think that’s what makes it so cool is we’ve created an environment that’s going to be really special for these folks. — Chris Oxley, VP/GM of the Rose Quarter
“A really unique environment. We’ve made a very conscious engagement to keep it bright and alive and open and create these floor-to-ceiling glass views of not only downstairs in the Rose Quarter but pretty much all of downtown. At night, truly spectacular and unmatched in terms of views from this side of town.” — Chris Oxley, VP/GM of the Rose Quarter
Maryland forward Jake Layman took questions from the Portland media via conference call for the first time Friday afternoon since being acquired by the Trail Blazers from the Orlando Magic after he was selected with the 47th pick of the 2016 NBA Draft. The 6-9 wing, who averaged 10.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.1 assists in four seasons with the Terrapins, discussed being selected by the Trail Blazers, whether he knew the team was interested in him prior to the draft, what skills he has that are most applicable in the NBA, his defensively strengths and his plans to come to Portland in time for summer league workouts…
What was your initial reaction after being drafted by the Trail Blazers and your impressions of the franchise?
Jake Layman: First off, I’m very excited. It was such a stressful night. I was nervous all night, I didn’t really know what to expect with what was going to happen the way the draft was going last night. To finally hear my name called was just a big sign of relief, I was very excited, especially to be picked up by the Blazers because I’ve watched them play a lot. I think that their style of play fits me very well.
Why did you watch them a lot over the season?
Jake Layman: I think it was really more playoff time when I saw them play.
Where the Blazers on your radar? Did they interview you in Chicago at the combine, have any interaction with the team leading up to the draft?
Jake Layman: I did an interview with them at the combine but they were still in the playoffs, so they didn’t have really anybody there who could interview. That was really it. I didn’t work out for them. But I did know that they were very interested going into the draft, but they had no picks, so I really didn’t think much of it. So when my agent called me to tell me they traded in for the pick, I was excited.
What did you think about Portland’s recent playoff run?
Jake Layman: It was very exciting. Watching them with how young they are, how much talent they have, to be battling out there against some of the best teams in the NBA. I know how excited the fanbase was to see that happen.
What are your most applicable NBA skills right now and how do you see yourself projecting as an NBA player from a position or skill perspective?
Jake Layman: I think for me, my shooting ability, it’s gotten better each year that I was in college. So I think for me, just carrying that into the NBA is going to be huge. And also for me, I think being able to guard multiple spots on the floor is what teams are looking for now. I think that’s something I can do.
Do you know Pat Connaughton at all since you’re from the same area? Did you play against him at all?
Jake Layman: I know him pretty well. We never really played against each other in high school or anything, but just being from the same area. We were part of the Boston Globe all-star team one year, so yeah, we definitely know each other.
Do you know when you’re going to come to Portland, when you might sign and whether you’ll play for the team at summer league?
Jake Layman: Talking to the GM yesterday, I think I’m going to fly out to Portland either July 3rd or 4th and then I’ll be there for the practices leading up to summer league, which starts pretty soon after that. Then I’ll play in summer league. I’m not really sure about signing contracts or anything right now, but for summer league I’ll definitely be there.
What was your conversation like with Neil Olshey?
Jake Layman: He just asked me how I felt. All the emotion going through your head when you get drafted, it was definitely nice to talk to him. Asked me how I’m feeling and if I’m ready to get going. I was very excited to hear from him, I talked to Coach Stotts also.
How would you describe yourself off the court? What’s your personality like? How do you approach the game? Approach life or leadership or being in a locker room.
Jake Layman: I think for me, I’m a little different off the court than I am on the court. I think when it comes to being on the court, I’m definitely pretty intense. I’m always going hard, going crazy on the court. Then off the court, I’m a pretty quiet guy, very laid back, definitely a great locker room guy. I get along with everybody. That’s how I would describe myself.
You said you feel like your defensive versatility is an asset. Could you break down your strengths defensively?
Jake Layman: I think my on-ball defense has definitely gotten better over the years. But I think playing off the ball on defense, being able to come over and help and then block shots from the weakside, it is something that I’m definitely good at.
Do you feel like joining a young team, but one that has already had some success in the playoffs, give you an opportunity that other guys in the draft might not get?
Jake Layman: I think it’s a great chance to be able to come in this next year and help, make an impact on the team, just go in and help whatever way I can, whether it’s scoring, defending or all of those. I think the makeup of this team definitely gives me a chance to go in and make an impact right away.
What’s your hometown of Wrentham like? What was it like growing up there?
Jake Layman: Growing up in Wrentham, I’m one of five boys in my family, so there’s always something to do, always someone to play with. I was big into sports when I was little. My dad played baseball in college, my mom played basketball in college so I was always involved in the youth leagues, whether it was baseball, football or basketball. I think for me, my childhood was definitely run by sports when I was little growing up.
Can you see someone in the NBA who reminds you of yourself or someone who has the same skillset?
Jake Layman: Someone I’m trying to model my game after — I’m not saying I’m him right now, but it’s someone who I definitely think my game over time could be just like his — is Gordon Hayward, plays for the Utah Jazz.
Can you describe waiting to hear your name called last night?
Jake Layman: From the start of the night, you’re going in with the thought of what you’ve been hearing from teams and what your agent’s been telling you. Once the draft starts going, especially last night, it was definitely not what I expected. I was surrounded by a bunch of family and friends, so they were keeping me calm the whole time. I was just hanging in there, staying strong and to finally hear my name called, it was definitely a sigh of relief.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, the Trail Blazers have acquired the No. 47 pick of the 2016 Draft from the Orlando Magic, which they will use to select 6-9 forward Jake Layman out of Maryland…
Portland will select Maryland’s Jake Layman with No. 47, sources tell @TheVertical.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) June 24, 2016
Source: To get Maryland’s Jake Layman at No. 47, Portland will send Orlando $1.2M and a 2019 second-round pick.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) June 24, 2016
The Trail Blazers entered Thursday’s draft with no picks, though it always seemed likely they’d purchase a second round pick, as Paul Allen has shown throughout his tenure as owner that he’s willing to spend in order to bring in draft talent. The $1.2 million the Trail Blazers reportedly sent to Orlando, along with a future second round pick, for the 47th pick is significantly less than what some other teams reportedly spent to get picks later in the second round.
Assuming Layman and the Trail Blazers can come to contract terms — second round picks can negotiate their contracts, while salaries for first round picks are dictated by where they’re taken — it seems likely that he would play for the Trail Blazers at the Las Vegas Summer League, which starts in mid-July.
UPDATE: It’s official. From the team’s press release…
“Jake is a high character young man with a skill set we value on both ends of the floor,” said Olshey. “His ability to defend multiple positions and shoot the ball from range will be positive additions to our roster.”
Orlando selected Layman with the 47th overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. A four-year player out of the University of Maryland, Layman (6-9, 220) posted career averages of 10.2 points (44.5% FG, 36.2% 3PT, 75.9% FT), 4.8 rebounds and 1.1 assists for the Terrapins.
An Honorable Mention All-Big Ten selection his senior year, Layman led Maryland to 114 wins over his four seasons and is one of just 12 players in school history to record 1,400 points (1,436) and 600 rebounds (674). Layman, 22, guided Maryland to its first Sweet Sixteen appearance since 2003 last season, and ranks 18th in school history in points (1,436) and 18th in rebounds (674).
According to Shams Charania of The Vertical, Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard will not play for Team USA at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in order to rest and continue rehabilitating the plantar fasciitis injury that dogged the 6-3 for much of the 2015-16 season. I can confirm this report.
Though Lillard was able to play through the injury after missing seven games in late December, the pain caused by the plantar fasciitis in his left foot never really went away. He received treatment on his foot throughout the season, though the most effective approach to the injury, which causes extreme pain on the bottom of the foot and heel, is rest, which is obviously hard to get when you’re the leader and best player on a team trying to make the postseason. By forgoing the month-long lead up to the Olympics and the Games themselves, Lillard should have the recuperation time he’ll need to go into Portland’s 2016 training camp completely healthy.
Charnania is also reporting that Lillard was hoping for more time to make the decision before being pressed by Team USA for a commitment one way or another. This could very well be true, though if being completely healthy and rested for the start of the 2016-17 NBA season is Lillard’s motivation for declining a Team USA invite, it’s hard to figure how another week or two would change his decision.
Lillard initially declined being a part of the pool that Team USA draws their roster from, though he ultimately relented despite not feeling particularly optimistic about his chances of being named to the Olympic team after being passed over for the FIBA World Cup team in 2014. But between players opting to rest in preparation for the upcoming season and the myriad of concerns regarding the 2016 Games, the number of candidates has dwindled to the point where Lillard would have been a lock to make the Olympic team had he chosen to participate.
But Lillard opting for rest over Rio doesn’t mean you won’t have a Trail Blazer to root for during the Olympics, as Al-Farouq Aminu and the rest of Team Nigeria (a team that also includes former Trail Blazer Ike Diogu and former Oregon Duck Chamberlain Oguchi) have qualified for the 2016 Games after winning AfroBasket 2015 in Tunisia. And CJ McCollum has also been invited to play on the USA Select Team, whose purpose is to help the USA National Team prepare for international events, though players from the Select team have been promoted to the National team, with the most recent example being Mason Plumlee making the 2014 World Cup team.