The Portland Trail Blazers recently completed a renovation of their practice facility in Tualatin, making upgrades and additions to various elements of the building. Originally constructed in 1998, the facility serves primarily as the team’s practice and training facility and is the home of the basketball operations staff.
“Look, it’s become an arm’s race around the league,” said Trail Blazers general manager Neil Olshey. “This used to be a unique building. It was one of the first in the league that had its own practice facility and now it’s common place. Now you have guys coming from college situations where they have $25, $30 million practice facilities.Hey, right down the road there’s one for $65 million. When they set that as the bar for how they’re treated and what they have access to in college, then you’ve got to have the same resources in the NBA.”
The new additions, which include a new video editing suite, new viewing theatre for players and coaches, massage room, additional weight room space in the weight room, a barber shop and a new dining room, bring the size of the facility to 38,618 square feet.
“We began construction in April to a lot of the interior spaces in the building, and in July, started the additions,” said Chris Oxley, the vice president and general manager of the Rose Quarter and Moda Center. “So it’s a combination of interior work as well as additions to the space.”
Upgrades to existing spaces at the facility include renovated locker rooms and pool/spa accommodations.
Some specifics on a few of the more interesting renovations.
The team had four goals in redesigning the locker room at the practice facility, which takes up 805 square feet: to make it more durable, more usable, more significant and more unique to the Blazers. These goals were accomplished by repainting the room to “brighten and open up the space” and by using team branding, such as the pinwheel logo, to “give the space definition as the Blazers’ own.” Built-in space for laundry and equipment were also added to reduce clutter.
Spa Therapy Area
The practice facility already had a pool area used primarily for injury rehabilitation, but when contemplating the remodel, the team set a goal of turning the area into “a players spa retreat” to create a space that “fosters relaxation and tranquility and space where players can unwind.”
To accomplish this, the cinder block wall was replaced in the 1,350 square foot space with white tile and accents with Blazers’ branding were added to “provide a sophisticated connection for the players.” Stone countertops and modern lighting were also installed and shower stalls were enlarged to “provide for a more private showering experience.”
The Trail Blazers spend plenty hours over the last few years on the training tables receiving physical therapy. So when it was time to remodel, the team wanted the area to feel “clean, medical and clinical, yet still needing to be warm, inviting and current.”
To achieve these goals, the remodel relocated the office and exam spaces to create a more open useful space in which to work, dded office space so all staff had a private space to meet and talk with players and integrated warm, natural toned finishes that are durable, easily cleaned and highly functional.
The remodeled practice facility no longer has a players lounge, per se, as the team realized that, aside from having a place to eat, the players didn’t really “lounge” there. So that space was converted into a space that “would be used by the players; as space where they feel comfortable hanging out and socializing, as well as eating well-balanced, nutritious meals.” The result is the new dining area that could be mistaken for a “home dining room, a neighborhood cafe, a local sports bar or a luxury hotel sitting room, all rolled into one.”
The new design features a full height wall of windows that looks outside, a “grab-and-go” station stocked with healthy snacks, large big screen TVs, custom made tables and chairs, a fireplace and a buffet counter and omelet station.
“This has really become the showpiece,” said Olshey of the dining area. “I think this probably has a bigger impact on our roster — players and coaches and relationships and chemistry and bonding — than any other area in the building because every morning you come in guys are sitting together like a family, they’re eating breakfast together, they’re sharing time together. After practice guys are lingering, they’re hanging around longer, whether they’re getting treatment, they wonder in here and there are always games on. The lounge concept, which we couldn’t accomplish with actually having a lounge, we’ve actually been accomplishing by having a dining room.”
The players have been getting haircuts and massages at the practice facility for years, but before the remodel, those functions were taking place in whatever area could be carved out of existing space. Now, there are dedicated rooms for a “barber shop” and massage.
The barber area is complete with a ac hair, mirrors, a television and wall graphics that feature iconography specific to Portland. The barber was installed after the team asked the players what amenities they would like to see included in the remodel.
“I know Wesley (Matthews) wanted a barber shop,” said Olshey. “It’s another thing that makes their life more convenient and it’s something they don’t have to worry about handling off site. So I know when were were talking about doing the renovation, that was some of the feedback that Wesley had an interest in. I think that’s worked out great because, again, it’s one more thing they can take off their plate that we can handle here for them.”
The massage area has two tables and a privacy curtain, which allows for players to enjoy their massage without feeling as though they’re laying out in the open.
Maybe the most impressive addition to the practice facility is the 1,298 square foot, 30-seat theater. Before, the team would
wheel out a television onto the court for film review. Now, the team has a dedicated theater which features a 90-inch flat-screen display and two 72 inch flat-screen display, a drop-down projector and projection screen, a full wall of whiteboard space, programmed lighting, sound and theater equipment, oversized seats
with custom Blazers embroidery that have direct access to power and data connections.
“A theater is a big thing right now because of the amount of film (review) that you have,” said Olshey.
The team also moved the video workroom to keep it within close proximity to the theater space. The remodeled space features four flatscreen televisions for multi-display viewing and multiple racks to house video and data equipment.
The Trail Blazers obviously had a weight room in the first iteration of the practice facility, but over time it was decided that the space needed for those activities needed to be expanded. After the remodel, 1,307 square feet of space was added to the existing 2,609 square foot weight room which served to give the “weight room the space it needed, create a separate space for the cardio equipment, and establish a new Stretch/Flex space that is better suited for plyometric training.” Other additions include flat panel televisions, a state-of-the-art sound system, a cinder block wall used for training with medicine balls and a compressed air system for use in state-of-the-art pneumatic resistance training equipment.
Installing multi-use, flat panel TV displays that can be used for TV viewing, as well as reader board information and training instructions;
Providing a state-of-the-art sound system throughout both the existing and the new addition spaces, with a user-friendly interface to allow players the opportunity to customize the music they listen to; Creating a solid CMU rebound training wall that can be used for medicine ball and upper body training routines; Hanging a custom, stainless steel ladder from the ceiling to allow for a variety of TRX routines to be used; and Installing a compressed air system with piping to new, state-of-the-art pneumatic resistance training equipment.
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.