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.
Greetings podcast enthusiasts. Between CJ McCollum getting an extension and Moe Harkless signing a new deal, Portland’s roster for the start of the 2016-17 regular season is all but finalized. So it seemed like a good time to hit the studio with Joe Freeman of The Oregonian/OregonLive.com to record yet another edition of the Rip City Report podcast, which you can listen to below…
On this edition, we discuss the near-max extension for McCollum and the four-year, roughly $40 million contract for Harkless, which directions Terry Stotts might go in terms of starting lineups and minutes allocations, the news that both Al-Farouq Aminu and Festus Ezeli will forego playing for Nigeria at the 2016 Summer Olympics, give a quick rundown of the preseason schedule and answer your Twitter-submitted questions.
Last weekend, Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum and his older brother, Errick, were guests on ESPN’s SportsCenter to discuss, amongst other things, The Basketball Tournament, which is billed as a “open application, 5-on-5, single-elimination, winner-take-all basketball tournament” in which the winning team takes home $2 million in prize money. Errick’s team, Overseas Elite, won the tournament last year and are in the finals, which airs Tuesday at 4 PM Pacific on ESPN, again this year.
But the tournament wasn’t the only topic of conversation, as any time you get two brothers together, you’re contractually obligated to ask them which is mom’s favorite. One one had, CJ still lives with his mom, so you might assume he’s the got the No. 1 son ranking sewn up, but it sounds like Errick was the much better behaved child and mom’s tend to have long memories, so it sounds like it’s a bit of a tossup.
“CJ, he was a good kid,” said Errick, “he just liked to get into things. He was really physical. She couldn’t take him around any other kids or he would, like, get into little altercations with them because he just played too rough.”
Sounds about right.
On Thursday, Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts was a guest on The Doug Gottlieb Show on CBS Sports Radio. Over the 15 minute conversation, Stotts discusses LeBron James saying he would have been his pick for 2016 NBA Coach of the Year, Kevin Durant signing as a free agent with the Golden State Warriors, the notion of “super teams” in the NBA, having confidence in your players and his participation in the Men’s Wearhouse National Suit Drive.
You can listen to the entire interview here, though I’m transcribed a portion which you can read below…
On LeBron James saying Stotts should have been Coach of the Year:
“To be honest, it felt pretty good. I have a lot of respect obviously for LeBron, what he does and what he’s done in his career, but for him to come out and say that, it made me feel good.”
On Cleveland winning the NBA Finals after being down 3-1 to Golden State:
“Obviously it was historical. A lot of things went into it, but when a team can do that and to win two games on the road being down 3-1, it’s really remarkable. It just put an end to a historical season as it was with Golden State and what they did during the regular season, the way they came back against Oklahoma City and then for Cleveland to do that, it was just remarkable. I thought it was a remarkable season to begin with and it finished that way.”
On Kevin Durant signing with the Warriors:
“My first reaction was he earned the right to be a free agent. I know a lot of thought went into it and it wasn’t a decision that he took lightly. I know he took a lot of criticism for making that decision but I think he earned that right to make whatever decision he felt was best for him. I think it’s going to be interesting with Golden State. Obviously defending them is going to be a challenge because — we talked about versatility — they were already an extremely talented offensive team and he’s going to make them better. They’re going to be a different team than they were last year, they’re not going to have the big guys. When you lose Festus Ezeli, who is on our team now, and Andre Bogut and Maurice Speights, the look of their frontline is going to be different. But I think they could be just as good just because of what they’ll be able to do at the offensive end.”
His thoughts on “super teams” in the NBA:
“You know, I don’t know if it’s good or bad for the league. I’ve just kind of accepted that that’s the way things are. I know people have made comparisons when LeBron went to Miami and that was supposedly the first super team and they won two championships, but it’s not like there was a five year, seven year run dynasty. When you get out on the court, you still have to play the games. Obviously Golden State is going to be very good, but you’ve got to play an 82-game season, you’ve got to go through four series to win a championship. I think the league does thrive on star power, whether it’s star power within a team or having a team be a star. I don’t know, I think the league is doing extremely well, I think it’s extremely popular. I think this is just another story that people are going to be interested in.”
On having confidence in shooters like Allen Crabbe and CJ McCollum:
“I’m a big believer in confidence when shooting. It probably goes back to my freshman year in college when I didn’t know whether to shoot or (laughs) you know the phrase. But anyway, I’m a big believer in confidence and Allen and CJ are two different categories. CJ struggled with injuries his first two years and was trying to get incorporated into a roster that was winning 50 games and never really got into a rhythm. I think shooting is about rhythm and confidence. Same thing for AC, really, is that he did have opportunities to play in his first two years but he was playing behind Wes Matthews and Nic Batum and his opportunities on the court were limited. When you’re looking over your shoulder and trying not to make mistakes and putting pressure on (yourself) to make a shot, it’s difficult. I really give it to CJ and Allen, they were ready for this year and they were prepared for it, the opportunity was going to be there. But I think that a lot of players — and you know, you played — is that if the coach trusts me, I’m going to play better. Whether I trusted them or not their first two years, certainly their opportunity was there and I trusted them with the role that they were going to have.”
On his participation in the Men’s Wearhouse National Suit Drive:
“Every year what I do is I go through the closet and knowing that I’m going to get some suits in the fall, I go through and weed out the older ones. There’s certain ones that I do kind of have a special place in my heart for them, but other than that, I just take some of the older suits and the Men’s Wearhouse has a great program with the suit drive to give away suits to people who can use them. I’m kind of a bigger guy so hopefully there’s some big guys out there who are able to take advantage of them.”