PORTLAND - With the opening of its Tualatin practice facility Thursday, the Portland Trail Blazers are facing an uncertain return to the court in what has been an uncertain NBA season.
The league hopes to open training camps and begin free agency signings next Friday. So far Thursday, the only NBA player to show up at the Tualatin practice center was former Trail Blazer Steve Blake, who currently plays for the Lakers.
Blazers team president Larry Miller said Wednesday a decision had not been made on whether or not Brandon Roy would return. Miller added that Roy was feeling good like he's able to play and willing to sit down and talk to the team.
"I'm hoping he's going to be here when we open the doors (Thursday)," Miller said.
There was also no word on a permanent General Manager, after the firing of Rich Cho last season.
Greg Oden's agent told the team Oden's rehabilitation was progressing from a broken knee and there was a target date for him to return possibly by January. He was expected to be in training camp.
Miller said his biggest concern was going into the season "focused on basketball" after the tumultuous and late start. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban told Miller during negotiations the Blazers had been their toughest playoff challenger last season.
"I think we can compete (this year) and really challenge Dallas and the other teams," Miller added.
The NBA season will start Christmas Day after a lockout canceled the fall season.
Miller said team owner Paul Allen was portrayed unfairly and "villainized" as a league spokesman during the negotiations.
"His goal was to get the best thing he possibly could not just for the team but for the NBA," Miller said.
He added that season ticket holders had mostly stuck with the team.
"If we've got a healthy Greg and a healthy Brandon, I think we'll do great," Miller said, adding a good roster would determine the team's season.