by: SAM FORENCICH/GETTY IMAGES - Jack Ramsay (front row, fourth from left) was part of a photo shoot at the 30th anniversary reunion of the Portland Trail Blazers' NBA champions.Unloading the notebook …

• I spoke with Jack Ramsay Saturday via phone from his condo in Naples, Fla. Ramsay.

The Hall-of-Famer, 88, was forced to withdraw from his radio analyst job during the NBA playoffs due to health complications and said then that his broadcasting career was likely over.

Dr. Jack, who coached the Trail Blazers to the 1977 NBA championship, has cancer. He prefers not to specify what kind, but in the past he has been treated for cancer of the prostrate and bladder, tumors on his lung and brain and melanoma.

He is undergoing radiation treatment now and told me Saturday, "I'm not doing good."

When asked the prognosis, Ramsay said, "This doesn't get better."

But Ramsay has beaten cancer many times before. His five children -- sons Chris and John, daughters Susan, Sharon and Carolyn -- all spend time looking in on him and helping him with his care, Jack says.

He has his good days and his bad days, son Chris says.

But Jack is a fighter, in unbelievable shape for a man his age, a veteran of many triathlon competitions over the years.

After he retired from coaching, Ramsay spent 18 years in the broadcasting industry and was a natural at that, too. He worked many years with Jim Durham, who died last November at 65.

"Jim was the best play-by-play voice I ever heard," Ramsay said. "He made my part in the broadcast easy. We had a good thing going."

Ramsay had a good thing going in Portland, too. He coached the Trail Blazers for 10 years, taking them to the playoffs nine times and to the NBA title his very first season.

"I love Portland," said Ramsay, whose wife, Jean, died in 2010. "The early years, in particular, were wonderful. That team had a rare commodity of players with skills and attitudes. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience."

Ramsay remains a revered, beloved figure in the sports history in our city. I told him Saturday that Blazer fans still love him.

"Well," he said, "I love them back."

"One of the greatest times in dad's life was when he was living and coaching in Portland," said Chris Ramsay, a senior director with "He'll always have a special place in his heart for that city."

• Whether or not LaMarcus Aldridge has "requested" or "asked for" or "demanded" a trade is semantics. Fact is, the Trail Blazers' all-star forward confided to at least one reporter that during the team's end-of-season exit interviews, he told general manager Neil Olshey that he'd like to be moved.

Aldridge should have kept that private. Whether or not he should have asked for a trade is debatable. I can understand his frustration with the team's continuing building process, but it serves no purpose to have that nugget of information out there for public consumption.

I'll say this: Aldridge has handled himself like a pro during his seven years with the Trail Blazers. He has kept his nose clean off the court. He has been courteous in his dealings with fans and the media and he has played some tremendous basketball.

by: TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER ONSTOTT - LaMarcus Aldridge can't complain if he gets traded, says Tribune columnist Kerry Eggers.If Aldridge isn't traded, I expect him to continue to handle himself professionally and do what he can to help the Blazers win. That's why he is being paid $14.6 million next season.

At least Aldridge can't complain now if he gets traded. Olshey could, for instance, ship him to Milwaukee for Larry Sanders and -- via sign-and-trade deals -- J.J. Redick and Mike Dunleavy. To fill Aldridge's spot, Olshey could re-sign JJ Hickson or bring on Carl Landry. None are the quality player of Aldridge, but you'd have a shot-blocker, shooters and interior scorer and increased depth all in one.

• Word is that Bobby Medina, respected strength/conditioning coach for the Blazers over the past 16 years, will be the latest victim of the Olshey purge.

Following that, I won't be surprised if scouting directors Chad Buchanan and Mike Born are the next to leave.

If it happens, those are three great people the organization will sorely miss.

by: COURTESY OF GREG WILTJER - Kyle Wiltjer's status at the University of Kentucky remains up in the air, according to his father, Greg.• Kyle Wiltjer's transfer from Kentucky isn't a done deal.

Far from it, says his father, Greg.

"Kyle is still a Kentucky Wildcat," Greg says of Kyle, the former Jesuit High standout who played the past two seasons for John Calipari. "He loves being a Kentucky Wildcat. He's not 100 percent committed to transferring."

But Kyle is, as his dad describes it, in a dilemma, and is considering a three-pronged decision that would mean a) playing at Kentucky next season, b) redshirting at Kentucky or c) transferring.

The 6-10, 240-pound Wiltjer started 10 of 33 games for Kentucky and was the team's No. 4 scorer as a sophomore last season, averaging 10.2 points and 4.2 rebounds while shooting .421 from the field, .367 from 3-point range and .810 from the foul line. Wiltjer was in the rotation as a freshman for the Kentucky team that won the 2012 national championship.

But with 6-7, 240-pound freshman Alex Poythress and 7-foot, 245-pound Willie Cauley-Stein back and four front-liners among Calipari's six-player freshman class coming in, there is concern about how much he would play next season.

"Kyle is midway through the college process," his father says. "The reason he chose Kentucky was a chance to win a national championship, play with the best players in the nation and be in position to have an opportunity to play beyond college. Now he's looking at what lies in front of him.

'Kyle has a great relationship with Calipari, but he's not a stereotypical Calipari player. If he were at Duke or some other place, they'd be running him off screens, but that's not the Kentucky system. And now he has all these thoroughbreds coming in. Kyle's biggest challenge is his body. He needs to get stronger and quicker, to get help with nutrition, strength and agility."

The Wiltjers visited Gonzaga on Wednesday and Thursday, meeting with coach Mark Few and looking over the campus and athletic facilities.

Few and his staff "would very much love to have him," Greg says, "but Kyle hasn't made a commitment that he's going there. He has some specific needs. They'll either get met at Kentucky or one or two other schools."

Kyle is in Toronto, training with the Canadian developmental team that will participate in the World University Games next week at Kazan, Russia. The coach of the team is Trail Blazers assistant coach Jay Triano, who was Greg's teammate on the 1984 Canadian Olympic team. Greg also played with Steve Nash, who is serving as general manager of Canada's national program. Triano has indicated to the senior Wiltjer that he believes Kyle has a good chance to be a part of the 2016 Olympic team.

Kyle won't make a decision until after the World University Games. Greg says he'll support a decision either way, but hopes if he returns to Kentucky that he redshirts. Calipari has approved that possibility, Kyle's father says. If he transfers, he'll have to sit out a year, anyway.

"The biggest time in Kyle's career lies in the 14 to 16 months ahead," Greg says. "I'd 100 percent like him to devote the next year to working on his body, but it's his decision. He feels vested in Kentucky. It has been his life the last two years. And Kyle is a very competitive kid. He is always trying to prove people wrong."

• For a player who had a pretty mediocre season in 2012-13, Dwight Howard is getting a hero's parade, don't you think?

Guy's got more suitors than Kate Upton, and he can't even dance the "Cat Daddy."

by: COURTESY OF DEREK MORTENSEN - Travis Green, assistant coach and general manager of the Portland Winterhawks and acting head coach as they won the Western Hockey League title last season, continues to explore possible jobs in the NHL or American Hockey League.• Travis Green left Sunday's NHL draft without a new job. But that doesn't mean the Winterhawks' assistant coach will be back next season.

"I've had a few inquiries," Green said Sunday from Newark, N.J. "The options I would be looking at would be as a head coach in the (American Hockey League) or as an assistant in the NHL. As of now, nothing has changed since the end of the season."

Green, 42, did an outstanding job sitting in for suspended head coach Mike Johnston for most of last season, guiding Portland to the Western Hockey League championship and the Memorial Cup final. I'd be surprised if he doesn't get a job he is seeking. But it would be a tremendous bonus to Johnston and the Hawks if he were to return for the 2013-14 season.

• Jimmy Shapiro sends along latest odds, courtesy of Bovada, making the Blazers a 100-1 shot to win the NBA championship next season, along with Cleveland, Milwaukee, Minnesota, New Orleans, Toronto, Utah and Washington.

The only teams at higher odds are Detroit, Philadelphia and Sacramento (150-1) and Orlando, Phoenix and Charlotte (300-1). Always nice to be lumped with those clubs.

Miami is the favorite at 2-1, with Oklahoma City at 11-2 and Brooklyn and the Los Angeles Clippers next at 10-1.

Go plunk down a C-note on the Blazers and you'll have $10,000 waiting for you when they win it all next June.

• Paul Castro was one of those members of the San Antonio organization disappointed when the Spurs, who lost to Miami in the finals, didn't claim their fifth NBA title since 1999.

"I don't wear pinkie or thumb rings," Castro says, "so I'd put it on the other hand."

Twenty years ago, Castro was hired to serve as the Spurs' Spanish-language play-by-play radio broadcaster. Today, he remains on the job and is an important figure in the organization.

"If you'd told me I'd be somewhere 20 years, I'd say you're crazy," says Castro, a Woodburn High and Oregon State graduate. "Words can't describe how rewarding it has been."

Castro served three years as the Blazers' Spanish-language play-by-play man, but it was a part-time gig. Then the Spurs beckoned. Today, only five NBA clubs -- San Antonio, Miami, Orlando, Houston and Dallas -- employ Spanish broadcasters full-time.

"It has been so great being around Gregg Popovich and seeing how they go about their business," Castro says. "They hire the right people and get the right players to fit the culture, and they've grown within themselves and exponentially. It's been a true blessing and a fantastic journey."

I'm kind of expecting another 20 years from Castro. He likes the idea.

"I want to be with the Spurs for life," he says. "Whenever they get tired of me, I'll walk away, but I'll never walk away angry. With everything they've given me and the opportunity I've had, how could I?"

• The Portland Thorns have averaged crowds of 12,857 for their first six home games. If The Oregonian's figures are correct, the other seven National Women's Soccer League clubs have combined to average 19,828.

Are Portland soccer fans that much smarter than those elsewhere around the country?

• One of the most delightful interviews in all of baseball is Raul Ibanez, the 41-year-old designated hitter/outfielder for the Seattle Mariners.

Right now, he is hitting like a man half his age. Ibanez belted his 19th home run of the season -- and his 10th in the month of June -- in Sunday's loss to the Chicago Cubs. Ponce de Leon should age so well.

• Pat Casey had two of his life's greatest experiences when Oregon State won back-to-back College World Series championships at Omaha's fabled Rosenblatt Stadium. So how does the OSU skipper compare Rosenblatt with state-of-the-art TD Ameritrade Park?

"You can't compare them," Casey says. "One of them was Boston Garden, the other Staples Center. At Rosenblatt, everything was intimate. Fans were closer. There was so much tradition there. TD Ameritrade is more spread out, a bigger venue, more modernized in every way.

"Both are terrific places to play. TD Ameritrade will enhance the magic that happened at Rosenblatt. What a thrill it is for me to have experienced both of them."

The dimensions of the parks are identical -- 335 down the foul lines and 408 to dead center field. Those are larger than the new Safeco Field dimensions of 331 down the left-field line, 326 down the right-field line and 405 to dead center.

Oregon State's teams are built on pitching and defense, well-suited for the spacious parks in Omaha. Casey wouldn't mind, though, if the fence "along the middle of the outfield" were moved in.

"A fly ball (at TD Ameritrade) can get pushed down the left-field line by the wind," Casey says. "If you'd bring the (center field) fence in a little, it could be more exciting. It's pretty darn hard to hit a ball out of there anywhere, but especially in center."

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