Sports

Trouble in Blazers Front Office: GM Kevin Pritchard Out?

| by Dwight Jaynes

I think the Kevin Pritchard case is one of the more interesting situations I’ve run into in my long career following the Portland Trail Blazers. You see, all indications are that Paul Allen has had enough of Blazer GM Kevin Pritchard. Especially if it’s true that he asked him not even to sit with him courtside at the team’s games.

So, bottom line, if Pritchard no longer has a future with the team, why would you let him run this team through the NBA draft? Especially in light of this: certainly Pritchard must have a pretty good feel for his situation right now, right? He probably knows if he’s not going to be back. And he may already know where he’s going to land if he’s let go in Portland.

Folks, this is 2010. Pritchard has an agent. This isn’t the old days when GMs and coaches didn’t use agents. You have to believe that Warren LeGarie, Pritchard’s agent, has already spoken to several organizations on Pritchard’s behalf. All the while, Pritchard could — if asked — retain deniability. In other words, he could say he has spoken to no other teams and hasn’t been offered anything, when, in fact, his agent has taken care of all that for him.

And thus Pritchard could be masterminding the Blazers’ draft-day activities — and remember, with this franchise, that day has often been the biggest day for trades of the season — while already knowing where he would land next season. Can you imagine the conflict of interest scenarios wrapped up in such a situation?

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Seriously, the guy could be making a trade with a team that he potentially could be running a couple of months from now. At the same time, if he goes now, he takes a lot of institutional knowledge with him at a critical time. It makes it a real dilemma.

As far as I’m concerned, if you don’t want him around any more, why would you let him handle the draft? And at the same time, if he knows he doesn’t want to be back here next season, why wouldn’t he resign? (Uh, well, because the team probably owes him for another season or two and if he gets fired, he’d be entitled to that money).

A big reason for asking these questions is that there is a lot of noise out there right now about Pritchard. I’ve heard his name connected to two or three teams already, including a couple that don’t even have a vacancy yet in their front office. I’ve also heard he’s pretty certain he won’t be back and has plans to reunite his entire front office team from Portland in some other locale.

Man, if that’s the case, I don’t know if I’d want him to be in place with the Trail Blazers much longer. And really, if you’re Paul Allen and you don’t want him to be sitting next to you at games, do you still want him running your team?