Buzzer Beater Banter – Pritchard gets fired

All basketball related pieces now are posted at my basketball blog Buzzer Beater Banter

Buzzer Beater Banter is not travel or Korea related. It is basketball talk between me, Rip City to Seoul (Portland Trail Blazer fan currently living in South Korea) and my boy Criswell (Los Angeles Lakers fan living on the West Coast of the US).

Our passion for our teams and the NBA in general has driven a knowledgeable conversation over the years . We agree, we disagree, but the banter is fun and rewarding. Now it’s time to put our opinions in writing for the rest of the world to see.

Up for discussion today, the firing of Portland Trail Blazer General Manager Kevin Pritchard

Criswell raises the questions
I’m sure you heard about the BS handling of Pritchard? I’m curious to hear your thoughts. Obviously, based on my inclusion of BS in the opening sentence, I don’t care for the move. I think it’s continuing to show that Paul Allen isn’t running the team well. Firing Pritchard to begin with was a bad idea, then to do it an hour before the draft and ask him to still sit in on the draft and make the picks is pretty despicable. It’s obviously a ploy to give the new regime a freebie in the draft. If things go wrong, they can blame Pritchard. The Vulcans are going to destroy the Blazers. This isn’t baseball where you can go strictly off of numbers and build a team. It takes players who are willing to play within the team concept, and that can’t be measured in stats (see Zach Randolph, the perfect example).

Allen has money, but at this point, I think that’s his only redeeming quality as an owner. He seems to like to throw his number crunchers and business men at sports, which doesn’t work (see Bob Whitsitt). Pritchard’s brilliantly built a quality squad with a ton of upside, and maintained a lot of leverage going forward. Not to mention, he cleaned up the image of a team in total disarray and lacking of character into the complete opposite. And, that was a team of Allen’s guys he had to clean up, remember the love affair Allen had with Miles and he gave him that $48 mil contract? On top of that, Allen raped the city of Portland over the Rose Garden by having his original holding company file bankruptcy, and his other holding company come in and buy it for pennies on the dollar leaving the city of Portland with a nice little loss (douche bag maneuver).

Now, you know that I’m a Laker fan first and foremost, and everyone is light years behind them on my favorites list, but the Blazers are up on my list of favorite teams in the NBA not named the LA Lakers, so I want to see them do well. As I stated in the past, I think they are the only franchise outside of Boston, who can be a true rival to the Lakers due to the history of the teams and the way that Portland plays LA. But, this is baffling, and if situations were reversed and Jerry Buss was pulling the strings like this (or having his puppets do it as in the case of Allen), I’d be pissed as all hell and lose a lot of faith in the franchise. I wouldn’t jump ship, don’t get me wrong…thick and thin. Just when they start to get some stability, it’s instantly destroyed. Plus, it has to be of some concern for Nate because generally a new regime wants to get their own guy in on the sidelines, and getting rid of Nate would probably be a bigger mistake than Pritchard.

As the biggest Blazer fan I know, again, like I stated above, I’m curious to hear your thoughts. I’m pretty disgusted by what happened, to say the least, and I think that it’s time Allen gets the bad rap he deserves. I think it may be time for him to sell the team to an owner who is willing to put his faith in basketball people. He gets by because he tries to put a good team out there and has money, but he does it as if he has dementia.

On another note, Happy Sweet 16 to the Lakers!!!! It’s making my future Laker tattoo that much more difficult to design, but it’s a challenge worth having

Opinions and insight of Rip City to Seoul

Well said, I share some of your opinions. And… I was rooting for L.A. in the finals. Kobe was unreal, and has answered even more questions regarding his dominant place in history. I bet you never thought I’d say that.

Regarding the Blazers, I don’t like what’s happening. I have been a huge Kevin Pritchard fan, and I think he’s gonna do somebody a lot of good. And he has room for improvement.

He’s been amazing at master minding draft day dominance, even though he has been criticized for some of the Euro picks that are still marinating (Claver, Kopponen, Freeland). But his performance outside of the draft hasn’t been as great. I wouldn’t say it’s been horrible though. But if he can nail down the rest of the job, such as free agency and mid-season acquisitions… look out.

Some say that Steve Patterson got things in motion as far as the turnaround of the culture in Portland. I’ve got to give Pritchard a lot of credit for that, even if Patterson did set it in motion. It’s no doubt he put his all in to getting out of the “jail blazer” era. “Culture” and “accountability” were the only words that came out of his mouth for a few years.

I have mixed thoughts on Paul Allen. The Vulcan Inc. thing is a trip and I’m not sure if anybody really understands the power struggles and ins and outs of this organization. They’ve done weird things with the Seahawks as well, running Holmgren out for example. It’s a super secretive group, and their business portfolio doesn’t show a lot of success, sports related and not, to back up their degrees.

Letting Pritchard go just before the draft seems like a bogus move on the surface. However, the draft is a job that he was paid to do. You get paid for something, you should complete it to the best of your abilities, and I’m sure Allen knew that KP would do just that.

And, it’s being reported now that Blazer management wanted to wait until Friday to give him the boot. That Friday meeting was set. But apparently Pritchard forced the issue an hour before the draft on Thursday. And when he was let go, it was his camp that put the word out to the world. If this is all true, no doubt he’s doing his best to slam the organization and make himself look like an angel.

Back to Patterson, he said on the radio this week ( I still stream and podcast a lot of Portland sports radio from my bunker in Korea) that he heard things about Pritchard and Tom Penn master minding a take over of power in Portland, knocking Larry Miller out of the picture. You can believe what you want, but certainly that would give Allen a reason to resent Pritchard, and cause some serious trust issues.

And who resurrected Patterson? When’s the last time you heard anything out of him? Like Canzano said… axe to grind?

Let’s not forget that Allen has sunk what many estimate is over a billion dollars, with a B, in to this franchise. He’s getting old, he’s had cancer on a few occasions, and he’s got the right to do what he wants to take the team to the next level, including making a case for firing Pritchard.

Everything I have seen shows that they are now targeting GM’s with extensive knowledge and skills in trades and the free agent market, and most would agree those are not necessarily Pritchard’s strong points. Again, I’m not saying he was horrible at this stuff, but simply not his strengths.

All in all, I would like Pritchard to be the man running the show. However, I wonder if he deserved the praise he received from Portland fans. He was definitely the face of what has been going on. But was it really him? Oh to be a fly on the wall in the war room of One Center Court, witnessing the odd dynamic of Portland Trail Blazer management the last few years.

And if the new GM makes things happen, and Portland takes that next step to being able to contend with the Lakers for Western Conference Championships, this will all quickly be overlooked. It’s still an attractive job, even though Allen is running the show, in my opinion.

For the craziness that Allen’s team brings to the table, he also brings a lot of first class to the operation. A majority of players that I have heard speak about their time in Portland vs. other places have complimented the way they are treated. From training to operations, service and catering… everything, is first class.

Would I prefer a less secretive, more stable owner that doesn’t feel the pressure of what could be a terminal illness. Yes. But that isn’t gonna happen right now. And I’m not sure Allen is the monster he is sometimes made out to be. Not ideal, but I think he brings a lot of positives as well. I’ve got faith that this could very well end up in a Championship.

Criswell response

I agree with most of what you said. I think the knocks against Pritchard and trades/free agency are somewhat over done. He’s had a team that hasn’t really warranted making those types of trades. It was a young team on a sharp incline. You’re generally not going to be able to trade for the veteran leadership and quality that is what the team needs. He pulled off the Camby trade, which I thought was a very, very good trade. I definitely question the Miller acquisition, but I think they did their best with a bad free agent market last year. It was kind of a spend money to spend money type of thing, though. The prizes of the free agent market were Hedu and Millsap. Both of which, I think, are overrated. Hedu I think was just capitalizing on a great post season, which his season in Toronto certainly supports. Millsap I like a lot more than Hedu, he actually brings his game every night, but when it boils down to it, he’s an undersized 4 with a really big contract, tough to win with.

Another way you can tell the affect of KP is the performance of other teams. If you look at the draft since his first year running the show, it’s completely changed. Now teams stockpile picks and package them together to move up in select moments. KP really took that to the next level, and look at what teams did in this years draft. It seemed like 4 or 5 teams were drafting. Who knows, maybe KP turns out to be one of those front office/coach types who has a great knack for building a championship foundation, but isn’t good at putting on the capstone that will complete a team. I don’t think he was given the opportunity to prove that one way or another, though.

As far as Allen, yeah, I agree with what you said below. He certainly can do what he wants, he made the billions, we didn’t. Also, it could be much worse, he could be Donald Sterling. I do like the way he treats the players, he recognizes the people who truly butter his bread. And, when you have an owner who has billions and has shown he’s willing to spend to get results, then yeah, it’s an attractive position for a GM. What I’ll be interested to see is if the way that Pritchard was handled hurts the GM hunt or future GM hunts. I know they pretty much have their yes man in line, so it will be interesting to see how this play works.

I do have to hand it to Pritchard, though. Despite being fired, he willingly finished the draft and put all he had into it. That’s pretty classy, and something that I don’t know I could have done. As far as the stashing Euro thing, I think that’s a great idea. They had a roster full of young talent that is still developing. Stashing players allows you to potentially get a lot of value for the pick and not impact your cap space or your roster. Personally, I think it was a brilliant move, and again, something that a lot of the NBA is doing now. The Spurs really brought it back after the Blazers inadvertently started it with Zabonis, and Pritchard was a Spurs product.

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~ by ripcitytoseoul on July 1, 2010.

One Response to “Buzzer Beater Banter – Pritchard gets fired”

  1. […] Pritchard gets fired Jump to Comments Originally posted at Rip City to Seoul on July 1st, […]

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