kevin-pritchard
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Friday , Apr , 20 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

Sources: Mitch Kupchak to interview with Blazers

Kupchak is one of the Blazers' top targets in their quest to land an executive with experience running a franchise's basketball operations, sources told ESPN.com.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Mitch Kupchak, things are weird with the Los Angeles Lakers.

The owner’s son, Jim Buss, is your boss despite having no experience as a basketball executive. The superstar, Kobe Bryant, is a raging Alpha Male who can’t accept that the team is better with Andrew Bynum as the top option. Speaking of Bynum, his lack of maturity is obvious.

And we haven’t even mentioned Metta World Peace, Matt Barnes, coach Mike Brown‘s offense, the press, or the rapid fan base that demand a championship every year.

Still, the Lakers quirks are nothing when compared to the mayhem of the Portland Trail Blazers.

The Blazers lost two of their top three players, Greg Oden and Brandon Roy, to injury. Long-time coach Nate McMillan was recently fired. The club is starting over.

Sadly, the on-court mess wouldn’t be the biggest challenge. That would be eccentric owner Paul Allen.

Remember, Allen fired executive Kevin Pritchard moments before the draft and casually told his former executive to stick around for the team's pick. The club spent months searching for Pritchard’s replacement. They supposedly had their man in Richie Cho, but fired him a year later for being too quiet.

There's a reason the Blazers haven't hired a replacement: no decent executive will take the gig. They don't want the mess, melodrama, and headache.

So Mitch, stick with the Lakers. The devil you know is better than the devil you don't.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

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Sunday , Sep , 04 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Portland interested in Chris Mullin for GM?

Blazers president Larry Miller has expressed a strong interest in former Golden State Warriors GM Chris Mullin, sources said. Mullin’s expected to talk with the Blazers too, sources said.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call:
Chris Mullin’s career as an executive hasn’t been normal.

The sharpshooter revitalized the Golden State Warriors before getting stabbed in the back by Don Nelson, his former coach and the man he rescued from the sideline boss scrap heap.

Then Mullin was tabbed to take over the executive chair in New York from Donnie Walsh before dysfunctional owner James Dolan stepped-in. Walsh is out; Mullin won’t be leading the Knicks.

Now he’s linked to the Portland Trail Blazers, the organization that fired GM Kevin Pritchard moments before the 2010 NBA draft only to invite him to stay for the evening's festivities.

Pritchard’s replacement, Richie Cho, was pink-slipped after being on the job for less than a year. Cho was seen as too docile, low-key, and quiet.

Perhaps Mullin should pass on the Blazers‘ gig. Right now, they’re dysfunctional, and owner Paul Allen seems determined to meddle.

Life may be a little more normal in ESPN’s broadcast booth.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

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Monday , May , 23 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Blazers again look foolish firing GM Richie Cho after 10 months

The Portland Trail Blazers have dismissed general manager Rich Cho after less than a year on the job. A statement released by the Blazers said the team and Cho had "parted ways." Chad Buchanan, the team's director of college scouting, will serve as acting general manager.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: I’m not suggesting the two are connected. I’m suggesting the timing is, well, 'interesting'.

Yesterday, an anonymous source within the Portland Trail Blazers informed reporters that GM Richie Cho wanted to suspend Brandon Roy during the first round for complaining about his minutes.
 
Anyway, Cho is gone. He’s history. The Blazers just announced they parted ways with the young executive, saying he wasn’t a ‘fit’ for the organization.
 
Wasn't this the guy owner Paul Allen hand selected just ten months ago? Wasn't this the up-and-coming basketball genius, who was going to take the Blazers to the next level?
 
Apparently not.
 
The decision to fire Cho is a shock, as he held the job for less than a year. Cho, of course, replaced Kevin Pritchard, who was fired moments before the 2010 draft, but invited to hang out for the team’s picks by Allen.
 
The Pritchard affair caused a stir around the league. The Blazers looked unprofessional. Firing Cho doesn`t help. 
 
Right now, there are few answers. However, the city’s talented beat writers –those who cover the team on a day-to-day basis- will soon have details.
 
There’s one obvious conclusion: no star executive takes the gig after Allen`s treatment of Cho and Pritchard. Whoever the Blazers hire will be cautious, especially with an employer who leaks damaging information about an employee before firing him.    
 
This is not a suggestion, but a fact.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.
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Saturday , Jun , 26 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Memo to Danny Ferry: pass on the Portland Trail Blazers

Former Cavaliers general manager Danny Ferry has emerged as one of the first front-office targets of the Trail Blazers after they abruptly fired Kevin Pritchard on draft night, according to sources with knowledge of Portland's thinking.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Danny, don't do it! Don't take the Portland Trail Blazers' front office job.

I know you're on the rebound after parting with the Cleveland Cavaliers. I know you're anxious to re-establish yourself as an NBA executive. And I know you're confident -even for a Duke guy.

We get it.

But notice the warning signs. They're redder than David Hasselholff's nose after a night on the town. And they're scarier than 'Hoff's' music videos.

For instance, executive Tom Penn was mysteriously fired by the Blazers. The club justified the move by leaking unsubstantiated rumors of Penn being involved in a human resources dispute.

More recently, GM Kevin Pritchard was fired moments before the NBA draft, but asked to participate in the war room.

Penn and Pritchard are highly respected by their peers around the league; however, they were treated with no respect.

None.

Danny, this could be you if you take the Blazers job. Owner Paul Allen is a Microsoft tyrant who will make your former boss, Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert, look tame.

Allen will scheme behind your back, too. He'll interfere. He'll meddle. And he'll interview candidates for your position while you're on the payroll. After all, Allen allegedly talked to Oklahoma City executive Sam Presti about replacing Pritchard -even though Pritchard was still on the job.

Danny, I know it's hard, but pass on Portland. Forget Brandon Roy. Forget LaMarcus Aldridge. And forget one of the NBA's most loyal fan bases.

None of that will matter when dealing with Allen. His true colors have been revealed these last few weeks.

Got thoughts?  

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Friday , Jun , 25 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

You’re fired Kevin Pritchard, but can you stay for the NBA draft?

Firing Kevin Pritchard an hour before the NBA draft, the Trail Blazers revealed themselves as extremely dysfunctional. Pritchard was told he was fired, but was asked to stay in the "war room" and participate in the draft. Then, after his dismissal was reported, the Blazers media relations department refused to confirm the firing or answer questions about it. Also, the organization heard the Blazer radio broadcast team discussing Pritchard's firing in the opening 30 minutes of their broadcast and ordered them to stop discussing the matter. Paranoia ran wild again. People feared for their jobs. It was like old times on Thursday. Distraction followed by avoidance wrapped in absurdity. And the common denominator ends up being owner Paul Allen.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Right now, Portland fans may be thinking The Jail Blazers weren't that bad.

Who fires their general manager minutes before the NBA draft, but asks him to stay and work the war room? And these shenanigans came days after the team mysteriously let go of highly respected cap expert Tom Penn.

Now owner Paul Allen always has the right to make changes; however, no decent executive will take the Blazers gig if they have to deal with a Microsoft tyrant.

Remember those rumors about Oklahoma City prodigy Sam Presti having an interview with Allen? Well, forget it. After this debacle he'll certainly stay with the Thunder. For good. 

Fair or not, Penn and Pritchard may not have been the front office duo to take Portland to the ranks of championship contender. This is a judgment call, though.

What isn't a judgment call: employees are deserving of greater respect. For instance, the New York Knicks gave Isiah Thomas a better send off than Pritchard -despite 'Zeke' ruining one of the NBA's classic franchise.

After dealing with arrests, dog fighting, and assaults, the Blazers had turned the corner with a young, good-guy nucleus of Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge.

All these efforts may be stunted by an overzealous owner in Allen. As usual, it's the NBA's most loyal fans who'll suffer.

Got thoughts?

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Tuesday , Jun , 08 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Sam Presti leaving OKC for Portland?

Sam Presti, who yesterday celebrated a third anniversary as Sonic/Thunder GM, making him a rising free agent according to my records, claims he's perfectly happy in Oklahoma. However, a Northwest source claims he interviewed in Seattle (home of Portland owner Paul Allen) for the Blazers' job. Oh, that's right, the job's taken. Kevin Pritchard owns one year on his contract but he and everyone else (I do believe the Post had it months ago,) believe he'll be fired immediately after the draft.

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HoopsVibe's Quick Call: Where there's a little smoke, there's bound to be a ‘blazing’ fire, right?

Well, change will surely be burning through the Portland Trail Blazers' front office. Here's what we know:

1) GM Kevin Pritchard has been on the hot seat for months. He allegedly doesn't gel with longtime coach Nate McMillan. And there's a feeling he lacks the experience to turn the Blazers into a contender. 

2) Pritchard is heading into the final year of his deal. An extension does not seem to be forthcoming and owner Paul Allen probably doesn’t want a lame-duck executive.

3) As the New York Post is reporting, Pritchard’s dismissal is probably imminent.

4) Oklahoma City Thunder executive Sam Presti is highly sought after.

5) When asked if he had interest in the Blazers’ gig, the former San Antonio Spurs whiz kid shot down this rumor.  

6) Presti has assembled the NBA’s best young team in Oklahoma City, so it’s unlikely he’d bolt with Kevin Durant and company heading into their prime.

7) Allen, the man behind Microsoft, has far greater resources than Clay Bennett and the small market Thunder.

Conclusion: Allen is looking to stabilize Portland’s front office, especially with news of another scandal in his organization. He wants Presti. And he’s phoned friends around the league for information about the Thunder’s architect.

It seems Presti is content in Oklahoma City, though. He has full control of basketball operations. He clicks with owner Clay Bennett. And his organization is poised to benefit from him drafting wisely.

There is one wildcard: money. Allen has too much of it, while Bennett and his partners were hit by the economic downturn. Still, Presti - unless he receives a massive offer he can't refuse - isn’t heading anywhere.   

Is Presti leaving Oklahoma City for Portland? Get at us in the comment box below with thoughts.