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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on June 24, 2010 9:59 PM. The previous post in this blog was So much for my soccer prediction prowess. The next post in this blog is A slap on the wrist for Twitter. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Blazers' future clear as mud

Well, the Blazers have pieces falling off left and right today. Kevin Pritchard has finally been fired. There's no successor general manager in the picture so far. Martell Webster has been traded to Minnesota, in exchange for Ryan Gomes and the draft rights to a guy named Luke Babbitt. Gomes is a decent forward who can have his big nights statistically every now and then; his numbers are slightly higher than Martell's. Babbitt, a forward who doesn't play much defense, averaged 21.9 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 2.1 assists last year at the University of Nevada while shooting .500 from the field. The Blazers also drafted Nevada point guard Armon Johnson, who knows how to dish out assists, at least in a ho-hum college conference.

It's hard to know what the Blazers have planned, and now it's even unclear who's doing the planning. Head coach Nate McMillan, who's down to the last year of his contract, has reportedly been prevailed upon to hire some new assistant coaches who have a lean and hungry look toward a head coach spot next year. Owner Paul Allen's health, which has taken some serious hits over the past year, remains a question mark. There are still people prattling on about the team's future with Greg "Legs of Glass" Oden as the centerpiece.

The chances of the Blazers' becoming an elite team in the NBA seem more remote now than they have at any time since they drafted Oden on a star-crossed day three years ago. They'll keep us entertained in the winter, but they won't be playing on Memorial Day any year soon.

On a side note, it's interesting to see the Blazers strike a deal with Minnesota general manager David Kahn, who's lived a lot of his life in Portland and at least recently was a Denizen of Dunthorpe. As one opinionated national columnist remarked this week:

Under general manager David Kahn, the Wolves are becoming the organization that no one wants to send players. Kahn’s condescending, abrasive style is frustrating to rival GMs and agents because few people believe he has the background, knowledge or credentials to even hold the job.
I wonder if Kahn's controversial luxury wine resort ever got built down in Yamhill County.

UPDATE, 11:08 p.m.: I see that Portland also picked up Memphis guard Elliot Williams, whom they were reportedly quite eager to obtain.

Comments (15)

"Owner Paul Allen's health, which has taken some serious hits over the past year, remains a question mark."

That got me thinking... what is the succession plan re: Allen if something were to happen? Businesses need to have such plans.

I mean MSFT had Balmer early on as the heir apparent if/when Gates left. And Vulcan / Blazers are also a business like MSFT, but Allen seems to be calling the shots, willy nilly.

Who are his heirs? Is the estate gonna be left to some poodle, sex crazed or otherwise?

Who is his heir apparent at Vulcan?

Just curious...

I assume it's Allen sister, who would have zero interest in the Blazers. Which would mean that the team would be sold. There were several interested bidders when Allen last made a big show of putting the team on the trading block. One group of investors was led by Terry Porter.

Well, that decision just freed up 82 nights for me this fall and winter.

There's a tone deafness there that's hard to understand.

"Portland TrailBlazers name Travis Bickel new GM."

Btw, Elliot Williams best choice for them at that point in draft last night. Should be a very good pick-up.

I am quite unsure of what Portland sees in Luke Babbitt when they already have Nic Batum and LaMarcus Aldridge. I can think of a two scenarios:

1. Luke Babbitt has more talent than either Aldridge or Batum and will be groomed to be a future starter.

2. Babbitt is a trading chip along with Rudy Fernandez and Andre Miller to acquire an all star caliber point guard from another team.

As for Pritchard, I believe his success or failure depended on Oden. d-train over at Dwight Jaynes on the "Yeah, the proposed job-saving Blazer deal was for Chris Paul" thread explained in good detail why Pritchard was on the hot seat.

According to d-train, Pritchard messed up in the handling of the Darius Miles situation where Miles playing 10 games for Memphis cost Portland $10 million, Webster getting an early contract extension of $5 million, and Pritchard's spotty success in recruiting and keeping talent namely Webster, Frye, Fernandez, Jack, Blake, Outlaw, and Rodriguez.

Out of Pritchard's recruitment, only Fernandez and Oden remain with the Trailblazers.

Considering how Webster, Frye, Jack, Blake, Outlaw, and Rodriguez have turned out and where along with the doubt whether Oden can play 82 games without an injury or fouling out in the 2nd quarter, I can see why Allen and the Trailblazers axed what many consider to be a golden boy among NBA GMs.

Was Pritchard talking to Rolling Stone again?

Wow....we really are becoming Detroit

Thank god they didn't roll over for Kahn's field of dreams he tried to shove down our throats.

Kahn maybe very smart, but he's an idiot. Let him screw up the Timberwolves.

"As for Pritchard, I believe his success or failure depended on Oden."

Honestly, there was no way he could have drafter Durant and not taken a s-storm for it. If you remember, MIles was Paul Allen's man-crush.

I'm not Pritchards' uncle or anything, but remember Paterson/Nash and you tell me what GM wants to come here now?

According to d-train, Pritchard messed up in the handling of the Darius Miles situation where Miles playing 10 games for Memphis cost Portland $10 million,

Larry Miller was the one who sent that much-mocked letter out to every other team threatening to sue them if they signed Miles, not Pritchard. What could KP have done in that situation? It was completely out of his control.

...because few people believe he has the background, knowledge or credentials to even hold the job.

You can count me among that bunch.

I have absolutely cringed the last two years while looking at his handiwork in the draft. The Wolves are in constant rebuilding mode and keep trading their picks for future picks or European players who can't (or won't) play for them. They keep dumping salary, hoping at some point to strike it rich and land some big-name free agent. But if you were a star in this league, would you really consider playing for that team?

If Kevin Pritchard is looking for a job, there might be a GM opening there in a year or two.


You are right, the consensus at the time was that Oden was the #1 pick, even though he had micro-fracture surgery on one of his right knee prior to the 2007-2008 season. Makes me wonder how much do these GMs know or how much are they being kept in the dark from sports agents about injuries?

Dave J.,

According to d-train again, instead of dumping Darius Miles with a year and $10 million left on his contract, Pritchard could have pulled an Iverson and had Coach Nate bench him for a year in order to avoid the salary cap drama of him playing 10 games for Memphis.

As for Webster getting a contract extension worth $5 million, Pritchard would have to explain that.

What??? I really don't get the Webster trade. If you're going to sign high school talent and take the time to develop it, why trade that talent when it finally starts to show its potential? I was down on the Webster resigning a few years ago, but very impressed this season. He looked smart, physically durable, and still young enough to have tremendous upside.

As for Pritchard, if he was really getting such a raw deal he would have had his suitors lined up when the Vulcan controversy began and he wouldn't have spent the last months on damage control to save his job. I also haven't seen any distress from the players over the thought of him leaving. Supposedly the Pritchard controversy was going to be a distraction for the Blazers at the end of the season, but the players seemed to play quite happily knowing that he was on the skids. I think this is a Nate-saving move and the loyalty of the team is really around Nate. I too get frustrated by Nate's half court, slow offense, but the truth is, NOBODY among the NBA ex-player, talking head glitterarchy is critical of him. My skills never took me past high school ball, so I've got to trust those guys. It's really about winning and Nate has delivered that.

"If you're going to sign high school talent and take the time to develop it, why trade that talent when it finally starts to show its potential?"

cf. Jermaine O'Neal

"Makes me wonder how much do these GMs know"

Unfortunately, I think the herd instinct reigns triumphant when it comes to evaluating talent in pro sports. I think they get lazy and tend to think if most people agree, then it's right. THat's why you get the rare all-star that slips to late-round drafts that only one team wants.

Don't forget, Oden has never had an injury-free season in college/pro ball.


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Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Rosé 2016
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Chehalem, Inox Chardonnay 2015
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L'Ecole No. 41, Merlot 2013
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Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
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Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
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David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
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David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
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