Interview: Pritchard on rumors and the future — part I
Portland Trail Blazers general manager Kevin Pritchard addressed the media Monday at the team’s practice facility in Tualatin, Ore.
Pritchard on questions and sourced statements about the organization and his role:
We’ve got a great organization. Larry (Miller) is a great president. I think it’s been in some articles that we’re not connected. That’s not right. I don’t like that. I don’t like when I see things written that aren’t correct. We have a wonderful organization. We’re a family. Do we have bumps in the road? Absolutely. And we don’t always agree on everything. I’ve told you guys this. And I think what makes a great organization isn’t that you disagree; it’s how you come together after you disagree. And we’re in this together. We want to win and we want to win at the highest level. And I want the focus off of this and on this team. This team deserves our focus.
On whether he’s being fired or will resign:
I don’t know that. I’m going to give it everything I have everyday. I want to be here. I really do. I’ve enjoyed working with everybody here. I just saw Mike Barrett and Mike Rice, and they just showed up here to support me. This is a great organization. Don’t take the eyes of the fact that this is a good organization that wants this community to be proud of it. That’s the most important thing.
On sounding confident about staying with the Blazers:
I don’t know that. I don’t know that. I want to be. I’m going to keep doing everything I possibly can. I’m very proud of the work that we’ve done here. And I put we: Nate McMillan, Chad Buchanan, Mike Born, Tom Penn, Larry Miller, Cheri Hanson, Sarah Mensah. I remember coming here a few years ago, and the organization was in a different place. Now, we should be very proud. This team, what this team is doing this year is truly amazing. That we’re talking about the playoffs with as many injuries as we’ve had. And that’s what I want the focus on.
On why his future is in doubt:
I don’t think I’m the person to answer that. I want to be here. I told this early on in my career as being a GM here, is that I’d be here for 20 years. Nate and I were talking about it just a minute ago, that Utah has had their general manager and their head coach for a long, long time. That stability means a lot. And I feel like I work for a great owner and with a great coach, and that’s all I can ask.
On it being tough to manage the team while looking over his shoulder:
I’m not going to look over my shoulder. I’m going to do what’s right for this team and keep doing our process. We have a lot of processes in place. We believe in them. Chad Buchanan and Mike Born are the best at what they do, and we work very well together. It’s been very fun; very rewarding to bring this team to the level that it is.
On whether his relationship with the organization has changed in the last year:
I don’t know about that. You know, you go through ups and downs. That’s typical. It’s how you deal with the down times. And I think that your character is determined by what you do when things are tough. What you will see is a resilient, tough-minded organization.
On refuting what has been written and said:
Well, don’t believe everything that is written. But the big thing is, we have a very cohesive unit. I know everybody is going to say, ‘Well, that’s spinning.’ That’s not spinning. Larry and I have communications everyday. Nate and I talk 15 times a day. I talk with the players all the time. We have a good organization. It has been turned around. And at the end of the day, the biggest thing is, we have trust in each other.
On why he has not received a contract extension:
Because I have not asked. I’m not worried about that kind of stuff. Everything that is out there; I worry about everything I can control, and I want to do the best job I can. That’s the most important thing.
That he has wanted an extension:
That he has asked for one:
No. Not one time. Never’s been asked for.
On his agent being quoted that ownership is trying to move him out:
Well, I hope ownership doesn’t. That’s the bottom line. I want to be here. If you take anything away from it, I’ve enjoyed being here. I enjoy being in the trenches with Nate McMillan.
On speaking with his agent about the comments:
Warren has own opinions. There’s no doubt about it. But this isn’t about me. This is about this organization. And, guys, this is a great organization.
On why these issues are coming out now:
I think (Penn’s) firing was the catalyst, for sure.
On how he reacted to Penn’s firing:
Well, Tom’s a good friend of mine. And that’s why I needed just a couple days to get my mind and thoughts organized. Tom helped us in a lot of ways. I only wish him the best. I’ll still stay friends with him. And I know he’ll do great in another organization.