Interview: Pritchard on rumors and the future — part II
Portland Trail Blazers general manager Kevin Pritchard addressed the media Monday at the team’s practice facility in Tualatin, Ore.
On whether Born and Buchanan will be considered for Penn’s former job:
On characterizing his communication with Paul Allen:
We communicate just like we have. It’s e-mail and anytime there’s any sort of issue, there’s communication. And I don’t mean that in a bad way, either. Everyday there’s something going on, and we try to communicate the best we can.
On his agent’s statement that Penn’s firing was a “drive-by”:
I don’t think so. I don’t know, though. I know that I care for Tom, and I care for this organization. And sometimes, there’s differences.
On whether it should be his call who his right-hand man is:
I would tell you it’s an organizational decision.
On how he heard about Penn’s firing and his thought process:
I was sad. Anytime someone is close to me, as Tom is. Look, an organization is its people, right? And as a leader, one of the things I try to do is help them any way that I possibly can. … You have many hats with the general manager’s job, and No. 1 is to help everybody else.
On open communication and talking with owner Paul Allen about his status:
Now is not the time.
No. We have to focus on the team.
On the playoffs approaching and this being an issue:
Which is what I don’t want. I want this focused on this team. This team is an amazing team. … What they’re doing now is what we should be focused on. If you think I want this focus, you’re crazy. I want it on those guys.
On clearing it up:
There will be that time. But right now is not the time.
On feeling betrayed:
Nope. Not at all.
On whether he thinks he will be back next season:
I don’t know that. I want to be here. I love it here. There’s nothing more gratifying to me. I think we’ve turned around this organization. We have great kids who are competing at the highest level. I want us to make a playoff run and do some things in the playoffs. I feel like I’ve been somewhat of a part of that. I want to see this through. I want to see this through desperately. I want that Rose Garden going crazy after a huge playoff win, a huge playoff series. That’s what I’m about. If you think it’s anything else, you guys are wrong.
On whether he is disturbed by internal links:
I can’t control those. I don’t like it.
I don’t like it. Of course, I don’t like it. I believe that we’re all in this thing together. We have amazing people that I love getting in the trenches with.
On whether he’s disturbed by other teams talking about him:
I can’t control that. I do know teams are highly competitive.
On whether his future with the team is tied to how it does in the postseason:
This postseason? I don’t know that. You’ll have to ask Larry or Paul. But guys, you know this: We’re not where we’re at without this owner being as good as he is. He’s a tremendous owner and he’s given us every opportunity to succeed.
On whether he’s surprised to be having this talk:
On whether he feels disrespected:
I don’t feel disrespected. And I’m not worried about that. I worry about the players in the locker room and Nate McMillan right now, and how I can help them everyday.
On reports that there is friction between him and McMillan:
Well, you guys are on the beat. You know it. You know it as well as anybody. I believe in Nate. I think he is an unbelievable coach. I think he will win a championship here someday. So, I don’t know how much more I can be positive on a human being. And, here’s the deal: Nate and I have a relationship where we don’t agree on everything. As a matter of fact, we can get into some heated debates. But you know what? At the end of the day, we go have a beer after that. That’s our relationship. That’s what I’ve always wanted our relationship to be. Shame on us if we agree all the time.
On whether he has received negative feedback from Allen regarding his pick of Greg Oden over Kevin Durant:
On whether the organization was on the same page for the pick:
We were. We united. We united very much.
On reports and statements made about Penn’s contract offer from Minnesota last summer:
The only thing I will tell you is the offer was real. And I’m not going to go into any details. Yes, I saw the offer, and the offer was real.