Pritchard, Nuggets' Warkentien were scheduled to meet, sources say

Portland Trail Blazers general manager Kevin Pritchard was scheduled to meet Sunday with Mark Warkentien, Denver Nuggets vice president of basketball operations, sources have informed The Columbian.

The meeting was canceled, however, when one of the parties backed out due to personal reasons.

The convergence is expected to be rescheduled.

Pritchard and Warkentien, key front-office executives of rival teams in the NBA’s Northwest Division, were reportedly set to discuss topics including the 2010 NBA Draft and trade-related possibilities.

Pritchard has not been made available to the media since June 1. Blazers president Larry Miller said Tuesday that Pritchard is currently in New York, scouting for the draft.

An attempt to reach Warkentien through his agent, Steve Kauffman, has thus far been unsuccessful.

Kauffman said late Monday that Pritchard and Warkentien are “friends.”

“Heard they were just getting a bite to eat,” Kauffman said in a text message. “That’s all.”

News about Pritchard meeting with an unnamed NBA executive was originally reported Sunday evening by Oregonian columnist John Canzano.

The scheduled get together between Pritchard and Warkentien was set for one day after after a Yahoo! Sports report was published asserting that the Blazers had hired a search firm to find a possible replacement for Pritchard.

Pritchard is under contract with Portland through the 2010-11 season, with a team option for 2011-12. However, his job security and future with the organization have been in question since March, when Tom Penn, former Blazers vice president of basketball operations, was unexpectedly fired.

Meanwhile, Warkentien is in the final year of his contract with Denver, and his name was linked Monday to Portland’s GM position.

Warkentien spent 10 years working with the Blazers, and has long been associated with the organization’s infamous Jail Blazers era. His tenure with the franchise ended as director of player personnel, while he also served as assistant general manager and director of scouting.

Warkentien, who reportedly spends a significant amount of time living in the Portland area while being employed by the Nuggets, joined Denver in 2005. He was awarded NBA executive of the year in 2008-09.

Warkentien was originally linked to the Blazers’ GM job when Penn was fired. However, Warkentien denied being interested in the position, and refuted rumors that he had played any part in the front-office controversy that has since engulfed the Blazers.

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