Pritchard is no longer a Blazer
TUALATIN, Ore. — The Portland Trail Blazers fired general manager Kevin Pritchard on Thursday.
News about Pritchard’s dismissal was made public less than an hour before the start of the 2010 NBA Draft. However, Pritchard still worked with the team in the war room during the selection process.
Blazers president Larry Miller said a recent conversation between Pritchard and Blazers owner Paul Allen led to Pritchard’s firing.
“This process was more public and took longer than any of us would have liked, but that was indicative of how critical a decision this was for the franchise,” Allen said in a press release. “Parting ways with a popular general manager is not something we take lightly. In the end, we decided to make a change.”
A source close to Pritchard said that when the former GM asked Allen for an update about his future, the discussion turned into an argument. Allen then decided to fire Pritchard. But the news was not supposed to be made public until after the draft was complete.
“They had their discussion, and then a decision was made,” Miller said.
Questions about Pritchard’s future had hovered since March 16, when Tom Penn, ex-Blazers vice president of basketball operations, was unexpectedly fired. Penn and Pritchard were close friends, and are represented by the same agent, Warren LeGarie.
However, it was widely expected that Pritchard would at least keep his job through June.
While Pritchard was still employed, Portland used a search firm, Spencer Stuart, to evaluate possible replacements, sources have informed The Columbian. The firm has reportedly contacted Oklahoma City GM Sam Presti, San Antonio GM R.C. Buford and former Cleveland GM Danny Ferry.
A Spencer Stuart representative said the firm would neither deny nor confirm the report.
Buford and Ferry would not comment when reached by phone. Presti denied June 8 that he had interviewed with the Blazers.
Miller said basketball-related decisions will be made by scouts Michael Born and Chad Buchanan — longtime friends of Pritchard’s — while the team runs operations without two key front office executives. Miller added that he has no interest in becoming Portland’s next GM.
Miller acknowledged, though, that the search process to replace Pritchard has already started.
Pritchard joined the Blazers in 2004, when he was hired as director of player personnel. He was named GM in 2007.