Report: Blazers searching for Pritchard replacement, may hire Jerry West

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Thumbnail image for blazers_logo.pngSeriously, if I’m Kevin Pritchard, I’m going to the beach.

After Adrian Wojnarowski (who by the way is collecting breaking story scalps this weekend like Brad Pitt in Legends of the Fall while everyone else is focused on some silly game Sunday night) broke the news that the Blazers had hired a head hunter to search for replacement for Pritchard at General Manager, Jason Quick follows up with the news that Jerry West has been linked to interest from the Blazers for the position.

Geez, talk about digging the grave before the body’s cold. The man’s still breathing!

Pritchard hasn’t been formally fired, but according to various reports, Vulcan Inc. considers Pritchard to be an egomaniac, similar to Tom Penn, who was released a few months ago.

Because, you know, egos aren’t really prevalent in sports.

Pritchard may have a bit of a big head on him, but at the same time, he’s brought prosperity back to the Blazers and has them in a position to contend. He’s smart, careful, considerate, and has only made a handful of mistakes during his term. Ditching him would be a critical mistake given not only his savvy, but his aggressiveness. On the other hand, you have to wonder if there’s more going on here than is being reported. Something seems wrong about this, either way.

West is a fairly standard choice, tossed up for every vacant GM job. He’s the Jeff Van Gundy of GM’s a this point. But West is also 72 years old, and seems to have enjoyed his retirement. Plus, this would mean him managing a team in the same division as his club in the playing days. With the way the NBA has been over the last several years, that could wind up with Brandon Roy being traded for Sasha Vujacic and a box of Ho-Hos. Okay, not really, but West doesn’t look like the kind of candidate the Blazers would be looking for.

Of course, Kevin Pritchard does, so who knows what will happen at Drama Central in Oregon?

Remembering Notre Dame, Laker legend Tommy “the hawk” Hawkins

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Tommy Hawkins passed away recently at the age of 80.

The former NBA player was the first black athlete to earn All-America honors in basketball at Notre Dame (he still holds the school’s total rebounds record), was drafted in the first round, and went on to have a 10-year NBA career playing for the Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers as well as the Cincinnati Royals. Los Angeles fans may also remember him as the long time director of communications for the Los Angeles Dodgers after his playing days ended.

The NBA put together this well done video look back at Hawkins’ career.

Celtics’ Brad Stevens said early September tests will show if Thomas ready for camp

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Isaiah Thomas said he expects to be ready for the Celtics’ training camp next month. The guard’s All-NBA season came to an early end in the playoffs when he aggravated a labral tear in his right hip initially suffered back in March. At least the injury did not require surgery.

Players are also about the worst judges of when they will recover from an injury. They pretty much all think they are invincible and will be healthy faster than doctors predict.

Coaches tend to be more pragmatic. Take Boston’s Brad Stevens, who told Chris Mannix on The Vertical Podcast that tests in a couple of weeks will show if Thomas is ready for camp.

“He has another follow-up and another scan in the early part of September. Obviously, it’s been a lot of appropriate rest, a lot of rehab. There have been some good strides here certainly in the last month or few weeks, but we’re not going to know that until after that early September timeframe.”

The Celtics are understandably going to be cautious with Thomas, while Thomas wants to prove he is healthy and has no ill effects from the injury as he enters a contract year (one where he expects to get PAID). Also, the Celtics could use him in camp as they start to figure out how he and Gordon Hayward can share playmaking duties.

Still, from the outset, the timelines have suggested he should be ready for camp in late September. Coaches are just cautious on these things by nature.

Allen Iverson predicts LeBron James will win MVP

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LeBron James has four NBA MVP trophies in his case. (Does he keep that case in his home in Akron or the one in Los Angeles… that’s a question for another day.) Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (six) and Michael Jordan (five) have more.

Could LeBron James add a fifth to his case this season?

Allen Iverson said yes at last weekend’s Big3 playoffs in Seattle.

LeBron was fourth in preseason odds to win the MVP at 15/2, behind Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and Kawhi Leonard.

To me, LeBron could be a good bet. If/when Kyrie Irving is traded, the chances of LeBron getting the MVP go up. If LeBron puts up impressive numbers (again) and leads a depleted Cavaliers team to a top two seed in the East, he is certainly going to be in consideration. And should be.

It’s a long season, and personally, I think you need to get midway through the season before seriously considering the year-end awards. But history says LeBron will be in the mix, and Allen Iverson could be proven prophetic.

Phoenix Suns with quality solar eclipse joke on Twitter

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With the cooler-than-I-expected solar eclipse on Monday came a lot of bad solar eclipse jokes on Twitter. Because that’s what Twitter does. Especially the NBA Twitterverse. We knew a lot of “where on the flat earth will Kyrie Irving watch the eclipse?” jokes were coming.

There were a couple of good ones, however.

Appropriately, the Phoenix Suns won the day.

One personal favorite here, an old meme that never goes out of style.