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?

Watch Kobe Bryant’s ‘Dear Basketball’ short film (video)

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Kobe Bryant announced his retirement in a letter called “Dear Basketball,” which was made into a short film.

Now, on the day the Lakers retire his Nos. 8 and 24, you can watch it. It’s quite beautiful:

Double number retirement fitting for Kobe Bryant

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Kobe Bryant’s career truly occurred in two acts.

He was Shaquille O’Neal’s super sidekick for three championships. Then, Kobe led the Lakers to another two titles himself after Shaq departed.

He was an athletic, high-flying slam-dunk-contest champion. Then, he became known for his cerebral play and footwork.

He faced trial for rape in Colorado (the case was ultimately dismissed, and he settled civilly), blame for Shaq getting traded and criticism for being too selfish when the Lakers struggled in the aftermath of Shaq’s departure. Then, Kobe – still beloved by his fans – again became a socially acceptable marketing force.

His 2007 trade request serves as the more accurate intermission point, but his 2006 jersey change from No. 8 to No. 24 works well enough. He had a Hall of Fame career in No. 8 then a borderline Hall of Fame career in No. 24. Think Tracy Mcgrady’s career followed by Bernard King’s – but it was just Kobe followed by Kobe and with far more postseason success.

Here are the win-share leaders with a single franchise during Kobe’s career:

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So much about Kobe is excessive – his accolades, his shot selection, his reputation as clutch. He had an all-time great career, but the myth outpaces reality.

Yet, Kobe becoming the first player with two numbers retired by the same team – which the Lakers will do at halftime tonight – feels incredibly appropriate. In his 20-year career with the Lakers, Kobe had time to succeed then succeed again in an extravagant way only he could manage.

He was dedicated and disciplined, flashy and fastidious, No. 8 and No. 24

Warriors will watch Kobe Bryant’s numbers get retired, Lakers might not

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The Lakers will retire Kobe Bryant’s No. 8 and No. 24 at halftime of their game against Warriors tonight.

The road team won’t miss it. The home team might.

Golden State coach Steve Kerr, via Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area:

“I want our guys to see it,” Kerr said Saturday. “It’ll be a pretty cool moment.

“Just to experience of one of the greatest players in the history of the game getting his jersey retired and we happen to be there? I’m not going to keep them in the locker room watching tape from the first half. The players would look at me like I was nuts.”

Lakers coach Luke Walton, via Harrison Faigen of Lakers Nation:

“I hadn’t thought much about [watching the ceremony],” Walton said Sunday. “We’re still deciding how we’ll approach halftime.

“Our first priority is still the job that we have. I’m sure there’s going to be some halftime adjustments we need to make against the Warriors. We’re toying with a couple different ideas to let guys at least see part of it.”

Kerr seems like a pretty cool guy, someone who understands what truly matters. This will be a historic moment, and that can take priority over watching video for one night in a long season.

But he also has the luxury of coaching an all-time great team. Even with Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Zaza Pachulia and Shaun Livingston injured, the Warriors are favored.

Walton has a young team that needs every break it can get. But he too should embrace the significance of the ceremony. His franchise is.

After reportedly initially being scheduled for pregame, the ceremony will occur at halftime. The NBA implemented a hard 15-minute limit on halftimes this season. Any team not ready will be assessed a delay-of-game penalty. So, lengthy speeches tonight could hinder the current team on the court. And that’s well worth the cost of doing business.

In the same regard, current Lakers watching Kobe’s ceremony would gain pride in being a Laker. There’s real value in that, probably more than in going over adjustments for a December game during a season very likely to end outside the playoffs regardless.

George Hill nails half-court buzzer-beater with less than a second to shoot (video)

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I bet this made George Hill happier.

The Kings still losing to the Raptors, 108-93, probably didn’t, though.