The Portland Trail Blazers fired GM Kevin Pritchard Thursday night after three years in which he led the Blazers from utter disaster to one of the most promising core of players in the league. He was fired despite being known for “winning” nearly ever transaction he was involved in and being one step ahead of the rest of the front offices in the NBA.
The Blazers may be looking to replace him with a man that somehow managed to not win a championship with the best player in basketball, despite an open checkbook to accomplish that goal.
Ferry led the Cavs to the Finals in 2007, and multiple 60+ win seasons. But he did so despite having the MVP LeBron James on roster and having the authority to spend what he needed to in order to win a championship. Ferry is widely considered shrewd, but unable to land the marquee deal, repeatedly failing to capitalize on opportunities given with long-term expiring contracts.
For example, he opted for Wally Sczerbiak as a marquee shooter for LeBron, Ben Wallace as a defensive stopper (despite his offensive liabilities) and Shaquille O’Neal as the Big Kahuna he caught. Then he made the big trade that netted Antawn Jamison instead of Amar’e Stoudemire. It was the right move at the time. It also probably resulted in his firing, as Jamison was unable to capitalize on what he was brought in to do against the Boston Celtics.
Ferry did deliver multiple 60+ win seasons, but has proven to be the opposite of Kevin Pritchard, opting for the safe move instead of swinging for the fences. Is that really what the Blazers need, with an injury prone roster and Brandon Roy as their only real star? We’ll find out if he lands the Blazers gig.
Spurs to give Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili Friday night off in Denver
That is the first night of a back-to-back, with former Spurs’ assistant coach Mike Budenholzer and his Atlanta Hawks coming to San Antonio on Saturday. Popovich is saving his two veterans for that game.
Duncan and Ginobili have looked like they found the fountain of youth this season. Duncan is taking on less of the offense but has been very efficient in those moments. Ginobili has the impact he did a few years back in his bench role.
What Gregg Popovich cares about is them playing like that come the postseason. So they will rest on Friday.
Rejecting the tender is a favor to the drafting team, which gets to keep the player’s exclusive rights for a year. If Thornton tries to join the NBA now, he’s stuck negotiating with only the Celtics.
By accepting the tender, the player typically gets one of two outcomes. He either plays on that contract and draws an NBA salary or he gets waived. But even getting waived is better than rejecting the tender, because at least the player becomes a free agent and can negotiate with any team.
Players who reject the tender go to another league and play for less money. In Thornton’s case, that mean Australia.
How’s that going?
(Almost) never reject the required tender as a second-round pick.
Byron Scott says they just have to get Kobe Bryant better looks
Kobe Bryant is averaging 15.2 points a game at age 37. It’s just taking him 16.4 shots per game to get there. After his 1-of-14 shooting performance against the Warriors the other night — with too much isolation and too many plays run just for him — there has been a lot of talk about his shot. With reason, this is his shot chart so far this season.
So what do the Lakers’ do? Get Kobe to shoot less and get the ball in the hands of the young stars they supposed to be developing more? Nah.
“I know his mentality is that he can still play in this league,” Scott said. “And we feel the same way….
“Obviously he’s struggling right now with his shot, and I think everybody can see that,” Scott said. “So it’s trying to get him in better position to be able to have an opportunity to knock those shots down on a consistent basis. That’s No. 1.
“I don’t know if it’s his legs. I don’t think so. Again, our conversations are pretty blunt. … He tells me when he is tired and he tells me when he’s not tired. And the last few days, he said he feels great. So, I don’t think it’s a matter of him being tired or his legs being tired. I think it’s a matter of his timing being a little off.”
Yes, how could it be his legs? It’s not like he’s a 37-year-old with more than 55,000 NBA minutes played, and coming off an Achilles rupture and major knee surgery.
Honestly, I hope the Lakers and Kobe find a balance soon, because they have become just hard to watch. And I don’t want Kobe to go out this way.