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.
ESPN reports the Blazers are interested in former Cavs GM Danny Ferry for their open general manager position.
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.
The release of NBA 2K17, the latest edition of the popular 2K video-game series, is less than a month away. Players are starting to get their likenesses in the game, as well as their player ratings, and tweet them out. Magic forward Evan Fournier wasn’t too happy with the way his came out.
Fournier’s countryman Rudy Gobert got in on the fun, too, changing his Twitter avatar to Fournier’s screenshot and encouraging others to do the same. He even created a hashtag for it.
At least they’re having fun with it.
On Friday, the Jazz traded German center Tibor Pleiss to the Sixers along with two second-round picks for Kendall Marshall. The big draw of the trade for Philly was the picks, and Pleiss is not expected to stay with the Sixers, according to Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia’s Jessica Camerato.
Pleiss had a forgettable season with Utah, and the Sixers have a glut of bigs including Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric. It would have been virtually impossible for Pleiss to crack the rotation, and it’s unlikely another team picks up his contract, which has $3 million guaranteed this season.
As a Jordan Brand athlete, Russell Westbrook is under the same Nike umbrella as former teammate Kevin Durant. But his latest Jordan spot, released Friday, has a very pointed tagline: “Some run, some make runways.”
Given the circumstances, it’s hard to interpret that as anything other than a reference to Durant signing with the Warriors and Westbrook signing an extension with the Thunder.
For two decades, Kobe Bryant saw everyone and everything as an obstacle to overcome: The Pacers, Sixers, Nets, Magic, Celtics, Tim Duncan, Gregg Popovich, Smush Parker, a torn Achilles. It didn’t matter. Kobe’s work ethic and drive had him rising above it all.
His focus hasn’t changed now. Kobe was on the Jim Rome show, and the topic of the new-look Warriors with Kevin Durant came up, along with the “woe is me” attitude of some players (and plenty of owners and GMs).
“I would have thought less about myself if I looked at that move and said, ‘That’s unfair,'” he said. “If you’re a real competitor, you look at that and say, ‘OK, lace ’em up. Let’s go. I don’t care how many players you have over there; we’re still going to take you down.'”
Easier said than done to make that happen, but that attitude is the only one to have if you think you have a chance. You can be sure LeBron James is thinking that way and telling his Cavaliers teammates the same.
We’re going to miss Kobe.