Kevin Pritchard says goodbye to Portland


“The man was just a GM.” I’m sure that’s what representatives of the Portland Trail Blazers’ ownership group are telling themselves this morning. He was just a GM. He didn’t mean as much as a player, or a coach. He was just a guy signing paperwork and making phone calls. 

But Kevin Pritchard’s dismissal at Thursday’s NBA Draft was a lot more than just the release of a GM to the fans in Portland. Pritchard had lodged himself in the community of the Blazers, in their culture. He was considered as much an asset with his trades and shrewd drafting as LaMarcus Aldridge is for his rebounding and mid-range jumper. 
And if you needed evidence of how he connected with the city, nebulous ownership group? Just check the paper. 
The Oregonian features, on this fine Sunday morning, a goodbye letter from Pritchard to the fans in Portland. In it, he lobs no grenades, parries no swords. Instead he thanks Paul Allen for the opportunity to work with the Blazers, thanks the fans, and says that in the end, “it’s just basketball.” It is classy and sincere and fairly honest, many of the things that Pritchard was reported not considered to be by the Blazers’ ownership collective. 
Pritchard won’t be out of work long. He’s likely already fielding calls and offers. He’s aggressive, smart, and dedicated. But like he says in the goodbye letter, he’ll always be a Trail Blazer. 
Of course, if I’m the Blazers, I tell the next guy not to make any deals with ol’ KP under any circumstances whatsoever, no matter how good the deal may seem. They’ve already reaped the benefits of Pritchard being one step of the game. It’s just a shame that the final step saw the rug pulled out from under him. 

PBT Extra bold prediction previews: No, Lakers are not playoff bound

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When you ask Lakers fans for bold predictions, you get the delusional to come out of the woodwork.

Most Lakers fans I know — remember, I’m a former Laker blogger living in So Cal, even my optometrist wants to talk Lakers during my eye exam — are realistic about where the team is in the rebuild process. Like me, they want to see a healthy season of Kobe Bryant where he can choose whether or not to continue his career on his terms, not Father Time’s.

But Lakers exceptionalism is a thing, and there are Lakers fans living in a fantasy land.

That’s what Jenna Corrado and I get to in the latest PBT Extra: There are Lakers fans that think they are playoff bound. And there are people who expect even more than that from this team this year — like Kobe Bryant to return to MVP form. Those people need to stop taking so much glaucoma medication.

Thabo Sefolosha’s lawyer: White police officer targeted black Hawks forward

Thabo Sefolosha
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NEW YORK (AP) — A lawyer representing a professional basketball player arrested outside a New York City nightclub has told a jury his client was targeted because he’s black.

Attorney Alex Spiro said Tuesday in Manhattan Criminal Court that a white police officer saw a black man in a hoodie when he confronted the Atlanta Hawks’ Thabo Sefolosha on April 8.

Sefolosha was arrested while leaving a Manhattan nightclub following a stabbing. He subsequently suffered a season-ending leg fracture after a confrontation with police.

A prosecutor said in opening statements that Sefolosha called an officer who repeatedly told him and others to leave a “midget.”

Sefolosha pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges. The Swiss citizen declined a plea deal from prosecutors.