NBA free agency’s winners and losers
By Adrian Wojnarowski, Yahoo! Sports
As the rejections and criticisms mounted lately, NBA executives and agents described Portland Trail Blazers general manager Kevin Pritchard as “agitated” and “panicked” and even “desperate.” He kept returning to teams with the same proposals, only to be dismissed again and again. All his plans had imploded.
Pritchard has long liked to talk about never laying up on the golf course and burning through cell batteries and the way that the Blazers had outworked and outsmarted the NBA. Few have been terribly impressed with how Pritchard handled the highs of the job, and now there are doubts about how he’s handling its lows.
After the first 10 days of free agency, so far Pritchard stands as the summer’s biggest loser.
Hedo Turkoglu(notes) humiliated him with an 11th-hour dash for Toronto. By then, Trevor Ariza(notes) had already taken the Houston Rockets’ money. Pritchard couldn’t pry Detroit Pistons forward Tayshaun Prince(notes) nor Chicago Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich(notes). The job wasn’t as hard when owner Paul Allen gave him tens of millions to buy up draft picks, but free agency is a far more level playing field. Truth be told, Pritchard has failed.
All this cap space, all these big plans, and Pritchard offered a $34 million offer sheet for Paul Millsap(notes) to play behind LaMarcus Aldridge(notes). They need a small forward, but he refused to make a bid for the most talented one on the market – the Los Angeles Lakers’ Lamar Odom(notes).
Odom could’ve been had for the Blazers, but Pritchard has, for now, committed his money to a backup power forward. He could’ve dented the Lakers and met his most pressing need with Odom’s length, athleticism and versatility.
For every advantage Pritchard had in assembling these Blazers, he’s struggling with the next step: managing it all.
Pritchard’s greatest gift has been his ability to persuade owner Paul Allen to spend money. Now, Pritchard is struggling to convince Allen to give Brandon Roy(notes) a full five-year max extension. The process has increasingly stunned and angered Roy. Whatever anyone thinks, no one has had more to do with the Blazers’ revival than Roy.
Beyond that, Pritchard has a problem with one of the most well-regarded coaches in the NBA: Nate McMillan doesn’t want to sign a contract extension. He’s tried to explain his desire for one-year contracts as some kind of self-motivational tool, but no one buys it. It’s clear that McMillan wants to be a free agent in 2011.
“He knows Portland isn’t the last place he’ll be,” a league source said. “Everyone will want him.”
Multiple league sources believe there’s a wedge between Pritchard and McMillan, but both general manager and coach have long denied it. Even so, it makes league officials wonder how deeply McMillan believes in his boss’ blueprint that he refuses to commit long-term to it.
The rapid rise is over in Portland, and now, Kevin Pritchard has to manage his creation. So far, he’s endured the most rugged summer of his executive career.
I do not know why he would be considered a big loser this summer. I for one think that Millsap could work in well to the front court that is very versatile. LaMarcus could even play off the wing at times, it would create huge match-up problems and it would be wonderful for our team on the boards. It might limit our outside game to an extent, but we have excellent shooters at guard and our size advantage would make us a match-up nightmare on both ends of the court. When a guy has the athleticism of LaMarcus Aldridge, it could lead to a number of possibilities for the team. I think that Lamar Odom might have been a decent choice, but I would rather have a guy like Paul Millsap than a player like Lamar that needs the ball to create. He would not really help us on the boards as much as Paul either, who pound for pound is one of the best rebounders in the league. We will see what happens, but all in all I do not see Portland being a big loser this off-season, one where I did not expect the team to gain much in the first place.
He is! I 100% agree. Pritch just wanted to waste money. 35 mil for Millsap? Crazy. They needed to add someone like Sheed or McDyess.
They did not address the PG spot ( please dont say Bayless.)
They should've signed Sessions.
Agree KP is failing so far this summer.
lol hes just going after Millsap to pressure the Jazz, did you see the contract? its heavy loaded so its going to be tough for the jazz to match, thus they have to trade boozer which can lead to them getting hinrich in a 3 team trade