I don't know the name of every General Manager in the league, and I only care about the really good ones or the really bad ones. Kevin Pritchard of the Portland Trail Blazers is one of the really good ones.
And he's inexplicably close to getting fired.
Team President Larry Miller recently fired Pritchard's top aid, Tom Penn. Miller is non-committal about Pritchard's future, and the writing on the wall is so clear that their agent has been spending the past year preemptively looking for Pritchard and Penn's next job.
The firing of Penn and possibly Pritchard is completely unjustified.
Not only did Pritchard completely resurrect the franchise from the Jail Blazer era (it was bad, read that article), but he created a future contender. The Blazers were the top rated franchise for future potential when the season began.
He flipped Randy Foye for Brandon Roy and Tyrus Thomas for LeMarcus Alridge on draft day (both huge coupes), made the best free agent signing over the summer (Andre Miller), and made one of the best mid-season trades (Marcus Camby).
And despite leading the league in injuries (by a wide margin, and that figure was before Joel Przybilla blew out his knee again in the shower, and doesn't include 19 missed games from Rudy Fernandez) the Blazers are still hanging around in a tough West.
He's shown the ability to construct a team that can still be competitive despite massive injuries, a la Daryl Morey in Houston.
I don't know what's wrong in Blazer-land, except that the owner must have been whimsically carried away with overrated expectations before the season began, and now that the team is not a championship contender he's looking for a few heads to chop.
Whatever the case, we're suddenly peering into dark times of what has been a model franchise in the NBA, mostly thanks to Kevin Pritchard and his eye for talent, dedication to high-character, and solid cap management.
This is the Blazer's self-inflicted loss. Whichever team gets Penn and Pritchard next is the real winner.