The minute Kevin Pritchard and the Portland Trailblazers parted ways, he immediately landed on the short list for any open General Manager jobs.
He was the guy who turned Portland from the “Jail Blazers” to a respectable and dangerous playoff team. He used the second and sixth picks in the 2006 draft to find key pieces in LaMarcus Aldridge and Brandon Roy. And yes, he did take Greg Oden a year later at number one instead of Kevin Durant, it’s a decisionmillions of people would have made. Despite the revisionist history, Oden was a solid choice at the top spot at that point and Pritchard’s reasoning for the pick was sound.
Pritchard will be unemployed no longer, however. There is word this morning that he is about to be hired by the Indiana Pacers.
According to Wells, Pritchard will serve under both President Larry Bird and current GM David Morway. It’s an interesting situation because you wouldn’t think someone with Pritchard’s pedigree would take an advisory role with a team. But with Larry Bird hinting that he might step down soon, its possible Pritchard is in to learn the rope before he and Moreway take on new roles with the team.
The Pacers are an intriguing team right now. Frank Vogel went 20-18 after taking over Jim O’Brien’s 17-27 Pacers last season. They impressively challenged the Bulls in the playoffs… well… as impressively as an eighth seed can challenge a top seed in a 4-1 series loss. And depending on what the new collective bargaining agreement brings, they have some trade-able commodities and plenty of cap space.
If a guy like Pritchard can come in and manage those assets properly, you could be looking at a pretty sweet situation in Indy. You put the right star player next to Danny Granger and you’ve got a nice one-two punch. George Hill was an excellent pick up for the Pacers in their draft-day trade with the San Antonio Spurs and Roy Hibbert and Tyler Hansbrough have shown themselves to be pretty in their current roles.
With the right moves, the Pacers can turn themselves into a pretty good team. Picking up Pritchard to help do that is a very good move for Indy that should raise a few eyebrows in the East.