Friday, July 3, 2009

In KP We Trust

Just 4 short years ago our starting lineup consisted of Theo Ratliff and Juan Dixon. Just 4 years ago our sights were set on the future with players like Sebastian Telfair, Sergei Monia and Ha Seung-Jin. Just 4 years ago a guy by the name of Kevin Pritchard helped orchestrate arguably one of the greatest drafts in NBA history. For the next 3 years it seemed as though KP could do no wrong, but then the trade deadline approached in 2009 with a seemingly great trade piece in the contract of Raef Lafrentz. When the contract failed to be traded, a small contingent of fans began, for the first time, to question the abilities of our GM. The last time the Blazers were a major player in the free-agent market they were signing a young power forward named Brian Grant. Now we are on the edge of the first big free agent signing of this decade. Details of the potential deal are not yet known, and yet some are criticising it already. At this point I must reiterate: In KP I trust. Kevin Pritchard has done nothing to this point that has failed. Every "questionable" move so far has turned out justifiable at the least, at best it's been golden. Ultimately Kevin Pritchard has what's best for this team on his mind more than any one of us, so when people ask why certain deals weren't made at the deadline, I tell them ultimately if a deal would have come that would have made our team better, I trust that KP would have pulled the trigger. So is signing a 30 year old Turkoglu to a contract the right move? I do have my own doubts, but I have to remind myself that KP knows basketball ten times better than me, knows talent, and seems to know what it takes to win. If he believes that Hedo Turkoglu will bring the Blazers that much closer to a championship, KP is deserving of the benefit of the doubt. Dustin's Take: I have to admit, I haven't always trusted KP. In 2006, I was yelling to anyone who would listen that we made a monumental mistake by trading away Sebastian Telfair for, what turned out to be, Brandon Roy. Well, after seeing the first Summer League action for Roy, I was a believer and vowed to give Pritchard the benefit of the doubt in any roster transaction. Is the man perfect? No. But does he know his hoops more than 95% of the world? Most definitely. I was peeved we passed up on DeJuan Blair 3 times during last Thursday's draft and seemingly reached for Dante Cunningham and Victor Claver, a player who will not help contribute for another 2-3 years. But after sleeping on it, I knew KP had a plan. A plan that would lead to more cap space to help obtain more help for the Roy and Aldridge. A plan to get someone with NBA Finals experience. And finally, a plan to help make Greg Oden's life easier. There was a reason Dwight Howard called Hedo 3 times and pleaded with him to return to Orlando. Although we may have to overpay, I would rather overpay than do nothing at all. I'm sure KP has more tricks up his sleeve this summer and, as his body of work has shown so far, the man deserves credibility.

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