The almost year-long Portland Trail Blazers general manager search is starting to bring up some old familiar names even while current interim general manager Chad Buchanan hopes to have the temporary tag lifted from the position title.
During the last two months, sports agent Noah Croom, TNT analyst Steve Kerr, and active GMs in the league including John Hammond (Milwaukee Bucks), Mitch Kupchak (Los Angeles Lakers) and David Morway (Indiana Pacers) have all been associated with Portland’s vacant GM opening.
But now there may be one more name to consider, one that is certainly no stranger to having his name linked to Portland’s front office: Geoff Petrie.
The Sacramento Kings general manager has a year left on his contract, but some believe if Paul Allen and the Blazers come calling, Petrie should answer the call.
Back in mid-April, Petrie would not comment on the opening by saying he has a job to do in Sacramento, but a lot has changed since then both on Portland’s side of the GM search and interview process, as well as the Kings’ on-again-off-again relationship with the City of Sacramento and new arena fallout.
But even if Petrie changes his tune and entertains the thought of interviewing with Portland, is he the right fit?
Could he do more wonders with Allen’s extended budget compared to, “a bunch of one-and-done lottery picks and clearance-rack free agents” in Sacramento?
It has been six seasons since the Kings reached the postseason and 12 years since Petrie constructed one of the more entertaining combinations in the league by assembling Jason Williams, Chris Webber, Vlade Divac, Doug Christie, and Peja Stojakovic, and then turning around and trading Williams for Mike Bibby. Add Rick Adelman and Pete Carril, and the Kings had all the makings of a title contender as Petrie ran away with two NBA Executive of the Year awards.
That was then.
And this is now for the Portland Trail Blazers: Rich Cho was fired from the team on May 23, 2011 and Portland does not appear any closer to making a decision on who will be the next man for the job.
Indiana Pacers general manager David Morway will reportedly interview with the Blazers for their vacant GM position after Pacers president Larry Bird gave Portland permission to talk to Morway, whose contract in Indiana runs through the end of the season.
If the reports hold true and Bird leaves the Pacers after the season, Morway would likely be retained and be “the man” in Indiana.
Portland has also been hot and heavy after TNT analyst Steve Kerr, but that relationship has gone cold. Kerr has turned down the Blazers’ offer for an interview claiming now is not the right time. He is enjoying his family time and calling games for TNT. Giving up that good life to run Portland’s front office simply does not seem worth it.
We cannot forget Noah Croom — an agent with Goodwin Sports – who interviewed with the Blazers in early April. One person close to Croom said the interview went well, but the two sides have not really engaged since the interview as the team continues to do their due diligence in searching for the right fit.
Before becoming an agent, Croom served as assistant GM for the Grizzlies from 1995-2000 in both Vancouver and Memphis, so the experience factor team president Larry Miller has said the organization would like in a candidate is certainly there.
Two weeks after interviewing Croom, current Los Angeles Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak was rumored to be on Portland’s shortlist but nothing has since materialized from those reports.
And then there is the situation with Milwaukee Bucks GM John Hammond.
Miller walked the fine tampering line with Hammond, who is under contract through the 2012-2013 season, with Miller expressing interest in Hammond as a candidate for Portland’s open GM position before actually receiving permission from the Bucks to contact him. When asked about the situation with the Blazers, Hammond declined comment.
Unlike Miller, at least Hammond went about handling the process the right way. Unfortunately for Portland it was too little too late as the Bucks have refused Portland permission to speak with Hammond.
Back to the drawing board.
Through it all, Chad Buchanan has basically beenthere waiting in the wings. A good company man who says he will do whatever the organization asks of him, Buchanan should not have to sell himself on the position. He’s already been doing that duty. Since Cho was fired, Buchanan has assumed the role not only through the rest of the 2011 season, but during this lockout shortened season as well. He knows the team. He knows the system. He is in-tune with the roster and changes that need to be made moving forward to get Portland back to the playoffs.
Buchanan would likely flourish if the GM gig was completely his to own and operate with no strings attached.
Geoff Petrie, “The Original Blazer” on the other hand, may or may not be a candidate at this point. We are waiting for the official word from either side to confirm if talks will be held.
Until then, Petrie is the GM in Sacramento.
And Portland is still without a GM.