May 25

The Best Of What's Around

By caseyholdahl
I said during Tuesday's Just Casey, even with the abrupt dismissal this week of Rich Cho, that the Trail Blazers general manager job is still a great gig. Some of you wrote that off as PR regurgitation from a company man. That's understandable, but consider a few things.

First off, NBA general manager jobs are always desirable. There's only 30 such positions in the world, said positions pay relatively well and you have an opportunity to be a World Champion without ever putting on a pair of sneakers.

And the GM job in Portland is leaps and bounds better than the average NBA gig. Though you have to fit a specific set of criteria to get the job, you're still working for an owner who is willing to spend, something roughly half the general managers currently working in the NBA can't say.

Then there's the current roster. Sure, there are issues to be addressed, but you'd still be inheriting a team with multiple all-star caliber players mixed with young, potential all-star talent. Most of the time new general managers are taking on reclamation projects, and no matter what your opinion is of the current roster, you'd have a hard time arguing this team couldn't win big, and soon, with a few tweaks.

And you'd be the head of a team that has the most devoted fanbase in the NBA, something NO other GM in the league can say.

I understand why you wouldn't believe me though. I'd be skeptical too if I were you. But as Levar Burton was so fond of saying, don't take my word for it.

"It's a coveted job and it should be a coveted job," Bob Whitsitt told Joe Freeman of the Oregonian. "In my mind, it's one of the best jobs you can get right now."

Whitsitt held the general manager job in Portland for nine years before being released. I guess the cynic in you might argue he's saying kind things about the job because he's interested in giving it another go-round, but he's also a guy who has been fired my Allen, so there's that. And he's not the only guy with GM experience who thinks the top job in Portland is still a good get.

"There's legitimate cause for concern," said Steve Kerr, who himself resigned as Suns general manager and now works on TNT broadcasts. "But to say that job isn't coveted is the convenient thing to say right now. If someone was interested in a GM job, Portland still stands out. It's still desirable."

And that's really what I'm getting at. Are the Trail Blazers going to be able to coax a top-tier GM away from another team? Maybe not, but those guys never leave anyway, and every other executive in the league with designs on one day or once again being a GM knows that. A guy could grow old waiting for the best general manager job to come open.

I break it down like this. There are eight general managers with near to absolute iron-clad job security. Those jobs aren't opening up anytime soon unless the current GM decides to leave, which isn't likely. I count six more teams with tenuous ownership situations that even the most ardent critic of Mr. Allen would admit are worse than what we have here in Portland (or at least worse than the perception of what we have here in Portland). I count four teams with ongoing financial difficulty that have significantly affected personnel decisions made by those teams. And finally, I count two teams that are perennial losers that also have a mix of the issues listed above. That's twenty teams total, leaving ten possible general manager positions conceivably available that the media and public could realistically consider better than the job here in Portland. That's slim pickings.

Every general manager is subject to the whims of their owner. Every. Single. One. If you can get over that, you're likely to find that being the general manager of the Portland Trail Blazers is a better job than most.


  1. Hey Casey:

    I believe you, and I understand the concept of communications. I have seen many and many people that knows the job and can actually do the job better, but isn't worth a darn at leadership. I am also in that category. Too bad we can't clone half of Prichard and half of Cho, then get what the Blazers want. I had nothing against either GM, but I have to agree with Paul Allen, If the shoe doesn't fit, don't wear it. To break the shoe into your feet isn't necessarily the best policy, it causes irritation, discomfort and sometimes blisters. Therefore, if you got the money and the inclination go out and find a special brand of shoe that is personally made for you. In the end, it is still Paul's organization and he will find his GM.

    Do you remember the old song of over-looking an orchard while searching for a rose? This may be the case here. I am speaking of Chad Buchanan. He appears to know the job, he appears to have leadership and communications skills and seems to know what Paul wants; plus the fact, with the looming lock-out, if they wait, they can get some valuable apprenticeship out of him before the make a final commitment. Prichard contract will also be off the books by then. All in all, I think Chad is our man.

    by Hg on 5/26/2011 6:55 AM
  2. I'll take the job. mbmurr1

    by mbmurr1 on 5/26/2011 8:14 AM
  3. I'd be happy to have Chad in that position. mbmurr, you're a close second.

    by caseyholdahl on 5/26/2011 8:23 AM
  4. In my opinion, PA is only going to be happy with someone that would be willing to "share" GM duties with him. That is to say, PA won't be giving his GM the amount of control and power the right candidate for the job should have. Any good GM candidate that has their own vision for how to get the Blazers to the top probably will not be given the job due to the fact that the candidate will never get a full opportunity to implement their vision. The next GM will be someone who will be willing to compromise their vision for the benefit of the owner. I expect the next GM will be someone young, maybe like Chad, who may fit this profile.

    by curtgowdy on 5/26/2011 10:30 AM
  5. @curtgowdy:

    If I owned a BB team my main purpose would to be part of the decision making. Because just being the owner wouldn't be enough. To get a GM that can give his 2 cents and still work with the team shouldn't and wouldn't be that hard to find. It wasn't said that Cho didn't do a good job, it was just said he wouldn't communicate his vision to Paul. I wouldn't think that would be implementing your vision too much. If your vision is going to take millions of dollars and a few years, shouldn't you a least let the guy that is opening his pocket book share your vision.

    by Hg on 5/26/2011 10:59 AM
  6. Chad would be a pretty good choice, and since he's held the position on an interim basis twice now, there apparently is enough confidence in him to warrant serious consideration.

    i would not hire you however, mbmurr1. though i know a couple deals are probably inevitable, i like the core of what we have. you'd just end up trading everyone away even though that is obviously not the answer.

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 5/28/2011 7:15 PM
  7. I thought it was great on twitter on Monday how everyone kept telling Kassandra she should be GM. Given her fandom and iq, she'd be a perfect choice!

    by julianne on 5/29/2011 5:52 PM
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