Fill That Opening

The poll question on the front page last week asked, “Will the Blazers have a new coach by the June 28 NBA Draft?”  In short, the answer is "no," because they may not even have a General Manager by then. 

Rumors have increased their swirls in recent weeks as candidates’ names continue to pop up.  Since Rich Cho got fired late last May, Chad Buchanan has been the acting GM, but he’s never exactly gotten a vote of confidence in public from the organization.  A month ago, Chris Mullin rumors swirled when he called back to back Blazers games for ESPN.  Steve Kerr’s name seems to come up weekly, but people seem to be ignoring the fact that Kerr is very happy with his TV gig, and loves having the freedom to be a family man, which was something he didn’t have the opportunity to appreciate during his stint in the Phoenix front office.  Atlanta’s Rick Sund’s name floated out there a few months ago, and nothing came to pass. 

Then there’s Mitch Kupchak from the Lakers and Geoff Petrie from the Kings.  Kupchak seems unlikely, but apparently his relationship with the Buss family has frayed in recent years.  Geoff Petrie has history in Portland, and a rough situation in Sacramento, where the team doesn’t know where it’s going to play in two years now that the arena deal fell through.  He used to work for the Blazers organization, and it seems Paul Allen wants to go in a new direction, so his name doesn’t carry much weight in the rumor mill.

This past week, the search has heated up, with Paul Allen conducting an interview with an unnamed candidate last Monday.  Portland announced this was in fact the third candidate they interviewed, after Steve Kerr and agent/former assistant GM Noah Croom.  They have also received permission to talk to David Morway, the Pacers GM that has successfully built the team with the fifth best record in the league from bits and pieces he picked up in the late lottery/mid first round.  Sure, Larry Bird is the architect, but that’s some pretty good on the job training Morway has received.

Morway is the best candidate name that’s come up, with his track record of rebuilding a team that was in shambles after the Malice at the Palace by drafting in similar spots to where the Blazers will be drafting for a while.  With the Pacers’ playoff run still going, don’t expect to get an answer from him, or many of the other candidates they’re considering.  There won’t be an answer before the draft lottery at the end of May, when the Blazers will know if they have one lotto pick or two, which could sweeten the deal for any prospective employee.  In the end, if Paul Allen and company are going to handcuff the GM and make the draft decisions anyway, why bother hiring one before the draft?  Seems like the position could be open for at least a bit longer.

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Slighty revise my GM prediction hire date I think it'll be the first week of June.