Your daily (Mon-Fri) roundup of links from around the blogosphere, typically Trail Blazers related.
- The Oregonian’s Jason Quick broke the story: Tom Penn was suddenly fired.
- Via his twitter, Adrian Wojnarowski has the following (in chronological order):
League sources have been describing unrest in front office for months, centered on Pritchard’s inability to get new contract after Penn did.
Pritchard helped Penn leverage Port with Minny job, and sources say GM expected he could get new deal too. Ownership declined, emphatically.
Many believed Penn was destined to run team, but clearly something caused momentum to change lately and Penn lost favor. And his job
- Dwight Jaynes gives his take:
The one thing I know about Penn is that a lot of people within the organization did not like him. What I heard most often was that Penn was impacting the culture in a negative way. He was apparently sensitive about things said in the media, by his own broadcasters and even others in the front office. There was a new brand of paranoia creeping in and a lot of people felt Penn was power hungry and eating away at Pritchard’s power base.
Now, Jaynes and I may have differing opinions about basketball and coaching, but this is an area where I must completely cede him the field. Jaynes has been around a long time and he’s as able to take the front office’s temperature as anybody.
— Western conference executive tells me Vulcan headquarters was livid in late summer after they realized Penn played them in getting a raise and promotion out of the phantom Minnesota offer and, “there’s real resentment at Vulcan headquarters at that whole deal.” This source isn’t buying the idea that something new happened on Tuesday that caused Penn’s firing, rather, that the Vulcans decided long ago they were going to blow up Penn the first time they had cause. What was that cause? “I’m not guessing on this, there’s no speculation here, the resentment over the Minnesota thing is real,” source said. “The Vulcans can be vindictive %$&#’s” Keep an eye on the movements of Penn agent Warren Legarie (ex-Blazers GM John Nash’s agent and KP’s agent as well) who was at the center of that situation, and also, has been involved with the Clippers extensively.
- My take on that, as a law student and as someone who has read the CBA a bit is that for a capologist you need two things; first you need your cap guru to Grok the current CBA and be aware of the issues surrounding the next one and secondly you need them to be an innovative, outside-the-box thinker. The CBA, like any contract, is more than just black and white ink on paper, it’s an idea. The approach you have to take is not “Alright, we have to abide by this rule.” You have to say “How can I accomplish X and still satisfy the rules?” and “Is there a way to accomplish X which might be more efficient or create a greater benefit for my team.” In some ways, being a capologist is like a game of Scrabble, where you work with what you’ve got and what other people have put on the table and try to maximize your score while fulfilling the requirements of the rules.
- Ben Golliver from BlazersEdge looks to the future:
Given Penn’s departure, the Blazers’ management team now has an obvious hole when it comes to salary cap management and understanding the intricacies of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. A league source has already floated Oklahoma City’s Assistant GM Rich Cho as one potential replacement for Penn.
Cho currently handles the same duties Penn did — managing salary cap and CBA issues and negotiating contracts — for the Thunder. Cho is said to have a relationship with Blazers General Manager Kevin Pritchard that dates back to before the above picture was snapped at the 2007 NBA Draft lottery drawing. Pritchard and Cho are pictured showing off the lucky charms that helped them land the #1 and #2 picks respectively.
Cho is considered an elite mind when it comes to cap management and has aided Thunder GM Sam Presti’s dramatic turnaround of the franchise.