If you’re looking for more draft rumors and trade talk, stop reading. You can discuss the supposed bid for Chris Paul here — and really, it would be more newsworthy if Kevin Pritchard wasn’t making an offer for CP3 — and today’s move from No. 44 in the second round to No. 34 here.
Instead, what I’d like to discuss, briefly, is the role that rumors have had in molding Pritchard’s current situation, teetering over the edge of unemployment, and how the manufactured expectations of the fan may have helped nudge him along.
Of course, we all love this time of year, as we do the trade deadline. There are possibilities abound, and with just a few whispers it can seem like even the most magnificent deal is a couple of hours away. That’s part of the NBA, specifically, and it adds an entertainment value that, while playing off our human predilection towards hope, manages not to feel to cheap. If, that is, you keep a realistic head while hypothesizing with others, which I think many, and most of you reading this blog, manage to do.
But even without getting wrapped up in nonsense and baseless conjecture, the rumors, and the excitement that follows, however rational, plants the seed of an idea in your head. An idea that spawns further scenarios and, more importantly, the “could”. Before, sure, the Blazers could trade for Chris Paul out of left field, but you hear it three days before the 2010 Draft, and all of the sudden the Blazers really could trade for him. The difference is only that before you may have just shrugged the idea off as an obvious pipe dream, but now you consider it and hey, it has a 0.1 percent chance of happening, but realistically it’s a possibility.
For KP, pretty much any idea you could cook up has, at one time or another, been pushed into that realm of, “OK, there’s an idea, it won’t happen, but there’s a chance it could happen.” For the most part, it’s an earned reputation. No, Pritchard never made those big moves for veterans other than making the obvious “YES, PLEASE” of a Camby trade, but he’s traded enough, and every year, that he always seems closer to a larger accomplishment just by sheer volume of activity. (More after the jump)
And that might be what hurts him, at least his job prospects, the most. Because, though without knowing the man privately we cannot truly asses him publicly, we know Paul Allen is a fan of basketball. Beyond that, we also have a general idea of his susceptibility to outside voices. Put those together and it’s easy to see how Allen, or someone who has his ear, might get as involved in all the rumors as we do, and with just the “could” planted in his head, feel disappointment. Add enough disappointment into the mix and even someone who has been as successful as Pritchard, who may or may not have ever had the chance to make that true game-changing trade, can see his value slowly sour.
This is not to say you should feel bad for Pritchard, at least in this respect. Rumors don’t come this often, with this regularity, every year if he wasn’t putting in calls, as well as floating some rumors and leaking more-than-some information himself, which has lead to speculation on the national and local level of the imminent arrival, at various junctures, of “major moves” . Nor is there anything to do differently, as this is a deservedly enjoyable time year for the fans. But if you are disappointed come Friday afternoon that Chris Paul or Andre Iguodala or Ty Lawson or Darren Collison or Devin Harris or Derrick Favors or any other number of players are no longer Blazers, disappointed that the only moves were to move up in the second round and then to leapfrog a couple picks in the first, think of the disappointment of all the moves that you thought of which didn’t happen.
Then bundle all that disappointment — of RLEC, of cap space, of failed consolidation of talent — together, give yourself billions of dollars, a potentially fatal illness, make yourself owner of the Trail Blazers, listen to the disappointed whispers of all your confidants, and think of how you would be thinking. There will be time for blame hunting and finger pointing later. For now, have fun, but think of where rumors alone may have pushed this team.