Kevin Lee Pritchard (born July 17, 1967 in Bloomington, Indiana) is a retired American professional Basketball player and current General manager of the Portland Trail Blazers.
Pritchard played college basketball for the Kansas University Jayhawks, where he was the starting point guard on the Jayhawks team that defeated the Oklahoma Sooners for the 1988 NCAA Division I men's basketball championship. While at KU, he played under head men's basketball coach Larry Brown, and then-assistant coach Gregg Popovich, now the head coach of the San Antonio Spurs.
He was drafted by the Golden State Warriors of the National Basketball Association in 1990. He had a six-year NBA career spanning five teams--the Warriors, the Boston Celtics, the Philadelphia 76ers, the Miami Heat, and the Washington Bullets. He also holds the distinction of being the first player signed in the history of the Vancouver Grizzlies in 1995, although he was released before ever getting an opportunity to play a game for them. Pritchard's playing career also included a stint with Caceres C.B. in Spain and Pfizer Reggio Calabria in Italy in 1993-1994. He retired from playing in 1998.
Early coaching and management careerEdit
After a year working outside of basketball, Pritchard became the coach and general manager of the Kansas City Knights of the American Basketball Association (2000-), which he lead to a championship in 2001. Later, he was hired by San Antonio Spurs general manager R. C. Buford to be a scout in the Spurs' organization, and two years later was hired by the Portland Trail Blazers as director of player personnel.
Pritchard would return to public prominence in 2005, when the Trail Blazers fired then head coach Maurice Cheeks and named Pritchard as his interim replacement. Pritchard, who made it clear at the outset that he had little intent of being the team's coach on a long-term basis, used the remainder of the season to evaluate talent. That summer, Pritchard advised then-Blazer general manager John Nash (NBA) and president Steve Patterson to select Wake Forest guard Chris Paul with the #3 pick in the 2005 NBA Draft, but was overruled; the Blazers traded the #3 pick to the Utah Jazz.
In the 2006 off-season, the team fired Nash, giving Patterson the dual role of GM and president; Pritchard was promoted to assistant general manager where he was involved in the decision making for four significant trades which have been held to be favorable to the Blazers:
- A deal prior to the 2006 NBA Draft which sent Sebastian Telfair and Theo Ratliff to the Boston Celtics in exchange for the #7 pick in that year's draft and Raef LaFrentz.
- A draft-day deal which sent Tyrus Thomas (the team's draft choice at #4) and Viktor Khryapa to the Chicago Bulls in exchange for the #2 pick, LaMarcus Aldridge
- A second draft-day deal which sent the #7 pick in the draft, Randy Foye, along with cash considerations, to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for the #6 pick, Brandon Roy. Roy would end up being named Rookie of the Year, and would be selected as an All-Star the following season.
- A third draft-day deal in which the team acquired the rights to the #27 pick in the draft, Sergio Rodriguez, from the Phoenix Suns in exchange for cash.
Promotion to general manager Edit
In 2007, Steve Patterson resigned, and on March 29, Pritchard was named as the team's general manager. In addition to the selection of Greg Oden with the #1 pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, Pritchard orchestrated two more draft-day trades of significance:
- The Blazers sent mercurial forward Zach Randolph to the New York Knicks, along with guards Fred Jones and Dan Dickau, in exchange for Steve Francis, Channing Frye, and a trade exception.
- The team subsequently used the trade exception to acquire forward James Jones and the rights to the #24 pick in the draft, Rudy Fernandez from the Suns, in exchange for cash.
Due to his track record of one-sided trades benefiting the Trail Blazers, some sports commentators have coined the phrase "pritch-slap" in honor of Pritchard's alleged managerial acumen.
- NBA stats @ basketballreference.com
- Kevin Pritchard's Kansas Jayhawks 1988 NCAA Champions Basketball Pennant
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