Nets interview Dumars, Bower

January 18, 2010: Head Coach Jeff Bower of the New Orleans Hornets in action against the San Antonio Spurs during an NBA game in the New Orleans Arena in New Orleans, LA. Tyler Kaufman/CSM.

The New Jersey Nets are considering Detroit GM Joe Dumars and New Orleans GM Jeff Bower to replace Rod Thorn.

Dumars won the 2002-03 NBA Executive of the Year Award. Under his watch, the Pistons went to six consecutive Eastern Conference finals, two NBA Finals and won the 2004 championship.

Bower helped transform the Hornets from an 18-win team in 2004-05, the year before he took over, to a franchise-best 56 victories three years later.

Notice the dates of Dumars and Bower’s successes. Detroit and New Orleans have struggled in recent years with these two guys at the helm.

Dumars did build a championship roster, but he is also the mastermind who passed on Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Carmelo Anthony to draft Darko Milicic and traded away Chauncey Billups in order to rebuild by overpaying Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva just last summer. The Pistons have gotten increasingly worse on his watch.

Bower did pluck budding prospects Darren Collison and Marcus Thornton out of the 2009 Draft, but he also made two miserable trades (for Peja Stojakovic and Emeka Okafor) that have totally handicapped the franchise financially, leading to rumors that Chris Paul would welcome a trade to ‘contender.’

Is this the best that the Nets can do? There is one name that jumps out as a great candidate for this job, and he’s looking for work: former Portland GM Kevin Pritchard.

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NBA consensus mock draft (6/16)

Chad Ford and Draft Express updated their mocks, so it’s a good time to take another look at the consensus. I also added Rotoworld’s most recent mock to the equation, and added a column (“consensus”) that makes a pick if two or more of the mocks agree on a player.

A few random thoughts…

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How much better off would the Blazers be had they drafted Durant instead of Oden?

No one can fault the job that Portland GM Kevin Pritchard has done so far. In 2005, when he was the Blazers’ interim coach, he reportedly advised then-GM John Nash and Steve Patterson to draft Chris Paul at #3, but the duo instead decided to trade the pick and ended up with Martell Webster at #6. He was promoted to assistant GM in 2006, and was involved in a series of deals that resulted in the acquisition of the draft rights of Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge. In 2007, he was promoted to general manager. That summer, in addition to drafting Greg Oden, he turned Zach Randolph into a trade exception that he used to steal Rudy Fernandez from the Phoenix Suns.

Other than an ill-advised threat to sue anyone that tried to sign Darius Miles, it’s tough to second-guess anything that Pritchard has done in Portland.

But what if he had drafted Kevin Durant instead of Greg Oden? How much better off would the franchise be with Durant on the roster?

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2008 NBA Preview: #13 Portland Trail Blazers

Offseason Movement: The two big additions this offseason were Rudy Fernandez, a versatile Manu Ginobili-like Spanish wing and Jerryd Bayless, a University of Arizona combo guard dripping with potential. In addition, the team will get Greg Oden back from an injury that knocked him out of the 2007-08 season.
Keep Your Eye On: Rudy Fernandez
Based on his play against Team USA in Beijing, I think Fernandez is ready to contribute now. He might be a little short (6’5”) to play small forward, but if the team elects to put Brandon Roy and Fernandez on the wing, they’ll be a formidable duo. Fernandez has a nice jumper and is athletic enough to take it to the rack. (He even dunked on Dwight Howard in the Olympics.)
The Big Question: How quickly will the Blazers mature?
A quick look at the team’s core reveals the Blazers’ biggest fault, and maybe its biggest strength: Roy (24 years-old), Oden (20), LaMarcus Aldridge (23), Bayless (20), Martell Webster (21), Fernandez (23), Travis Outlaw (24), Channing Frye (25). They are young. This group could be destined for great things, but it’s a matter of experience and maturity.
Outlook: Bright. Kevin Pritchard has done a wonderful job remaking this roster in short order. The coup was landing Brandon Roy, who turned out to be an All-Star caliber guard. Obviously, the addition of Greg Oden (assuming he pans out as expected) should give the franchise two stars to build around. And even though the team currently has a huge payroll ($81 million), a good portion of that ($38) is being paid to guys that aren’t even on the team anymore. The Blazers project to have a ton of cap space in the summer of 2010, when a number of stars will hit the free agent market. In fact, aside from the fact that Portland is not Brooklyn, the Blazers might represent LeBron James’ best shot at a championship. (Don’t worry, Nets fans, I don’t think that Portland is a big enough of a market for King James.)

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