Posted on: October 21, 2011 12:08 am
Edited on: October 21, 2011 3:22 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver.
The NBA lockout gained its first true villain when Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett allegedly helped hijack labor talks a week or so ago. (NBA commissioner David Stern and NBPA executive director Billy Hunter have been reviled for so long that they don't count as villains any more.)
Garnett, the story went, interjected into the discussions to stamp his foot down and launch into one of his patented intimidation acts, sending a message to both the league's owners and his own union leadership that he was there to draw a line in the sand. Garnett caught hell for this story, of course, because he's a bully on the court, he's stubborn, he's a little bit off his rocker, he was called uninformed as to the state of earlier negotiations and, most importantly, he's rich beyond his wildest dreams, having netted career NBA earnings of more than $200 million.
But everything said about Garnett goes double, triple, or one hundred fold, for Portland Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen. And, wouldn't you know it, Allen emerged on Thursday as the latest villain of the ongoing NBA lockout charade.
Hunter said in a news conference that Allen was tasked with telling the players union that the owners would refuse to negotiate if the players would not agree to a 50/50 revenue split. Hunter said he responded by asking whether they could table that issue to return to a discussion of system issues, and Allen only responded with silence. Shortly thereafter, talks broke down.
Allen is Garnett on steroids.
You want stubborn? Allen rode his pipe dream of running a cable company all the way to the ground, losing billions of dollars and eventually declaring bankruptcy.
You want off his rocker? He's currently being sued by his own ex-military bodyguards amidst allegations of illegal activity, his helicopter recently crashed during an excursion to Antarctica and, oh yeah, he's gone through two general managers and a vice president of basketball operations since the 2010 NBA Draft. He passes his time, including on Thursday morning, exchanging tweets about what rock song the Seattle Seahawks, his NFL franchise, should play at practice. Carroll plays along, of course, because he, like every Allen employee, knows his job depends on it.
You want "uninformed" on the state of the negotiations? Allen deputized team president Larry Miller to attend Board of Governors meetings and labor negotiations on his behalf. He put exactly the same amount of blood, sweat and tears into the possibility of a labor agreement as Garnett: none.
You want emotional? Allen recently wrote an autiobiography that included many unflattering stories about, and a recounting of decades-old grudges towards, his Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, one of the world's greatest philanthropists. The book led to a falling out between the two men, who had been friends since high school, with Allen admitting during a television interview that Gates had stopped talking to him.
And, of course, there's the money issue. All you need to know about that is that Allen has a private island for sale, owns multiple yachts (one of which cost $200 million to make, nearly as much money as Garnett has earned during his NBA career), and has a helipad on the roof of the Rose Garden, Portland's home arena. Forbes pegged his net worth at $13.2 billion on a recent list of the 400 richest Americans, a figure that made him worth more than the next two richest NBA owners on the list, combined.
Why, you might be asking, would the owners pick Allen, of all people, to deliver the hard-line message to the union that ultimately led to the disintegration of talks and all sorts of harsh accusations on Thursday?
Because he's so rich that he's immune to the criticism, as capable of buying silence and peace of mind for himself as anyone on the planet. A man who has been cleanly divorced from the common man for decades. A man who claims to have lost a billion dollars on the Blazers in his two decades of ownership and therefore couldn't care less about the fallout that results from a nuclear explosion in the middle of labor talks.
Allen refused to take questions from the media after firing GM Kevin Pritchard on the night of the 2010 NBA Draft and again refused questions when he abruptly fired GM Rich Cho in May. He doesn't care about accountability and he definitely doesn't care about the notion of a "fair deal for both sides." All he cares about, in the end, is pursuing his own self-interest to the max. Allen answers to no one, ever. If he can toss aside a childhood friend, business partner and colleague like Bill Gates, why are we or the NBPA surprised in the slightest that he is only willing to negotiate on his terms? Everything is take it or leave it with him.
Allen in the ultimate pit bull. Next to him, Garnett looks like a poodle. Did either man personally derail these lockout talks, which have seemed headed for disaster for months now? No. But if you were looking for an NBA villain, you got one on Thursday.
Posted on: October 1, 2011 4:24 pm
Edited on: October 1, 2011 4:30 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver.
Portland Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen has been on some kind of trip lately.
Over the last 18 months or so, Allen, who co-founded Microsoft, has: beaten cancer; written an autobiography that trashed Bill Gates so badly that Gates stopped speaking to him after decades of friendship; watched his helicopter crash near Antarctica; listed a private island for sale; and fired two general managers and a vice president of basketball operations for the Blazers. Now, Allen can add to that list: he has officially been sued by his own bodyguards, who allege that he engaged in "unethical and illegal" activities.
SeattlePI.com reports that four members of Allen's security team, including a former FBI agent and a Navy corpsman, are bringing suit against Allen and his company, Vulcan, Inc., in an employment dispute.
Much to our collective chagrin, the illegal and unethical activities allegedly perpetuated by Allen and his sister, Jody, who is also a Vulcan executive, are not explained in any meaningful detail.
That leads us to a fun, speculative exercise: brainstorm all the possible illegal activities that an antisocial, middle-aged, unmarried, rash computer dork with unlimited resources, multiple yachts, helicopters and mansions, who is known to fraternize with rock music stars and travels everywhere with a security staff packed with ex-military officers could get into. The list goes on forever. It might be easier to work backwards and just list the illegal activities that wouldn't appeal to him. Jaywalking. That's pretty much all I can come up with.
Allen was recently ranked as the No. 23 richest person in the United States by Forbes.com. Dollars to doughnuts this lawsuit ends with an undisclosed financial settlement out of court. For the time being, Vulcan reportedly denies any wrongdoing and refuses to comment.
Posted on: September 22, 2011 4:58 pm
Edited on: September 22, 2011 5:01 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver.
When the ongoing NBA lockout is framed as a battle between billionaire owners and millionaire players, it's often not an exaggeration.
Forbes.com released its annual list of the 400 wealthiest Americans this week, and more than a dozen NBA owners and minority owners appeared on the list, among the new school technology geniuses and old money investment titans.
The NBA's richest individual owner, according to Forbes, is Portland Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen, who co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates, the overall richest No. 1 ranked person on the list. Allen's net worth is reported as $13.2 billion and he ranks No. 23 overall on the list. He recently decided to sell one of his private islands.
Somewhat incredibly, Allen is more than twice as rich as the next individual NBA team majority owner. In second place is Amway co-founder Richard DeVos, owner of the Orlando Magic, who is ranked No. 60 with a net worth pegged at $5 billion.
Rounding out the top five richest individual NBA owners are Miami Heat owner Micky Arison (No. 75, $4.2 billion, Carnival Cruises), Denver Nuggets owner Stan Kroenke (No. 107, $3.2 billion, Walmart) and new Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores (No. 159, $2.5 billion private equity). The Nuggets are operated by Kroenke's son, Josh.
The other seven NBA majority owners on the list are: Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban (No. 171, $2.3 billion), Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor (No. 242, $1.8 billion), Indiana Pacers owner Herb Simon (No. 273, $1.6 billion), Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert (No. 293, $1.5 billion), Memphis Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley (No. 293, $1.5 billion) Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling (No. 293, $1.5 billion) and new Philadelphia 76ers owner Joshua Harris (No. 309, $1.45 billion).
Los Angeles Lakers minority owner Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, who recently purchased the ownership stake previously held by Lakers legend Magic Johnson, ranked No. 39 with a net worth of $7 billion.
Hat tip: IAmAGM.com.
Posted on: September 9, 2011 8:40 pm
Edited on: September 9, 2011 11:43 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver.
We're in the middle of an NBA lockout and that means painful cutbacks. That goes for everyone, including the billionaires who own the teams.
It's impossible not to feel immense sympathy for Portland Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen, who has decided to make the difficult decision to sell one of his private islands.
Yahoo.com has the details.
Paul Allen, the Microsoft co-founder that ranks 57th on the Forbes World’s Billionaires list with $13 billion, is offloading his private island. Allan Island, situated near Anacortes, Wash., is back on the market and at a reduced price, reports the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and Realtor.com. Allan Island has bounced on and off the sale block since 2005, when its initial price tag was $25 million. It took a $5.5 million price chop in 2006 before re-emerging with the current $13.5 million asking price. Windmere Real Estate has the listing. Allen bought the island in 1992, reportedly to build a vacation home, before snatching up the Sperry Peninsula site on nearby Lopez Island in 1996 and abandoning his original plans.The island's Windermere.com real estate listing has some additional information.
292 acre private island SW of the City of Anacortes near Skyline Marina between Burrows Bay and Rosario Strait. Accessible by private plane, boat, or float plane with a partial breakwater and dock plus a grass airstrip. Enjoy outstanding building sites with beaches overlooking Rosario Strait, the Olympic Mtns, & Strait of Juan De Fuca.No electricity? What a dump. This is like the Sacramento Kings of private islands.
And yes, you read that right: The island has lost nearly half of its asking price in six years. You've got to love the business savvy from Allen, who has honed a reputation in recent years for impatient and rash decisions and has lost untold sums of money in failed investments in the technology and cable industries.
For comparison's sake, the current $13.5 million asking price is a little bit more than what Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge is set to make in 2011-2012 but a bit less than what guard Brandon Roy will take home.
Picture courtesy of Windermere.com.
Posted on: July 11, 2011 6:23 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 10:23 pm
A look at what is at stake for the NBA's Northwest Division if a whole season was lost due to the lockout. Posted by Ben Golliver.
Talk of losing an entire NBA season is a bit ridiculous. But it's a possibility. And with all this hardline talk going on, it seems like neither the players nor the owners are wanting to budge. There's incentive for teams to get a deal done and not just for the money, but because a year without basketball and more importantly, basketball operations, could greatly affect each and every NBA franchise.
Earlier this week, we took a look at the Southeast Division, the Atlantic Division, the Central Division and the Southwest Division. Let's continue with the Northwest Division.
The NBA's worst team won just 17 games last year, had the league's seventh-worst home attendance and is generally mentioned at the top of the list of examples that "prove" the NBA's economic system is broken. That's because their local television, ticket and memorabilia revenue simply cannot compete with the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics of the world. Despite all of that, the Timberwolves might very well have more to lose than any other team in the Northwest Division if the league were to miss an entire season.
Let's start with 2009 lottery pick Ricky Rubio, who against all odds took the plunge and decided to finally join up with Minnesota. For multiple seasons, Rubio has represented hope, carrying Timberwolves fans through ugly winters and late-season collapses. The wait was excruciating. The uncertainty about whether he would or wouldn't stay in Europe further into the future made it worse. Now that he's on board, he's been greeted at an airport, introduced to his teammates, sold some jerseys and rallied the collective fan spirit a bit. To lose an entire season would make that interminable wait that much longer. It would also rob Rubio of a valuable development and acclimation year, which would be an absolute disaster. This is a point guard who needs to start on Day 1, entrusted with the full support of his coaching staff and allowed to make mistakes and build chemistry with his teammates while learning on the job. No season means no opportunity to do any of that.
Aside from Rubio, there are financial risks as well. That might be surprising, because the Timberwolves currently are the only team in the NBA that does not have anyone on their books for more than $6.3 million next season, a fairly astonishing accomplishment. Of course, there's a catch: All-Star power forward Kevin Love is on his rookie deal. Indeed, Love is heading into the last pure season of his rookie deal before Minnesota either must issue him a qualifying offer or sign him to an extension. Worse yet, it's possible that Love, one of the league's premier rebounders, will command a mini-max extension or close to it. The point here? He's set to make just $4.6 million next season, a bargain for his production. If the season is lost, the Timberwolves miss out completely on that outstanding value and are one year closer to biting the bullet on extending him without having reaped full benefits. That's tough.
Last but not least, a lost season is the perfect excuse for any franchise to delay tough decisions or to talk themselves into trying to make things work. With an imbalanced roster full of mixed and matched pieces, the Timberwolves, despite their accumulated talent, are going to struggle mightly again next season. The pains of those struggles, theoretically, could be enough to finally convince owner Glen Taylor to pull the plug on president David Kahn, a man who hasn't shown the ability to construct a team and outright wasted two second round draft picks on technical mistakes during the 2011 NBA Draft, by trading a hurt player (Jonny Flynn) and drafting someone who lied about his age (Tanguy Ngombo). A year without games, then, is a year without losses, which means another year for Kahn to preach patience and wiggle out of responsibility for this mess. The sooner Kahn is gone, the sooner this ship turns around. A lost season will make "sooner" feel like never.
OKLAHOMA CITY Thunder
While the Timberwolves need to get headed in the right direction, the Oklahoma City Thunder are already there. With the best designed roster in the league, two young All-Stars, an undisputed Northwest Division title and a Western Conference Finals appearance under their belt already, and a passionate fanbase that is guaranteed to provide 40+ home sellouts next season, the Thunder would happily start the season today. A lost season, then, would be a nightmare.
Name something, anything, and it's at risk for the Thunder. They lose the value of Russell Westbrook playing on a rookie deal. They lose the value of James Harden on a rookie deal. They lose the value of Serge Ibaka on a rookie deal. They lose one year of Kevin Durant's Hall of Fame playing career. They lose another season of playoff experience. They lose a very good chance at making a run at an NBA Finals. They lose a season of having their top eight players (Durant, Westbrook, Harden, Ibaka, Kendrick Perkins, Thabo Sefalosha, Nick Collison, Eric Maynor) all locked into affordable contracts. They lose the chemistry and momentum that goes with having an entire nucleus together for multiple years.
What's worse: they have nothing to gain from a work stoppage, other than perhaps the money that would come with increased revenue sharing. Without a single bad or untradeable contract on their books, there is no financial reason OKC would root for a year away from the game. In fact, any change to the Collective Bargaining Agreement that firms up the cap would make it more difficult for the Thunder to keep all this talent in house. That means they wouldn't get the chance to win now and their ability to win later could be compromised.
Usually, young teams that make a deep run through the playoffs can't wait to get back on the court for a second go-around. Multiply that feeling by about 10 and that's the situation facing OKC.
PORTLAND Trail Blazers
You might think the injury-plagued Trail Blazers would welcome some time off to lick their wounds and assess the damage, but missing an entire NBA season wouldn't necessarily be a good thing for this franchise. Really, it's a muddled picture.
The main benefit is clear: the Blazers have a very difficult cap situation next season, thanks to a mini-max contract for guard Brandon Roy, who is apparently no longer capable of reaching his previous All-Star level of play. Saving the $15 million owed to Roy, as well as the $10.5 million owed to aging center Marcus Camby, would be a tempting proposition for most small-market owners. Money aside, saving the miles on Roy's knees wouldn't hurt either.
Blazers owner and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, however, has dealt with serious health problems in recent years and is clearly in spend-big, win-now mode. He would cut a check tomorrow for five times his team's total salary cap if it meant a shot at the NBA Finals, no questions asked. It's difficult to imagine a financial enticement that would make it worth Allen's while to take a year off.
Aside from Roy, the other big question is center Greg Oden. Missing an entire NBA season doesn't play in Oden's favor, as he hasn't taken the court for an NBA game since December 2009. A lost season means his layoff would extend nearly three full years to October 2012. That's a long, long time to be away from basketball. Complicating that further for the Blazers is the fact that Oden is a restricted free agent this summer. The Blazers would retain matching rights on Oden if a season was lost but they would be forced to offer him an extension without being able to see whether he recovers fully to be able to take the court and, more importantly, withstand injury once he's out there. Oden could command a mid-level type of offer on the open market, which would be a major investment for Portland, because the Blazers have already committed to nearly $80 million in salary for next season, with contracts to Roy, forwards LaMarcus Aldridge and Gerald Wallace and guard Wesley Matthews already on the books into the future. Without another center on their roster who is in their long-term plans, though, the Blazers wouldn't have a choice. They'd have to pay up. Given that situation, you want as much information as possible; a lost season would mean no information.
Finally, the Blazers have a big question at the starting point guard position. His name is Raymond Felton, and he was acquired in a draft day trade for previous point guard Andre Miller. Felton is in a contract year and hasn't played meaningful minutes with any of his current teammates, except for a stint in Charlotte with Wallace. Felton will require a good-sized contract extension next summer as well and the Blazers would surely like to see how he gels with their core, particularly Aldridge, before they commit to him long-term. Without any starting quality options on the roster, they would again find themselves stuck in a corner, forced to do what it takes to retain Felton without a readily available back-up plan.
To boil it down: the Blazers have enough questions without a lost season. Missing a full season would simply create an array of complications and made some tough roster decisions that much more difficult and, potentially, costly.
Sure, the Denver Nuggets lost franchise forward Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks, but they did an excellent job of stripping their roster down to allow for a quick bounceback rebuilding effort. The Nuggets, somewhat like the Thunder, are in a financial position where their salary cap situation makes it more advantageous for next season to take place unhindered. The Nuggets currently don't have a truly horrible contract on their books, although the mid-level deal for Al Harrington and the $15 million or so left to be paid to Chris Andersen over the next three years are regrettable. Indeed, the Nuggets have committed to less than $40 million in salary for next season, pending a potentially major financial commitment to big man Nene, who has decided to test the free agency waters, and a decision on guard J.R. Smith.
The biggest risks for Denver would be missing out on the value of point guard Ty Lawson on his rookie deal and managing whatever concerns might arise about Denver's ability to use its salary cap flexibility to continue work on its rebuilding situation. Most analysts believe teams with salary cap room will be in a position of strength, regardless of how the new CBA shakes out, so perhaps that uncertainty is more of an annoyance than a true concern.
The Nuggets have a lot of questions. How will they spend their money? Who will they bring back? Who will they let go? Are the players under contract currently good enough to compete for a playoff spot in the Western Conference next year or is it better to continue slashing and burning for another season? These are good questions to have because they all point to one fundamental truth: The Nuggets have flexibility thanks to their young, cheap assets. The worst case scenario is that Nuggets fans have to wait a year to watch a promising, athletic upstart group entertain. That's not too bad.
If I'm the Jazz, I'm totally cool with taking a year off. A lost season means that Utah would save $14 million owed to Al Jefferson, $10.9 million owed to Mehmet Okur, $9.3 million owed to Devin Harris and $8.1 million owed to Paul Millsap. While Millsap is probably worth his number, the other three certainly aren't worth theirs, especially on a team that lost its foundational identity when it shipped franchise point guard Deron Williams to the New Jersey Nets at the trade deadline.
Right now, Utah's finances are pretty tight, with $61.5 million already committed for 2011-2012. Look ahead just one year, though, and that number drops to $48.7 million. To make things even nicer, Jefferson, Harris and Millsap will all be expiring that season. The Jazz will be poised to take advantage of their new-found flexibility, keeping the parts that fit (probably only Millsap) and dispensing with the rest.
The biggest risk in a cancelled season for Utah would be the lost development for younger guys like Derrick Favors, Gordon Hayward and 2011 first-round picks Enes Kanter and Alec Burks. In Favors, they have a potential franchise forward who needs to start enjoying a loose leash so he can blossom into the player the Jazz expect him to be. Forcing him to take a year off does him no good and, depending on how he responds, could do him some harm. Kanter, meanwhile, looks like an even bigger risk on paper because he was forced to sit out last year at Kentucky, his only year at the college level, due to eligibility issues and because he hasn't yet tasted the NBA game. A lost season would mean two full years away from competitive basketball, not an ideal situation for someone the Jazz selected with the No. 3 overall pick in this year's draft. As for Hayward and Burks, they are lesser concerns. Both have shown promise and clearly have room for improvement. Losing a year wouldn't be critical, but it would be better for them individually if it could be prevented.
On balance, the financial rewards seem to outweigh the development risks for the Jazz.
Salary numbers courtesy of StoryTeller's Contracts.
Tags: Al Harrington, Al Jefferson, Alec Burks, Brandon Roy, Carmelo Anthony, David Kahn, Denver Nuggets, Derrick Favors, Devin Harris, Enes Kanter, Gordon Hayward, Greg Oden, J.R. Smith, James Harden, Kevin Durant, Kevin Love, Marcus Camby, Mehmet Okur, Minnesota Timberwolves, Nene, Oklahoma City Thunder, Paul Allen, Paul Millsap, Portland Trail Blazers, Raymond Felton, Ricky Rubio, Russell Westbrook, Ty Lawson, Utah Jazz
Posted on: July 6, 2011 2:35 pm
Edited on: July 6, 2011 3:34 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Kevin Pritchard was seen as one of the brighest and best general managers in basketball. He helped rebuild the Portland Trail Blazers after the ugly "Jail Blazers" era and had the team trending upward as a contender.
And then he was fired on draft day.
It's always been a pretty odd circumstance, but one that appeared to make a bit more sense as his replacement Rich Cho parted ways with the Blazers less than a year after he was hired. Pritchard has remained mostly mum after he left Portland a little more than a year ago, but finally offered some insight on his time with the Blazers, why he took Greg Oden over Kevin Durant and a few other things. Via Sports Radio Interviews:
The Oden/Durant debate has long been settled, but it's never really been a fair fight. We don't know what Greg Oden would've done for the Blazers had he stayed healthy. Injuries are mostly just bad luck, and Oden -- and the Blazers -- has had plenty of it.
Pritchard said he still keeps a house in Portland and is still "emotionally tied" to the franchise. He was asked if he'd consider returning if Allen asked him to come back, and Pritchard said he would, even with what seemed to be an ugly exit. Obviously, that's not going to be happening. But if Allen's just going to rent another GM for a year, why not Pritchard again? At least he understands the deal.
Posted on: June 6, 2011 7:57 pm
Edited on: June 6, 2011 8:15 pm
Portland Trail Blazers president Larry Miller denies rumors concerning his team's open GM position. Posted by Ben Golliver.
DALLAS -- Rumors are still swirling around the Portland Trail Blazers' vacant GM position, but team president Larry Miller continued to insist on Monday that his team hasn't begun the formal search process to find a replacement for Rich Cho, who was fired in May.
"I just want to make it clear that all this speculation about meetings today and all this other stuff is absolutely not true," Miller said. "None of it is true. [Owner] Paul [Allen] is still out of the country. I’m in Dallas. There are no meetings that are going on and, again, our focus right now is on the draft.
"We haven’t compiled a list. We haven’t really started to go through a process of looking for a candidate, so any of the rumors that are out there are just that: rumors. Because they are not true."
Rumors surfaced on Monday morning that the Blazers had had internal conversations about possibly bringing back former GM Kevin Pritchard, who was fired last summer.
"I can say to you that anyone who has been here and been in that role before is not being considered," Miller said.
He went on to specifically rule out former GM Kevin Pritchard, former Vice President of Basketball Operations Tom Penn and former executives Mark Warkentien -- now with the New York Knicks -- and John Nash.
Miller remains upbeat heading into the draft process, even without a full-time head of basketball operations in place.
"I’m 100% confident that we’ve got the bases covered that we need to have covered in order to have a good draft," Miller said. "I think we’re in good shape as far as draft preparation is concerned. We’re looking at all the possibilities. Do we stand pat and draft in the positions that we currently have? Do we try to trade to move up? Do we try to make some other trades using our draft picks? I’m confident that on draft day we’ll make the right decision."
Posted on: June 6, 2011 3:22 pm
Edited on: June 6, 2011 3:37 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Most random story of the day award? It goes to this one, right here:
Via Newsday, the Blazers could be considering a familiar face for their vacant general manager position: Kevin Pritchard. Seriously.
"Two weeks ago, the Blazers fired Pritchard's replacement, Rich Cho, and an NBA source said Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen's staff recently discussed bringing Pritchard back."
If you recall, Allen was so eager to fire Pritchard that he canned him on draft night last year. And here, this says, if I'm reading it right, that he's considering bringing him back? Where am I right now? Why not just re-hire Rich Cho then?
Maybe it's a concession from Allen that he may have jumped the gun in firing Pritchard. Most agreed that Pritchard had done a terrific job in Portland building a winner despite setbacks from injuries and other things. And since his dismissal, he's become a hot candidate for basically every vacant GM position. So with the Blazer position being open, why not consider him, I guess.
As was the case with Cho, a lack of communication and chemistry with ownership was cited for Pritchard's firing. I guess it's possible that people can change and reconcile relationships. That's why Pritchard could return. His firing was a very unpopular decision in Portland so I'd assume bringing him back would be a decision met with approval.
Who knows, maybe this'll turn into a George Steinbrenner - Billy Martin type of thing. Pritchard will be introduced and Allen will make some joke about firing him and Pritchard will say "You haven't even hired me yet!" I can see it now. Good times in Portland.