attempts to explain Blazer President Larry Miller's weak public statements on Monday
Now, put yourself in the shoes of Larry Miller or anybody else who works for Paul Allen. Blazer fans are irate and confused. Miller serves at the behest of Allen. He can't really be considered a good employee if he goes out there and says that "nobody knows what the owner is going to do!" That would be like building a neon sign, directing fans to send their ire directly to Allen. Meanwhile, it's his part of his job to insulate Allen from some of that. So he wisely didn't sell his owner down the river. Instead, he said what he could say: That there would be a review this summer.
Assuming Pritchard doesn't resign in the interim -- at this point, many think he could get a different job where he'd be happier -- that review will likely be the next important step in this process, because that's when the voice that matters most will enter the conversation.
Standing up and taking a licking for your owner is honorable and there is no question it was the smart business and political move for Miller personally.
But, regardless of the owner's whims, leaving a critical coworker flapping in the wind is unbecoming of a President. By saying nothing on Monday, the message Larry Miller sent to every employee below him, intentionally or not, was simple: "You're on your own. I am not willing to sacrifice one bit of my standing with the owner and his advisors to defend your performance, no matter how good it might have been."
If, as Abbott argues well, Miller wasn't able to talk about the future with any certainty, he still had options. He could have relied more heavily on the past. He could have personalized, and potentially defused, the situation by telling a quick story about working with Pritchard. He could have praised the management team's flexibility this season. He could have pointed to the addition of Marcus Camby as a positive sign for the team's playoff hopes. He could have contrasted where the organization stands now compared to where it stood 4 or 5 years ago and focused on the positive changes to help provide some reassurance and shift discussion. He could have discussed the team's financial improvement by operating under the salary cap and vastly increasing ticket sales in recent years. He could have stated firmly that he believed his organization had taken big strides and that its future, full of so many young, talented players, was even brighter.
He could have used any one of 100 generic communication tactics used by NBA executives on a regular basis. Instead, he said as close to nothing as possible in a time when someone desperately needed to grasp control of the situation.
Ironically, time and again, KP has demonstrated the exact ability that eluded Miller: Standing beside colleagues at their lowest moments. He personally vouched for Tom Penn this week when it surely wasn't in his best interest to do so. He put his arm around Sergio Rodriguez last season when his frustration over playing time set off an embarrassing international incident. He accompanied Greg Oden as he received an MRI on his knee in December. He spent the better part of 18 months promising hope and instilling confidence to a bench-addled Jerryd Bayless. That's leadership.
Contrast that with Miller's self-interested non-statements on Monday and tell me who you would rather go to war, or to work, with. And tell me one more thing: Who should take the real grilling during his offseason review?
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter
PS Thanks to samuelleejackson
for getting there first in the FanShots