Blazers Sign Head Scouts Mike Born & Chad Buchanan To Contract Extensions

Kevin Pritchard, Mike Born and Chad Buchanan evaluate draft prospects last week. Photo: Ben Golliver | Blazersedge

Text from the Blazers...

Trail Blazers sign Michael Born, Director of NBA Scouting and Chad Buchanan, Director of College Scouting to two-year contract extensions.

Blazers.com has the full release from the team.

PORTLAND, Ore. - The Portland Trail Blazers have extended the contracts of Michael Born, Director of NBA Scouting, and Chad Buchanan, Director of College Scouting, it was announced today by General Manager Kevin Pritchard.
 
The two-year extensions will keep Born and Buchanan under contract through June of 2012.
 
"Both Mike and Chad have done a tremendous job for us in their six years here," said Pritchard. "They're tireless workers who sleep, eat and drink basketball and have played a huge role in our success."
 
The team's Director of NBA Scouting for the past three seasons, Born attends games on the NBA, minor league and international levels to evaluate talent for trades and free agency, along with prospective draft picks. Born, 44, joined the Trail Blazers in 2004 as a domestic scout, a position he held until promoted to his current role in 2007.
 
Buchanan also spent three years as a domestic scout for the Trail Blazers from 2004-07 before becoming the team's Director of College Scouting in 2007. In his current position, Buchanan, 37, oversees all college, international and high school scouting in addition to managing the continued development of database content, organizing all pre-draft workouts and assisting in NBA player evaluation.    

This move is not unexpected and it should be received as a comforting development.  By all accounts, the Blazers scouting department is highly regarded by its peers due to its collective work ethic, depth and international approach.  Aside from the tangible results on draft day, Born and Buchanan both bring very steady, reliable, positive personalities to the table.  They are basketball junkies in the best sense of the word.  

These extensions are important for a couple reasons.  

First, they show that the organization's power structure, which has been difficult to read lately, values their contributions and believes in their approach, which mixes statistical analysis and in-person scouting.  As described back in March, the team has compiled a herd of smart young minds to analyze player tendencies and efficiencies. Presumably that system remains in place with this vote of confidence for its scouting department.  To me, that is a crucial development, especially if Pritchard's future is elsewhere.   

Second, these extensions represent invaluable stability going forward.  Like I wrote earlier this week, we're in a chapter of Blazers history right now where there are a lot of unknowns and a lot of shifting dynamics.  Both Buchanan and Born have comported themselves with the utmost professionalism and steadiness in the face of this adversity.  Given their close personal relationship with Kevin Pritchard, and having eye-witness views to what he has been through over the last few months, this is extraordinary and, I believe, under-appreciated. 

The key "next step" question is obviously: What do these extensions mean for Kevin Pritchard's future?  The short answer, in my opinion, is that they definitely don't hurt but they don't necessarily help.  Validation of their work is a good sign for Pritchard in that he has empowered both of them and trusts them both considerably. But Pritchard's future will ultimately be decided on his own merit, if it hasn't been decided already.  

Either way, keeping Born and Buchanan is a win.  If bygones become bygones and somehow Pritchard winds up staying, the organization only has one hole in the front office to plug. If he does move on, the organization's stable, fully-functional scouting department is a strong asset that can be used to help lure its new management team.

In a summer that's been anything but fun so far, this is cause for celebration for Blazers fans.  How will Born and Buchanan celebrate?  By working out draft prospects tomorrow morning at 9:30 AM. 

Update (6:30PM): Brian T. Smith has posted a brief interview with Born, who doesn't link the extensions to Pritchard's future but does express gratitude to Pritchard for supporting the extensions.

We were taking care of it by ourselves. But Kevin was great in this. I think he's been a big proponent of this trying to get done. I think this speaks highly of him wanting to look out for us and take care of us. Even though his situation, he doesn't know what his situation is going to be, he's wanted us to look at this deal really hard. So, he's been great and he's been very supportive. We've talked with him quite a bit about it. He's the GM, so this is part of what he does.

Update (6:49PM): Joe Freeman writes that Chad Buchanan supports his current boss.

Pritchard and team president Larry Miller had a role in signing Born and Buchanan's extensions, so it is unclear if the signings are a positive for Pritchard's future. 

"I hope it is," Buchanan said. "I want it to be. I'd love to continue to work for Kevin as long as is allowed. I hope that he's part of what's moving forward with the team and the organization. I think he's done an unbelievable job of building the team and he's been an unbelievable leader. I hope he's given the opportunity to continue to do that."

Update (7:37PM): Here are Kevin Pritchard's comments to John Canzano regarding the extensions.

"Great news. They're terrific guys. They've been with the organization going on seven years. They've made some big decisions all of us together and they're very deserving. It's a great day for the Blazers and they're extremely excited about being a part of the organization going forward for a couple of years."

-- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter

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