I figured it out. Or at least, just theorized what may happen. Ready? Here goes....
As has been reported, Paul Allen is envious of the attention that Kevin Pritchard has received for the success of building the Trail Blazers into the team that they are right now. As has been reported, he is jealous of the "In KP we trust" slogan/movement and is one of the more likely reasons he's shopping for a new General Manager.*
So, as Canzano just wrote, dumping KP is going to be a potentially destructive move for the Blazers. So, what good could it ultimately do the ego of the owner Paul Allen (who is reportedly feeling his mortality a bit with his recent illness**) to dump his best available option of GM's? Well, what if he is planning on making an epic move on the scale of an HBO historical movie.
I think he's going to use KP for his greatest strength: the draft. Then he'll fire KP.
Then, Paul Allen will bag LeBron James. No KP to usurp his glory. Possibly no GM in place to interlope credit on his magnificent, epic accomplishment.
How can he do it? First, the pieces can be figured out for a sign and trade deal. I won't speculate in depth on which pieces because I don't want to distract from the point that this particular post is about. But, the Blazers do have enough assets to make a sign n' trade work AND leave enough of a "supporting cast" for LBJ to believe he can compete immediately for the NBA title in 2011.
The next issue becomes: besides a strong supporting cast, what draw would little ol' Portland have in comparison to the center-of-the-universe New York Cities and Chicagos which have been on the top of LBJ's and sports experts' list of likely destinations for him? Answer: Nike. I know I'm not the first to mention this and, really, would it really be that big of a deal for LeBron to be near his sponsor? Why would LeBron want the sponsor down the street to breathe down his neck? Well, the answer is basically incentives.
Phil Knight and Nike can pay LBJ whatever they want for endorsement deals, which is outside of the NBA salary cap. I am going to assume that Paul Allen and Phil Knight have each other's personal cell phone numbers and that a little behind the scenes scenario can be put together: Allen can kick Knight as much money towards LBJ's endorsement contract as they'd like to incentivize LeBron to come play for the Blazers. Allen can do this however he and Phil would like, in ways that the NBA will never able to blow the whistle on as far as nailing the Blazers for circumventing the salary cap. A example might be: Allen, through one of his organizations, donates $100 million to the University of Oregon's new training facility that is being built by Knight. Money donated to a Knight pet project isn't money going to Knight and therefore would be very difficult to prove as a kickback. This or something like something like this cold be worked out.
So, KP is used for his draft magic then is jettisoned. Allen and the Vulcans land LeBron. Portland Trail Blazer fans are in ecstasy at the surprise landing of the REAL best player in the NBA*** right now, and the focus becomes singularly projected forward once again with all the waste and wreckage that was the Kevin Pritchard fiasco left behind.
Then a new puppet GM is hired. Or Bert Kolde or another Vulcan loyalist just steps in as the long term interim GM. Who knows?
I don't know if I'm rooting for this or not, just theorizing. It sounds so crazy, that it just might happen.
Also, I may be killed or unexpectedly "disappear" for posting this in a public forum. If so, let my last words be, "Go Blazers!"
* I think that KP and Tom Penn may have leveraged PA for Penn's promotion and salary bump last summer by inflating the rumor that Penn may have gone to Minny if he didn't get a bump from the Blazers, but that really doesn't matter for the purpose of this post.
**Best wishes for a full and speedy recovery, Mr. Allen!
*** I make ZERO apologies to K*obe for that statement -- 6 for 24 in a finals game 7? Please, you ain't no MJ.