In the original version of the post directly below this, I attempted to make 3 points (in order):
1) Pritchard is a genius, having pulled off a great deal with Indiana, a deal that benefitted both teams, required significant wheeling and dealing, and had many moving parts.
2) The off-site press setup this year-- and the access to instant technology, coupled with the pressure to be "first" -- created an absurdist drama and volatile situation that led to many members of the media, including myself, getting pritchslapped by a floated rumored trade for DJ Augustin.
3) Given the reports that came out on Thursday night, the Blazers seem to have engaged in trade talks with the Bobcats regarding DJ Augustin for the #13 pick at the same time as a trade had already been established with Indiana, leading to an indirect pritchslapping of the Bobcats.
Based on the conversation that erupted, my first two points were overshadowed by my speculation on the third point. Obviously, this was the most contentious point as many felt it questions the "honor" of KP. This was not my intention; as you may know, I am a self-proclaimed follower of Pritchneesh (a Pritchneeshi, if you will) and did not mean to besmirch him.
Nevertheless, that was the unintended result. For this reason, after consulting with Dave, I have removed and clarified those sections in the post below and moved the speculation discussion to this post.
In the original version of the post, here is what I wrote...
Of course, if Pritchard is the big winner here I would argue that the big loser is not, in fact,
. Getting Jack and Rush (and McRoberts, I guess) for the #11 pick, especially given their recent acquisition of point guard TJ Ford, is not a bad haul at all. Indiana
The big loser, therefore, is
. With the #9 pick, they drafted a point guard on behalf of another team, were unable to get that deal completed, and are now stuck in the unenviable position of slotting that player in as a backup when players like Bayless, Lopez, Rush and Randolph (all arguably better fits for their roster) were still available. The worst part: they've surely pissed off Raymond Felton in the process, which could easily lead to a trade of him this off-season. That would leave them with Augustin, a small, untested rookie, and Earl Boykins, a midget, as their two potential starting point guards. Talk about a serious, serious downgrade. Talk about a pritchslap. Charlotte
I have also sought clarification on the Augustin rumor and received it from a trusted, anonymous source with access to the proceedings.
Here is the latest information that I have for you.
-- There were talks at some point in the draft process with the Bobcats, however there was no standing offer and no deal on the table for Augustin at the time the rumor was made public. It is possible that Charlotte drafted Augustin with the intention of trading him to Portland.
-- The Augustin rumor originated from indirect communication (not a telephone call). It was not able to be corrected prior to it becoming more widely known due to the speed with which rumors circulate as previously described.
-- Given the rumor's release and its implications, the organization and all media involved made every effort to correct the record regarding Augustin ASAP, taking the step of confirming the Bayless trade as quickly as possible.
This new information supports the conclusion reached by many of you in the comments (since deleted) and contradicts my earlier presentation on a key point: Charlotte most likely acted independently in drafting Augustin.
However, to me, this remains a difficult pill to swallow. The temptation is to write off MJ as an idiot. Indeed, this is a possibility and there is a track record there. But picking Augustin for themselves seems really risky for the reasons I mentioned (angering Felton, not a good fit, the other talent, especially Bayless, that was still available at #9). The alternative given this new information is that MJ drafted Augustin in hopes of trading him to Portland (or even another team) without a deal in place. Again, this is not entirely intelligent but it does seem better than the alternative. I still lean toward this scenario. I know many of you feel differently.
So, that begs the (more clearly stated) question: Do you think Charlotte got indirectly pritchslapped, or did they just shoot themselves in the foot?
-- Ben (firstname.lastname@example.org)
PS... A last point: The press setup -- with print media sequestered off-site and relying on indirect communication methods from the team-- created a situation that could have been avoided. All media acted in good faith, thinking they were presenting the true version of what was going down. Of course, all team officials also seem to have acted in good faith. However, it is my opinion that the setup -- with such indirect access to information -- is the culprit here. Any and all floated rumors, even if unintended, are therefore at least partially the responsibility of the Blazers organization. All of that being said, it has long been my impression that the Blazers have bent over backwards to make themselves available to the media. Perhaps this is therefore a case where they simply made themselves too accessible. Or, playing devil's advocate, maybe this is just more smokescreen? If you feel strongly one way or another in the comments, please let everyone know.
PPS... If you have access to any additional information that will help clarify this picture, please email me and I will gladly publish it.