KP Firing

I have, what I think is, a different view of the KP firing. It might be totally wrong, but I've thought through this as both a fan and as a small business owner. Granted, the Trail Blazers organization is not a small business. But it is a business. And, I should say, as a fan, I really don't like this move.

However, as a business owner, I understand that sometimes the best moves seem like the worst moves. Sometimes what seems best from the outside is the absolute worst from the inside. There are factors weighing in on this decision that we likely don't know, and maybe never will.

Think about it like this: If you're Paul Allen, would you make a move that would jeopardize the loyalty of a good part of your revenue stream if you weren't pretty sure that in the long run it would generate more money in the long run? Would you make a decision that you know would put you in van Gundy's "biggest disappointment of the draft" without some sort of promise (at best) or a strong gut-feeling (at worst) that your business would turn a big corner and lead to more revenue? I sure wouldn't. And my business experience and know-how is nothing compared to Paul Allen and the Vulcans.

Or, look at the flip-side: Do you really think that Allen would fire KP in such a way, at such a time, just because he (Allen) wants to make a statement that he is really the man in charge and that he should get all the credit for the resurrection of his franchise? If you think that is the sum of the decision, you likely don't know business well or your fandom has blinded your understanding.

Like I said, I could be totally wrong, and my trust that people whose businesses have been successful tend to make good business decisions could be unfounded in this case. I am sure that I will receive many such comments. That's fine- the freedom to disagree is a beautiful freedom and can lead to fruitful conversation.

I don't know if this will help at all, but I think this story sheds a little light on my way of thinking. I rendered a service (the same profession I am in now) for a very wealthy man. He had homes in several countries and I had done well over a hundred-thousand dollars of work for this man. One time when I was leaving the jobsite (as I had done many times before), the man ran out and stopped me in my truck on my way out. He stepped up to my passenger side and gave me a huge compliment about the quality of my service. I smiled and thanked him, and he reached into his back pocket. I immediately thought that he may very well give me some enormous tip, thought of the ways this man could change my life with the simple signing of a check for some large amount of money that would affect him very little and affect me and my family very much. His hand came out of his back pocket with his cell phone. He said, "I've got to take this call, Dan, but thank you so much again for your amazing work!"

I was really disappointed. What I thought was going to be a huge thing became just another compliment from another customer. But, as I drove back to the shop that evening, I thought about his expectations and mine. I expected, since he has enormously deep pockets, he could easily show me his gratitude in a way that would make a big difference to me. He expected me to do a good job. He even went so far as to stop me and tell me how thankful he was for the quality of my work. What was my "reward"? More work. More contracts with his name on them. More dollars earned, not dollars given. And it struck me: most rich people don't become rich by giving money away; they become rich by being tight with their money and keeping the people who work well for them busy with more work. This is not the principle that directly applies. The greater principle that DOES apply is that very wealthy people often know what it takes to make the most of their money. It may not make a lot of sense to those around them, or even to the ones who work for them. But, if they've earned a lot of money, they have likely learned how to handle it in a wise manner.

Having said that, I know that there are owners of sports franchises who handle their operation very unprofessionally (Al Davis, owner of the Raiders comes to mind). They think that, just because they know business that they know the ins and outs of the sport as well. That may well be the case here. But I want to be quick to listen and slow to speak here. There may very well be something much more related to business and much less related to basketball that we don't know.

The other thing I wonder about this whole thing is this: do we really think that there isn't another person who can be an effective GM for the Blazers from this point on? Maybe KP was great at building a franchise from scraps to respectable but wanted to let the "cake bake" too long and wasn't really willing to take us from respectable to contenders.

One thing I do know: KP did a great job for the Blazers, but the checks for our great team were drawn from Paul Allen's account. They made a great team for a while. And I am looking forward to what happens next. I hope we can wait patiently to see what Paul Allen does. After all, it is his team.