Thankfully, that city's fans are always up for a good rally, because they've got a real cause to attend to: showing their support for embattled general manager Kevin Pritchard. On Thursday, when Pritchard is presumably still calling the shots from the Blazers war room, season ticket holders will (in theory) gather to let the organization know where they stand.
Back in March, when the Trail Blazers fired Vice President of Basketball Operations Tom Penn, Portland resident and Blazers season ticket holder Brian Libby started a petition to voice his support for General Manager Kevin Pritchard.It certainly puts KP's detractors in a sticky situation. How exactly do you depose an executive who not only makes moves like no other, but also matters tremendously to one of the league's most engaged fan bases?
Libby, arguably Pritchard's most ardent public supporter, has a trick up his sleeve too: He's organizing a draft night "Keep KP" rally and he's inviting all Blazers fans to attend. "The LeBron James rally was a joke," Libby told me this morning. "This is very serious."
The timing is a little strange, since usually that night is reserved for parties where teams try and sell fans on whomever gets picked. And since Pritchard, a draft virtuoso, will still be in command (presumably), it would probably be the strongest show of force to sit back and appreciate the man in all his greatness, then riot later. Also, what if the noise distracts His Highness?
But that's not the point. This is the last real day of the season for Portland, and if the fans want to make a statement about their feelings for Pritchard, this is it. That it might come into conflict with KP himself is a testament to just how convoluted this whole situation has become.
In Portland, Pritchard is nearly as popular as Brandon Roy, and is credited more than anyone else with turning the franchise around. He's widely-credited with bringing the GM out front -- perhaps to a fault -- and this has led to some resentment within the organization. By extension, the turmoil in the Blazers front office is very much valuable info, even gossip, in Rip City.