Inside and outside the organization, Pritchard harped on how much more Portland coach Nate McMillan made than him
. He complained to friends, rivals and relative acquaintances
, and that played an immense part in the gulf that exists between the front office and coach.
When negotiations became contentious with star Brandon Roy(notes), Pritchard didn’t stand firm with the limits of ownership’s offer
. What’s more, Pritchard tried to cozy up to Roy by selling the notion that it was the two of them together trying to get the contracts they deserved from owner Paul Allen. For the unparalleled resources Allen has provided Pritchard to remake the roster – millions in dollars to purchase draft picks, packaging them in trades or stockpiling prospects overseas – Vulcan was beyond irate that Pritchard still couldn’t present a united front when Allen decided to make a financial stand.
It reeked of Pritchard’s desperation and immaturity
, and eventually inspired team president Larry Miller to usurp Pritchard in the talks for Roy’s eventual five-year, $82 million deal. Pritchard would go around the NBA, and surprise peers with questions that included, “How much do you make?” before launching into diatribes about how he couldn’t understand why he was so poorly compensated in Portland, especially in comparison to McMillan
Allen and Vulcan ultimately decided to strip some power and autonomy from Pritchard, but decided to keep trotting him out to the things he most loved: news conferences and public appearances.
“They left him the public face, but essentially he was neutered
,” a league source with direct knowledge of the talks said.