By David Aldridge, TNT Analyst
Posted Jul 15 2010 5:16PM
The New Orleans Hornets discussed their now-vacant general manager job with the representative for former Portland GM Kevin Pritchard at the Las Vegas Summer League, according to sources.
The sources said that team president Hugh Weber met with Warren LeGarie, Pritchard's agent, to talk about the opening, created when the Hornets fired Jeff Bower on Tuesday. Pritchard worked in Portland with new coach Monty Williams.
Pritchard was a candidate for the New Jersey Nets' GM job, but lost out to former 76ers GM Billy King, who was officially hired on Wednesday.
Pritchard helped rebuild the Blazers in four years, acquiring Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum, Jerryd Bayless, and Marcus Camby in separate deals. But he drafted Greg Oden, who has played in just one-third of the possible games in three seasons, and fell out of favor with senior management, leading to his ouster the day of the Draft. But Pritchard also added rookie forward Luke Babbitt in a deal before he was released.
Weber declined comment on Tuesday when asked if Bower's firing was linked to Bower's feelings about potentially trading franchise player Chris Paul. A source familiar with all the parties in New Orleans said that the relationship between Bower and Paul had deteriorated in recent months, as the team began tenatively exploring possible trades for the three-time All-Star.
Of course, Bower would not have begun preliminary calls to gauge Paul's trade value without the approval of ownership, and league sources maintain that the desire to determine Paul's trade value came from new proposed majority owner Gary Chouest, who continues negotiations with current owner George Shinn on a transfer. Sources say that if Shinn does not complete the sale of the team to Chouest that Shinn will not trade Paul under any circumstances.
Paul has recently switched agents, amid speculation that he will look to leave New Orleans after the 2011-12 season, when he can get out of his contract, if the Hornets do not dramatically improve the quality of the roster.
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