Kevin Lee Pritchard (born July 18, 1967) is a retired American professional basketball player and currently serves as general manager for the Indiana Pacers.
Pritchard played college basketball for the University of Kansas, where he was the starting point guard on the Jayhawks team that defeated the Oklahoma Sooners for the 1988 NCAA Division I men's basketball championship. While at KU, he played under head men's basketball coach Larry Brown, assistants R.C. Buford and Alvin Gentry, and one year under then-volunteer assistant coach Gregg Popovich, now the head coach of the San Antonio Spurs.
Pritchard holds the distinction of being the first player to make a 3-point shot at Allen Fieldhouse in 1986. During his time at University of Kansas, Pritchard became a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity. He was also named three times on the Academic All-Big Eight.
Pritchard was drafted by the Golden State Warriors of the National Basketball Association as the 34th overall pick 1990. He had a six-year NBA career spanning five teams—the Warriors, the Boston Celtics, the Philadelphia 76ers, the Miami Heat, and the Washington Bullets. He also holds the distinction of being the first player signed in the history of the Vancouver Grizzlies in 1995, although he was released before getting an opportunity to play a game for them. Pritchard's playing career also included a stint with Caceres C.B. in Spain, Pfizer Reggio Calabria in Italy in 1993-1994 and Bayer Leverkusen in Germany 1996-1997. He retired from playing in 1998.
Early coaching and management career
After a year working outside of basketball, Pritchard became the coach and general manager of the Kansas City Knights of the ABA, which he led to a championship in 2001. Later, he was hired by San Antonio Spurs general manager R. C. Buford to be a scout in the Spurs' organization, and two years later was hired by the Portland Trail Blazers as director of player personnel.
Pritchard would return to public prominence in 2005, when the Trail Blazers fired then head coach Maurice Cheeks and named Pritchard as his interim replacement. Pritchard, who made it clear at the outset that he had little intent of being the team's coach on a long-term basis, used the remainder of the season to evaluate talent.
Portland Trail Blazers
In the 2006 off-season, the team fired Nash, giving Patterson the dual role of GM and president; Pritchard was promoted to assistant general manager where he was involved in the decision making for four significant trades which have been held to be favorable to the Blazers:
- A deal prior to the 2006 NBA Draft which sent Sebastian Telfair and Theo Ratliff to the Boston Celtics in exchange for the #7 pick in that year's draft and Raef LaFrentz.
- A draft-day deal which sent Tyrus Thomas (the team's draft choice at #4) and Viktor Khryapa to the Chicago Bulls in exchange for the #2 pick, LaMarcus Aldridge
- A second draft-day deal which sent the #7 pick in the draft, Randy Foye, along with cash considerations, to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for the #6 pick, Brandon Roy. Roy would end up being named Rookie of the Year, and would be selected as an All-Star the following three seasons (2008, 2009, 2010).
- A third draft-day deal in which the team acquired the rights to the #27 pick in the draft, Sergio Rodriguez, from the Phoenix Suns in exchange for cash.
In 2007, Steve Patterson resigned, and on March 29, Pritchard was named as the team's general manager. In addition to the selection of Greg Oden with the #1 pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, Pritchard orchestrated two more draft-day trades of significance:
In 2008, Pritchard orchestrated several draft day trades that netted the Blazers their future starting small forward Nicolas Batum with the 25th pick, and also added Jerryd Bayless with the 11th pick. The 2008-09 Blazers were the second youngest team in the league, yet they finished the season with 54 wins, tied for second most in the Western Conference.
In December 2008, the Blazers attempted to block other NBA teams from signing Darius Miles solely for the purpose of negatively impacting the Blazers' salary cap situation. Miles ended up signing with the Memphis Grizzlies.
In the summer of 2009, the Blazers added to their core of young talent by signing veterans Andre Miller and Juwan Howard to free agent contracts. The 2009-10 Blazers suffered a historic level of injuries to key players, yet the team still won 50 games and returned to the playoffs.
Pritchard was relieved of his general manager duties on June 24, 2010. About one hour before the 2010 NBA Draft, Kevin Pritchard was notified by Paul Allen that he had been fired, but wanted to make it clear that he needed to stay for the draft. Pritchard made a trade and two draft selections, which satisfied Trail Blazer team officials.
Many people expected the release of Pritchard to take place, as they felt the firing of Tom Penn, who was the assistant general manager, was a "drive-by" warning for Pritchard.
Joe Freeman, of The Oregonian newspaper, broke this story early in the four o'clock hour of draft day to "Trail Blazers Courtside", an official Trail Blazer show offering live draft day coverage. It was reported that the Trail Blazers officials told the show's hosts to stop talking about Pritchard immediately. Allen's plan was to announce the firing the next day, but word got to the media and the Blazers were forced to address the situation.
In a press conference after, team President Larry Miller fielded all questions. No reasons were given as to why Pritchard was fired.
Pritchard authored an open letter to Blazers' fans in which he thanked Paul Allen and the Blazers for the opportunity to help turn around the team.
In July 2011, Pritchard joined the Indiana Pacers to become their Director of Player Personnel. Later on, he was promoted to general manager in June 2012 to replace David Morway.
Global Sports Summit
Kevin Pritchard is a co-founder of the Global Sports Summit.
Kevin Pritchard is the co-author of the book "Help the Helper"
Kevin Pritchard is an active member of the Friends of the Children charity. He currently is on the board of directors.