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My colleague Lowell Cohn blogged about the Warriors’ potential sale today and wrote that the team should hire Chris Mullin to return as general manager.

As much respect as I have for Lowell and his opinion, I don’t think Mullin is the best candidate for the job. If the Warriors are sold and the new owner decides to fire Larry Riley and begin the search for a new general manager, I would hope the search isn’t limited to Mullin. Instead, the new owner should reach as high as possible, target potential ace candidates and pursue them aggressively.

At the top of the list? Kevin Pritchard.

The current general manager of the Portland Trail Blazers is considered one of the brightest young minds in the game, and as luck or coincidence would have it, he and the Trail Blazers are at odds right now. The Warriors would be wise to sweep in and try to steal him away from Portland (maybe they can bring Pritchard and Nate McMillan to Oakland in a package deal).

Pritchard is in the final year of his contract and has yet to sign an extension. Last week, Tom Penn, the assistant general manager and one of Pritchard’s most trusted advisors, was fired by the team. Pritchard, who has expressed his disappointment with the move, held a press conference Monday with the Portland media and said he wanted to stay in Portland, but when pressed about his future with the team, was noncommittal, saying “I don’t think I’m the person to answer that.” Some national NBA reporters, including ESPN’s Henry Abbott and Fox Sports! Adrian Wojnarowski, have reported that Pritchard might be on his way out.

If the relationship between Pritchard and the Portland Trail Blazers has really deteriorated this much, the next few months might be the perfect time to pursue him.

If you’re unsure of Pritchard’s resume, he is the person most responsible for transforming the former Jail Blazers into the current version of the team. He turned the No. 4 overall draft pick, Sebastian Telfair, Theo Ratliff and Victor Khyrapa into LaMarcus Aldridge and Brandon Roy during the 2006 NBA draft. He has engineered draft-day deals that brought in players like Rudy Fernandez and Nicolas Batum. He also drafted Greg Oden over Kevin Durant, but considering the San Antonio Spurs offered Tim Duncan to the Blazers for the rights to draft Oden prior to the 2007 NBA draft, I don’t think you can pin that mistake on Pritchard. Almost everybody thought Oden was the right choice at the time.

Also, Pritchard has a little bit of history with the Warriors. After winning the 1988 national championship at Kansas, he was drafted by the Warriors in 1990 and played one season with the team.

For the best insight I’ve read about this multi-faceted story, check out Tim Kawakami’s blog here.

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