Out of the tangle of bizarreness and finger-pointing that has resulted from Tom Penn's firing by the Blazers, Benjamin Golliver of BlazersEdge has spun some comedy:
In a development nearly as stunning as their firing of Vice President of Basketball Operations Tom Penn, Vulcan Inc. announced early Wednesday morning that the Portland Trail Blazers have filled their Assistant General Manager position by hiring ESPN's Trade Machine. "This is a critical position in our management team and we knew we had to act quickly," said Vulcan Communications Director Lew T. Wharf. "We were looking for someone with an encyclopedic knowledge of every team's salary cap situation and the ability to evaluate our various options clinically. We are confident Mr. Machine brings those skills to the table and we feel he will be a great asset to Kevin Pritchard's management team."
The move quickly shores up the major hole left by Penn's firing. The remaining members of the management team -- Pritchard, Mike Born and Chad Buchanan -- are viewed around the league primarily as "Basketball People," rather than number-crunchers or salary gap gurus. Troubling for Blazers fans, though, is the fact that Mr. Machine has no prior experience working with any NBA organization or even any other professional sports organization.
Although sources close to Mr. Machine describe him as "young" and "a tireless worker prone to all-nighters," it's unclear how he will make the transition from free internet-based application to full time NBA executive. "Sure, I'm a little nervous," Mr. Machine told me at this morning's practice as he slowly settled into his new office at the team's Tualatin Practice Facility. "Wouldn't you be?"
Kevin Arnovitz makes a great follow-up point. The Rockets really did hire the trade machine, in a sense.