Steve Patterson’s contract not renewed; Pritchard a candidate

The end of the Steve Patterson era came with Thursday’s announcement of his resignation as president and general manager of the Trail Blazers. Patterson took control in 2003, and his contract expired Wednesday. Owner Paul Allen decided not not to exercise the option, turning over the reins to Tod Leiweke, chief executive officer for Allen’s Seattle Seahawks the past two years. “It was Paul’s call whether or not to continue with Steve and renew his contract,” Leiweke said. “He chose not to.” Patterson’s tenure began with the franchise at perhaps its lowest moment, with ebbing interest and attendance, a plunging win-loss record and a nationwide reputation as the “Jail Blazers.” During his 3 1/2 seasons, the team’s character improved and the club made what seem to be solid draft choices in Jarrett Jack, Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge and Sergio Rodriguez. But Patterson’s lame-duck situation made it appear he wouldn’t be back after this season. He hinted Thursday at disagreements with ownership, though he wouldn’t illuminate other than to say: “The key to any franchise being successful is having everybody in alignment, from the owner all the way down to the ballboys. With that in mind, it’s clear to me it’s a good time for me to step away from the club and let somebody else take the next steps.” Leiweke, 47, was interviewed for the job when Patterson was hired. At the time, Leiweke was serving as an executive with the NHL Minnesota Wild. He now becomes CEO of a newly formed management company, Vulcan Sports and Entertainment, that will assume oversight responsibilities for all of Allen’s sports-related properties — the Seahawks, Blazers, Rose Garden and Memorial Coliseum, upon completion of negotiations for Allen to repurchase the Rose Garden. On Thursday, Leiweke said he will hire both a president and a general manager — “that’s the thinking right now, at least” — and he hopes to have the GM on board before the June draft. Kevin Pritchard, Portland’s assistant general manager, “is absolutely a candidate” for the GM post, Leiweke said. “But I owe it to Paul and Blazer fans to think this through.” This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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