Sources say Blazers want the Kings' president back in the Portland front office

Tribune sources say Geoff Petrie is the Trail Blazers' No. 1 candidate to succeed Bob Whitsitt as president and/or general manager, if a deal can be worked out.

Petrie, 55, has three years left on his contract as president of basketball operations for the Sacramento Kings. He also has an excellent relationship with the team's owners, Joe and Gavin Maloof. But Petrie has spent nearly 25 years in Oregon, dating to his days as first draft choice of the Blazers in 1970. He worked for 10 years in the Blazer organization, the last three as senior vice president of basketball operations, before resigning in 1994.

Portland is home for Petrie, and it probably is the only organization for which the two-time NBA Executive of the Year (1999, 2001) would leave Sacramento.

If Petrie is hired, expect Wayne Cooper, Sacramento's vice president of basketball operations, to head his staff in Portland. Cooper played with the Blazers in the 1980s and early '90s and is highly regarded as a talent evaluator. He is a candidate for the Portland GM job if things cannot be worked out with Petrie.

Chris Dudley, who will retire as a player, is expected to serve in some front-office capacity. Dudley signed to play in 2002-03 with such a promise from Portland management.

If Petrie were to assume both posts in Portland, Erin Hubert probably would remain as executive vice president and handle the business side of the franchise.

'Geoff is a proven commodity,' says Danny Ainge, the new director of basketball operations for the Boston Celtics. 'That would be a coup. That would be a home run.'

When Ainge played in Portland, Petrie was the GM. When Petrie wouldn't extend Ainge's contract in 1991 with one year left, Ainge played out the deal and signed as a free agent with Phoenix the next summer. It was probably Petrie's worst move during his time with the Blazers.

TeamWork Consulting, the Cleveland-based search team assisting the Blazers in their hire, has contacted Billy Knight, Atlanta's director of basketball operations, about the Portland GM post. Knight also has been mentioned for the vacant GM position in Washington.

Contact Kerry Eggers at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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