Kiki Vandeweghe calls Portland's GM job "attractive" and wants return to executive seat

Kiki Vandeweghe calls Portland's GM job "attractive" and wants return to executive seat
May 8, 2012, 7:19 pm
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ChrisHaynes, Trail Blazers Insider (@ChrisBHaynes)

FormerDenver Nuggets and New Jersey Nets general manger, Kiki Vandeweghe,appears to be the latest individual open to becoming the PortlandTrail Blazers' next GM.

Vandeweghe, 53, played five seasons for the Trail Blazers in the 80's and says he hasn't interviewed for the Trail Blazers' GM position nor has one been scheduled, but declined to comment on if president Larry Miller has reached out to him.

At this point, he's only prepared to say the Trail Blazers GM seat is interesting.

ThePortland job is a very attractive position, Vandeweghe I think the Blazers are a great organization with atremendous fan base and great owner in Paul Allen. Portland is alwaysa place that is close to me and I loved my time there as a player. Ithink anybody has to listen whenever a great situation like thatpresents itself.

Portlandhas all the ingredients for success: committed knowledgeable fans anda great place to live. Those are the building blocks and ingredientsto building and sustaining success."

In2001, Vandeweghe took over the Nuggets' GM role and helped create 20million in cap space over the next two years as well as cleared 150 million during his five seasons as the team's GM. He traded RaefLaFrentz, Shareef Abdur Rahim, Nick Van Excel and aquired JuwanHoward, Tim Hardaway, Donnell Harvey and two first round picks. Heproceeded to trade Antonio McDyess to the New York Knicks for MarcusCamby and a first round pick. That pick ended up later being NeneHilario.

Thenew flexibility allowed the Nuggets to re-sign Camby and signed freeagents Andre Miller and Kenyon Martin. Then of course in 2003,Carmelo Anthony was drafted and the team made the playoffs for thefirst time since 1995 and haven't missed the playoffs since.

Iguess you can call me a gym rat, Vandeweghe said. I love basketballand the business side of basketball. I like all aspects and enjoyfiguring out how to put a team together.

Thatsummer of '03, Vandeweghe did research on what colors sold well inretail stores. At the time, the Nuggets were second to last inmemorabilia sales. Vandeweghe went on to change the Nuggets' colorsto powder blue and in two years, the Nuggets went from second to lastin the NBA in memorabilia profits to third in the league.

Thepoint is, he's innovative.

Weneeded a change in culture and a different image, Vandeweghe said.

He'salso huge in bringing in free agents as Kobe Bryant grantedVandeweghe a meeting when he was a free agent in '04, even afterBryant had gone through that whole Eagle, Colorado incident.

Portlandis known as a place where prominent free agents would want to steerclear of for various reasons, but someone thinks that shouldn't be anissue around here.

Theysaid the same thing about Denver, that no players would come,Vandeweghe said. Once they were there, they loved it. I viewPortland as a great place to attract free agents. There shouldn't bean issue getting the players you want to come there.

Currently,Vandeweghe isa contributor for FOX Sports West as a writer and broadcastercovering the Lakers and Clippers. He's having fun, but admits thathe's missing something.

WhenI got to Denver, there were no obvious solutions. I like finding outthe solutions. I love being part of a community. I miss having a dogin the fight. I miss the competition, Vandeweghe said. I'ma Trail Blazer fan. No matter if I get the job or somebody else does,I just want them to do good.