May 09, 2001 11:00 pm

Dunleavy is Blazers fall guy,

but fans should be asking ...

What about Bob?

The Portland Trail Blazers have made a lot of dumb moves in the past year. Under the guidance of team president Bob Whitsitt, the Blazers traded one of the most popular and hardest-working Blazers. They got rid of a young center who had loads of potential but whom they refused to give any playing time. They acquired an overweight and out-of-shape power forward who put himself in drug rehab down the stretch of the season. They let an immature but immensely talented power forward get away with inexcusable behavior on the court. They reactivated a retired sharpshooting forward when they had a journeyman who was doing just fine. And to cap things off and stir the mix, they brought in an additional point guard late in the


The team that Bob built and at one time took credit in putting together should go down as one of the biggest disappointments in NBA history. With a cast of stars such as the Blazers had and with the highest payroll in the league, expectations were high.

When the team fell apart down the stretch, the only thing missing was a fall guy. Would it be the man who masterminded the player selections and put limits on how coach Mike Dunleavy could do his job, or would the blame fall on Dunleavy?

Tuesday night Whitsitt anointed Dunleavy as the fall guy.

Dunleavy should be relieved. With the management and player selection that Whitsitt has provided the Blazers, Dunleavy should consider that hes getting the boot off a ship whose captain hasnt got a clue. With the players Whitsitt has saddled the Blazers with, the Portland coaching position has gone from dream job to nightmare.

Owner Paul Allen needs to take a look at the causes of the Blazers collapse the player selection, the limits placed on the coach, and the cost of the decisions that have been made. Dunleavy isnt responsible for those. Whitsitt is.

The Blazers have a lot of rebuilding to do, and regaining fans respect may be the toughest challenge of all. With Whitsitt at the helm, it wont happen.

Dumping Dunleavy wont fix the Blazers problems. Only Paul Allen can do that.

What do you think?

Are there any Blazer fans left out there? What are your thoughts on the Blazers season and the firing of coach Mike Dunleavy.

Send us your comments by 11 a.m. Tuesday and well put them together for Wednesdays letters to the editor.