It’s been a difficult start to the NBA season for the Portland Trail Blazers. Although the team has two talented stars in guards Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, Portland (11-12), ninth in the Western Conference, has run hot and cold, with two three-game losing skids and one four-game winning streak.
After an offseason that featured uncertainty around the future of superstar guard Damian Lillard, the Trail Blazers got good news when Lillard publicly stated he wanted to remain with the organization for the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, the Trail Blazers have found themselves dealing with another distraction.
It had previously been reported the team was investigating general manager Neil Olshey after allegations Olshey had created a “toxic workplace.” In a report from NBA insider Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Trail Blazers terminated Olshey. Portland confirmed the firing in its own tweet and cited the investigation.
According to the report from Charania and confirmed by the organization, the Trail Blazers are terminating Olshey’s contract due to “violations of the team’s Code of Conduct.” In a corresponding move, the team has promoted Director of Player Personnel Joe Cronin to act as the interim GM while the team goes through the process of trying to find a replacement for Olshey.
Olshey has been with Portland since 2012, and the news will send some shockwaves around the NBA.
The Trail Blazers fired coach Terry Stotts, who had been with the team since 2012, in the offseason. They then hired first-time coach and former NBA point guard Chauncey Billups to replace Stotts.
With Olshey out of the picture, it’s going to be interesting to see who the Trail Blazers bring in to be the team’s next general manager.
Portland has one of the game’s biggest stars in Lillard. But the franchise has struggled to surround the six-time All-Star with pieces who can help the team become a championship contender through his 10 seasons. Portland has made the playoffs eight straight seasons but has lost in the first round five times, reaching the conference semifinals once and conference finals once (2018-19).
Finding the right coach and the proper direction for Portland to go further in the playoffs could be paramount to keeping Lillard with the franchise.
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There will be a number of popular candidates for the opening. According to a recent report from Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports, two names expected to be considered are Chicago Bulls general manager Marc Eversley and New York Knicks general manager Scott Perry.