Trail Blazers fire GM Neil Olshey after workplace investigation originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
The Portland Trail Blazers have fired general manager and president of basketball operations Neil Olshey, the team announced Friday afternoon.
The decision comes after an independent investigation found Olshey violated the Blazers' code of conduct.
“The Portland Trail Blazers are committed to building an organization that positively impacts our colleagues, communities and the world in which we live and play,” the Blazers’ statement read. “Following the conclusion of the independent review of concerns and complaints around our workplace environment at the practice facility, the Portland Trail Blazers organization has decided to terminate general manager and president of basketball operations Neil Olshey, effective immediately due to violations of the Portland Trail Blazers’ code of conduct.
“Out of respect for those who candidly participated in that privileged investigation, we will not release or discuss it. We are confident that these changes will help build a more positive and respectful working environment.”
Assistant general manager Joe Cronin, who’s in his 16th season with the franchise, will serve as Portland's interim GM while the team conducts a search for Olshey’s permanent replacement. Chicago Bulls general manager Marc Eversley and New York Knicks GM Scott Perry are expected to be strongly considered for the job, according to Yahoo! Sports’ Chris Haynes.
The Blazers announced in early November that there was an independent investigation ongoing after they were made aware of “concerns around workplace environment by non-player personnel at the practice facility.”
Haynes reported at the time that Olshey allegedly created a “toxic” workplace with intimidation, citing team employees. Team staffers said they endured “profanity-laced tirades” and other bullying tactics, leading to mental and physical stress. At least one team employee reported potential misconduct that led to the investigation, according to The Athletic.
Olshey was hired as Blazers GM in 2012 and was given the additional title of president of basketball operations in 2015. Portland made the playoffs in eight of the nine seasons during his tenure, but advanced past the second round just once, losing to the Golden State Warriors in the 2019 Western Conference Finals.
The Blazers fired longtime head coach Terry Stotts this past offseason after the team bowed out in the first round of the playoffs for the fourth time in five years. Portland then made the controversial head coach hiring of Chauncey Billups, who was accused of rape in 1997. Billups was never charged and settled the civil lawsuit outside of court in 2000.
The Blazers are off to an 11-12 start to the Billups era, currently sitting in ninth place in the Western Conference.