Trail Blazers coach Chauncey Billups was a fan of recently fired team president/GM Neil Olshey. It was Olshey, after all, who hired Billups as a first-time head coach in the NBA during the offseason.
“I’m forever thankful and grateful to Neil for giving me this opportunity,” Billups told reporters. “He saw something in me that maybe a lot of people saw in me, but he had the courage to give me the keys.”
Olshey was fired last week after a month-long investigation into workplace misconduct. The decision hasn’t sat well with multiple rival general managers, and perhaps will therefore limit Portland’s pool of candidates.
Names such as Knicks GM Scott Perry, Bulls GM Marc Eversley, Suns VP of basketball operations Jeff Bower and Grizzlies executive Tayshaun Prince are among those already linked to the vacancy. Prince was a teammate of Billups back in the early 2000s.
One person who is not interested in Billups, who clearly as no desire to fill the dual role of coach and GM. Interestingly, prior to becoming a coach, Billups was a candidate for several front office positions.
“I’m just trying to figure this one job out,” he said. “I’ve got enough on my plate. I’m going to stick to this one job.”
For now, director of player personnel Joe Cronin has been promoted to Portland’s interim GM.
As for Olshey, it’s hard to know what the future holds. He spent a decade running the Blazers.
“I’m sure he’ll land on his feet and be back doing what he loves to do,” Billups predicted.
“Naturally, with the investigation going on, people were kind of anticipating what might happen. But it finally came down. It’s tough because I just felt like this organization is going through so much change.”