We’ve heard of the players’ union and NBA Coaches Association, and now general managers are forming a group of their own.
Per Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN, GMs are putting the finishing touches on a professional association that will “collectively support executives with access to legal defense funds, lawyer referrals and public relations professionals.”
The soon-to-be group has already opened an LLC and informed the league office of its intentions, and will indeed be set up similarly to the coaches association.
GMs were already floating this idea prior to the Trail Blazers’ investigation into GM Neil Olshey, but that did sort of push forward the sense of urgency.
“Dozens of executives told ESPN that Portland’s internal probe has stoked fears that organizations can make decisions to fire top basketball executives for any number of traditional reasons — team performance, personality conflicts, differing philosophies — and search simultaneously for ways to pursue ’cause’ violations in contracts,” Wojnarowski and Shelburne wrote.
Given the declining revenue and lack of attendance lately, NBA GMs are also trying to protect themselves against owners “sidestepping” contracts, the report stated. Again, much of that appears related to the Blazers’ investigation into Olshey for alleged workplace misconduct.
“Terms reported by the media like ‘toxic environment’ and ‘hostile workplace’ felt to rival GMs as a campaign to trigger a firing for ’cause,’ presumably a tactic to set up the voiding of the remaining years and salary on Olshey’s contract,” Wojnarowski and Shelburne reported. “That’s what worries rival executives and has hastened the urgency of finalizing an association that could help support front-office executives in situations like the one unfolding in Portland.”