Trail Blazers GM Neil Olshey reportedly fighting to keep job
The resignation of Chris McGowan as president and CEO of the Trail Blazers after nine years with the franchise felt like the first domino to fall in the investigation of Portland general manager Neil Olshey and the working environment he created there.
However, Olshey will not go down without fighting for his job, reports Jason Quick at The Athletic.
Olshey, according to a source, is not interested in making a deal or a buyout settlement and is fighting for his job amid accusations he has fostered a hostile work environment.— Jason Quick (@jwquick) November 13, 2021
Trail Blazers president of basketball operations Neil Olshey is scheduled to be interviewed in next week by investigators from O’Melveny and Myers. The investigation was supposed to be finished by Nov. 5, but after interviewing more than 60 people the deadline was extended.— Jason Quick (@jwquick) November 13, 2021
As a general rule, when the scope of an investigation is broadened because of what was found, and the deadline to finish extended, it’s a bad sign for the person being investigated. Trail Blazers’ owner Jody Allen, opened the investigation following reports of intimidation, bullying, and profanity-laced tirades turning the Trail Blazers front office into a toxic work environment.In a story at The Athletic, Quick lays out what pushed McGowan to step down, with his big issues coming last offseason when Terry Stotts was fired as the coach, Chauncey Billups was hired but it fell flat with much of the fan base, and Olshey blamed others for Portland’s problems on the court.
During this volatile time, the face and the voice of the franchise was Olshey. His messaging was not only falling flat, it was aggravating the fanbase and sponsors. Olshey was abrasive, combative and shuffled the blame to others besides himself.
In June, shortly after Olshey told reporters the team’s failings were not a result of the roster he constructed, sources say McGowan asked Allen to let him become the voice of the franchise. McGowan didn’t want to run the basketball operations, he wanted to control the messaging. He was rebuffed.
In July, McGowan asked Allen again to become the voice of the franchise after a disastrous introductory news conference for Billups in which the organization was less than transparent. He was again rebuffed.
It looks like McGowan read the writing on the wall and wanted off the ship.
And his exit still feels like the first domino in many changes in Portland.