The give-and-take tension between basketball operations and business operations has been a major theme behind the scenes with the Portland Trail Blazers in recent years. Through day one of camp, that dynamic shows no signs of abating.
Former President Larry Miller, who resigned in July, was in the center of that for years, instituting a chain of command in which he reported to owner Paul Allen and adviser Bert Kolde while both the team's business operations, largely based in the Rose Quarter, and the basketball operations staffs, largely based at the team's practice facility, reported to him.
That set-up reportedly sparked tension, particularly with former Blazers GM Kevin Pritchard and former vice president of basketball operations Tom Penn. It also wound up involving Miller, who had no previous NBA experience, in a number of crucial basketball operations decisions over the course of multiple seasons, particularly when the Blazers operated without a full-time GM last season.
The Blazers have not yet named a replacement for Miller. Blazers COO Sarah Mensah currently heads up business operations; she was in attendance at the first day of training camp and chatted with reporters on Tuesday.
Also on Tuesday, Allen confirmed to reporters that the search for Miller's replacement continues.
"We have a process going on but I'm not going to speak any more about it," Allen said.
Curiously, Blazers GM Neil Olshey, hired in June, didn't have a single attribute he was looking for in a new team president.
"Oh, that's not my role," he told Blazersedge on Tuesday. "That's the business side of the operation. Whoever best fits the bill from a business standpoint will be the right choice for Bert and Paul. That doesn't have anything to do with me."
When asked to confirm that he did plan to interact with the future team president on a regular basis, Olshey responded in the affirmative, but appeared to cast a clear divide between the organization's two branches.
"I think it's totally different," Olshey explained. "There's basketball operations and business operations. The president will be here for the overall vision of the company. Drive revenue, drive sales, drive growth, the corporate responsibilities we have in the Rose Garden. And then we'll work together in unison to make sure whatever we do as a revenue standpoint is here to support our payroll from a basketball operations standpoint."