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Wojnarowski: NBA Executives Worried About Olshey Being “Set Up”

League executives are considering setting up a professional association.

Denver Nuggets v Portland Trail Blazers - Game Four Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN published an article today reporting that NBA Executives are continuing discussions to form a professional association which would mirror the National Basketball Coaches Association. Wojnarowski said that those discussions predate the investigation into Portland Trail Blazers President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey, but Wojnarowski also linked that investigation to the matter, saying that Portland’s inquiry has “further convinced” executives that an association would be prudent.

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 did not cite any instances, historical or current, of Blazers decision-makers expressing dissatisfaction with team performance, personality conflicts, or differing philosophies.

Wojnarowski also stated that neither the NBA tips hotline nor Portland’s own Human Resources department received any complaints about Neil Olshey until this fall.

In his nine-plus years running the Trail Blazers, the NBA has received no calls to the league office or its tips hotline alleging workplace complaints against Olshey, sources told ESPN. The Blazers’ human resources department received no complaints on Olshey until recent weeks, Yahoo Sports reported.

Wojnarowski also painted the descriptions of the allegations against Olshey as “media” terms, calling them, “tactics” to “set up” Olshey’s dismissal for cause to save the franchise money. He claimed both the phrases and the tactics are worrying to league executives.

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. 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.

You can read the entire article here.