From CBS’ Ben Golliver:
PORTLAND, Ore. — More than 100 days after “parting ways” with former GM Rich Cho weeks before the 2011 NBA Draft, the PortlandTrail Blazers have yet to hire Cho’s full-time replacement.
Blazers president Larry Miller did finally confirm that the GM search process has progressed in a telephone interview with CBSSports.com on Monday.
“We have talked to and interviewed some candidates,” Miller said. “I’m not going to mention any names but we have interviewed candidates.”
Yahoo Sports has reported that the Blazers are eying Oklahoma CityThunder executive Troy Weaver, San Antonio Spurs executive Dennis Lindsey and former Golden State Warriors executive Chris Mullin, while ESPN.com added Cleveland Cavaliers executive David Griffin and Los Angeles Clippers executive Neil Olshey to the list.
The Blazers’ front office has been a soap opera in recent years — hopefully the Blazers can find someone to hold down the GM job successfully this off-season and spare Blazer fans from any future front-office drama.
The Blazers are starting to get together a list of candidates for the vacant GM job. From Yahoo! Sports:
Portland has also received permission to interview Spurs assistant GM Dennis Lindsey, league sources told Yahoo! Sports. Lindsey has spoken to Blazers officials by phone, but no formal face-to-face has yet been scheduled, a source said.
Blazers president Larry Miller has expressed a strong interest in former Golden State Warriors GM Chris Mullin, sources said. Mullin’s expected to talk with the Blazers too, sources said.
via Blazers interview Weaver for GM job – NBA – Yahoo! Sports.
Lindsay would be yet another Blazer with Spurs connections to take a role in the front office. At this pace, every NBA front office outside of Minnesota and Los Angeles will be held by various Spurs. Lindsay has been on the radar for other jobs and it wouldn’t surprise anyone to see him nab it.
Mullin’s an interesting choice. His time in Golden State wasn’t flawless, but with better ownership and without the poisonous atmosphere in the bay, it’s possible he could surprise. He brings a known name, and perhaps most importantly is what Woj says his connection is. Rich Cho lost his job reportedly because he didn’t get along swimmingly with Paul Allen. Allen liking Mullin personally could give him what he needs to get the position, considering how that organization has been run. Being able to chat with Allen may be more important than being the best candidate. Mullin might be both.
After canning two very well respected general managers — Kevin Pritchard and Rich Cho — the Blazers have decided the guy with the interim tag doesn’t get to keep the job, either. Because we all know that more front office turnover is the most direct path to winning.
Chad Buchanan is the guy doing the GM job now but he is no longer in the running to be the next GM of the team, reports the Oregonian.
In a meeting Friday, Blazers president Larry Miller told Buchanan he is out of the running because Miller and team owner Paul Allen have decided they want to hire someone with GM experience or with extended service time as a “No. 2.” Buchanan, who has been with the Blazers for seven years, has never held a permanent NBA position higher than director of college scouting, a job he has maintained the past four seasons.
“They’d like someone with more experience — I totally understand that,” Buchanan said. “I wasn’t shocked.”
Buchanan was the GM through the draft, when he traded away Andre Miller and Rudy Fernandez, brought in Raymond Felton to replace Miller at the point, drafted Duke guard Nolan Smith, and helped extend an $8.8 million qualifying offer to Greg Oden. Extending that qualifying offer was a decision from up the management ladder, that one is not all Buchanan.
So who is going to get the GM job? Good question. All the big names will be hesitant after watching Prichard and Cho get fired just more than a year apart from one another. And after both did good jobs (but apparently talked to the media too much or were getting too much credit or were just not fun for owner Paul Allen to have a beer with or whatever it was that got them canned).
But there are only 30 NBA GM jobs out there, someone will take this one gladly. They just may want to consider renting a home rather than buying.
Very smart hire by the Charlotte Bobcats.
Rich Cho — who the Blazers surprisingly let go last month because of “chemistry issues” with owner Paul Allen (which seems to happen to a lot of GMs) — has been hired by the Charlotte Bobcats as GM, the team announced late Monday night (via IamaGM.com).
It was a bit of a surprise because nobody knew Charlotte was in the market for a GM. Cho will work with promoted Rod Higgins, now the president of basketball operations. This is a smart hire for Charlotte in another way — Cho is not part of Michael Jordan’s inner circle. It’s a different voice, and it’s good to have different voices in an organization.
The challenges are very different in Charlotte — in Portland the owner is ungodly rich where in Charlotte Michael Jordan is not poor but he’s not in a position to lose a lot of money. The payroll needs to be more in line with league norms. He’ll have to build a winner within the new Collective Bargaining Agreement (whatever that looks like). The Bobcats have 10 guys on the roster — Stephen Jackson might be the only one you trust to score regularly, unless you now believe in Tyrus Thomas — and have $50 million committed in salary for next season.
Cho did a solid job in his one year as GM in Portland, one where the best laid plans of mice and men ran into Brandon Roy’s knees, leaving long range plans to be reworked. Cho made a great move to bring in Gerald Wallace — a trade with Charlotte — at the trade deadline and left behind some good pieces for the net GM to work with. Before that Cho was the No. 2 guy with the Oklahoma City Thunder and he is well respected around the league.
Michael Jordan also may not fire Cho when he speaks out publicly. That will be a nice change of pace.
Don’t expect the Portland Trail Blazers to move fast — they said they were going to take their time finding a new GM to replace Rich Cho — but apparently they have one name on their list already.
Danny Ferry, the former Cleveland Cavaliers general manager who before and after that has worked with the San Antonio Spurs is on the short list, according to the Express-News. It shouldn’t be a big shock, Ferry was interviewed a year ago when the Blazers were searching for a GM.
The big test — is he the kind of guy owner Paul Allen wants to hang out with? Can he pass Paul Allen’s “Do I want to have a beer with that guy?” test? Because that seems to be the main criteria for getting to stay on as Blazers general manager.
Mike Monroe from the Express-News Spurs Blog summed it up well.
During his five years in Cleveland, Ferry worked for a billionaire owner with a big ego, Dan Gilbert. He also dealt with a superstar, LeBron James, who had a team of sycophants behind the scenes second-guessing and undercutting the GM. Still, Ferry built a team that made it to one NBA Finals and posted the NBA’s best regular-season record in back-to-back seasons.
That’s not exactly a mirror image of Allen’s operation in Portland — the sycophants there work for Allen, not a player — but it’s close enough to prepare Ferry for what he would face if he were to end up as Cho’s successor.
Look for other names to pop up on the list. It will be interesting to see who accepts the job and who walks away after two well-respected GMs — Rich Cho and Kevin Pritchard — were let go inside of a year. There is a lot of money, a loyal fan base and a good roster to work with in Portland, not to mention a lot of great microbreweries. This should be an ideal job. But some guys will not touch it now.