When the story broke detailing the alleged toxic workplace Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver has created in Phoenix, you can be sure 29 other NBA owners ran a check to make sure their house was in order.
In Portland, something is going on that could lead to front office changes — Trail Blazers owner Jody Allen has opened a workplace misconduct investigation centered around GM Neil Olshey. Shams Charania and Jason Quick of The Athletic broke the story and later Saturday the Trail Blazers confirmed it with this statement.
— Portland Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) November 6, 2021
Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports added details on what prompted the investigation.
…employees alleging a toxic, hostile work environment where staff members have been subjected to intimidation and profanity-laced tirades, among other bullying tactics, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
The organization enlisted the services of O’Melveny & Myers to run the independent investigation, and the firm began interviewing employees of the team’s front office off-site this week, with several staffers expressing the relief because of the investigation after 10 years of mistreatment leading to mental and physical stress, sources said.
That report is expected to be finished “shortly” and then Allen will decide on the path forward.
Olshey has been with the Trail Blazers for more than a decade and heads a basketball operations side put on notice this past offseason by franchise face Damian Lillard, who said while with Team USA in Las Vegas, “We need to be more urgent… we have made the playoffs all these years, we’re a good team, we’re not a bad team, but it’s reached the point where we have to ask ‘have we done enough?'”
Last offseason, Olshey fired coach Terry Stotts and brought in Chauncey Billups in a controversial hire in Portland due to a sexual assault allegation from when Billups was a player. Lillard said he has a connection with Billups, which is a key reason he has not asked for a trade, although Lillard also is not someone looking to just jump to a superteam. If changes were made in the basketball front office, it’s hard to say if or how that might impact Lillard’s long-term outlook on Portland.
The Trail Blazers are off to a 4-5 start this season and have struggled defensively but picked up a win over Indiana Friday night.