The Portland Trail Blazers fired general manager and president of basketball operations Neil Olshey on Friday following an independent investigation that determined he violated the team’s code of conduct.
“Out of respect for those who candidly participated in that privileged investigation, we will not release or discuss it,” the Trail Blazers said in a statement. “We are confident that these changes will help build a more positive and respectful working environment.”
Joe Cronin will serve as interim general manager during the Trail Blazers’ search for a permanent replacement, the team said.
The Trail Blazers announced earlier this month that law firm O’Melveny & Myers was conducting an independent investigation into “concerns around workplace environment by non-player personnel at the practice facility.”
Olshey had created a hostile work environment, with instances of bullying and intimidation, according to a Yahoo Sports report at the time.
Olshey, 56, had been a member of the Trail Blazers’ front office since 2012, when he took over as general manager following nine years in the LA Clippers organization. He added the president of basketball operations title in 2015.
Friday’s move comes amid significant turnover within the Trail Blazers’ organization.
Trail Blazers president and CEO Chris McGowan stepped down last month after nine years in the position, with chief commercial officer and executive vice president Dewayne Hankins taking over as the team’s new president of business operations.
Portland moved on from longtime coach Terry Stotts at the end of last season and hired Chauncey Billups as his replacement. That hire came amid questions about how the Trail Blazers selected Billups over more experienced candidates and concerns about sexual assault allegations lodged against him nearly a quarter-century ago.
Billups never faced charges related to those allegations that came out in 1997 and settled out of court with the woman who accused him three years later.
A five-time NBA All-Star over a 17-year playing career, Billups had never been a head coach before coming to the Trail Blazers. He served as an assistant with the Clippers last season.
Portland is 11-12 under Billups. The Trail Blazers are coming off a 114-83 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday night.
Under Olshey, the Trail Blazers made the playoffs for the past eight seasons, the longest active streak in the NBA. The team’s best finish came in 2018-19, when Portland went to the Western Conference finals for the first time since 2000. But the team hasn’t advanced out of the first round in four of the past five years.
Less than a month after hiring Olshey, the Blazers selected Damian Lillard with the sixth overall pick in the 2012 draft and built the franchise around him. Lillard, a six-time All-Star, won Rookie of the Year honors in his first season and has averaged 21.5 points and 7.8 assists per game for his career.
Cronin is in his 15th season with the Blazers. He became director of player personnel in 2014 and manages the team’s salary cap.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.