The Portland Trail Blazers have a new man in charge, and he’s the same as the old guy.
More specifically, they are elevating interim general manager Joe Cronin to the position on a full-time basis, as relayed by ESPN. Cronin is reportedly being signed to a four-year contract.
Cronin stepped in midseason for Neil Olshey, who was fired in December after being investigated for workplace misconduct. Cronin immediately began to reshape the roster. Most notably, he sent guard CJ McCollum to the Pelicans ahead of the February trade deadline.
While McCollum is gone, star guard Damian Lillard remains, and Cronin has said multiple times that will continue to be the case. The Blazers will continue to build around Lillard.
This was a difficult season for the team, which finished 25-57 after a bevy injuries and failed to make the playoffs for the first time in eight years.
“We want to win,” Cronin told reporters after the season. “We want to be really competitive next year.”
Cronin was promoted to assistant GM in 2016 and has been with the Blazers 16 years overall in various roles.
“Cronin’s strong relationship with first-year coach Chauncey Billups played a significant part in the franchise’s belief that there will be a philosophical alignment moving them forward together in basketball operations,” ESPN wrote, via Hoops Wire.
The Blazers enter the NBA Draft Lottery, scheduled for May 17, with the sixth-best odds of winning the No. 1 overall pick.