NBA general managers are pushing to finalize their own professional association amid growing concerns over the Portland Trail Blazers’ investigation into president of basketball operations Neil Olshey,
League GMs have been working on this new association for months now, but according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne, they are close to finalizing a deal.
Should all it all go through, the GM’s association would provide executives with access to legal funds, lawyer referrals, and PR professionals, according to ESPN.
The format would be very similar to the National Basketball Coaches Association (NBCA).
Many top GMs and executives are expressing concern the Portland Trail Blazers’ investigation is “creating a blueprint” for team owners and ownership groups to fire executives for any reason they see fit and finding cause, meaning finding ways to avoid having to pay their contracts.
The first steps to creating this association began back in March.
However, the recent investigation in Portland executive Neil Olshey has “further convinced front office executives of the need for such an association,” per ESPN.
Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes first reported the organization was investigating Olshey after employees alleged a toxic, hostile work environment that included intimidation, profanity-laced tirades, and bullying tactics.
The investigation is reportedly expected to conclude in a few weeks.
According to Haynes, there had never been an official complaint filed to human resources until recently.
It came shortly after a bombshell ESPN report alleging Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury owner Robert Sarver had made sexist and racist remarks while fostering a toxic workplace.
On top of recovering from declining revenues and attendance due to the shutdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, top basketball executives are worried teams will just start firing personnel for “cause,” such as a toxic work environment, when they want a new coach or front office and to void the remaining years and salary on the contracts.
“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.”
The Portland Trail Blazers (8-8) have reached the playoffs for eight straight years, the longest streak in the NBA right now.
Olshey, who has been with the club since 2012, received a three-year extension in 2019 following the Blazers Western Conference Finals berth.