Blazers hand GM job to interim Cronin

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The Portland Trail Blazers are promoting Joe Cronin to general manager with a four-year contract, sources told ESPN on Tuesday.

Cronin takes over at a crucial time for the Blazers, an offseason when the organization has a top-10 pick, a $21 million trade exception and the ability to extend three of its top players, including All-Star Damian Lillard, Anfernee Simons and Josh Hart.

Cronin has been running the franchise since December, executing several deadline deals that started a full remake of the roster around Lillard.

Portland ownership considered the idea of opening up the job to a search, but ultimately were sold on Cronin’s vision for the franchise and his ability to execute it, sources said. Cronin has vowed to continue building the roster around Lillard, an All-NBA guard.

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Cronin was a popular internal choice to replace Neil Olshey, who was let go after reaching the Western Conference playoffs in eight straight seasons, including two Western Conference semifinals and a berth in the 2019 conference finals.

Cronin, promoted to assistant GM in 2021, has spent 16-plus years in the organization, beginning as an intern and advancing his way through four leadership regimes to become the top decision-maker in basketball operations.

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.

The Blazers, who finished 27-55, have the sixth-best draft odds to move up to the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. The draft lottery is May 17 in Chicago.

Source: ESPN NBA


Author: Ellen Garcia