Joe Cronin Promoted to Trail Blazers GM on Reported 4-Year Contract

Adam WellsMay 10, 2022

PORTLAND, OREGON - DECEMBER 17: Interim general manager Joe Cronin of the Portland Trail Blazers watches players on the court prior to the game against the Charlotte Hornets at Moda Center on December 17, 2021 in Portland, Oregon. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Soobum Im/Getty Images)
Soobum Im/Getty Images

The Portland Trail Blazers have named Joe Cronin as their full-time general manager after firing Neil Olshey on Dec. 3. 

Per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Cronin will sign a four-year deal with the club.  

According to Wojnarowski, Portland's governors were "sold on Cronin's vision for the franchise and his ability to execute it" so much that they didn't bother going forward with a search outside of the organization to find a new general manager. 

The Blazers announced Olshey's firing after concluding their investigation into allegations he created a toxic work environment by bullying and intimidating staff members. 

Olshey joined the Blazers in June 2012 after spending nine years working with the Los Angeles Clippers. Portland made the playoffs in each of the past eight seasons but lost in the first round five times. 

The task for Cronin, who served as interim general manager to finish last season after Olshey's firing, will be to get the Blazers back on track on and off the court. 

Under first-year head coach Chauncey Billups, the team finished 27-55 and ranked last in the league with a minus-9.0 net rating, per Basketball Reference

There was a lot of speculation about the future of franchise superstar Damian Lillard last offseason. 

Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer said on The Mismatch podcast (h/t HoopsHype) in November that front-office executives around the league were waiting to see if Lillard would demand a trade: 

"[Lillard] goes from making these vague comments about, 'Yeah, I don’t know how long I’ll be here' like weeks before the season to suddenly 'I’m all-in. There are front-office executives around the league who think this is a strategic choice by the Blazers, Dame’s group and all that in order to create leverage for the organization because right now around the league teams just want Dame. They don’t want CJ McCollum, they don’t want Jusuf Nurkic. They’re like, 'We’re gonna wait for Dame to demand a trade.'"

Wojnarowski noted that Cronin "has vowed" to continued building around Lillard going forward. 

The 31-year-old still has two more guaranteed years and a player option for 2024-25 on the supermax extension he originally signed in June 2019. 

Cronin did do a good job of acquiring long-term assets prior to the trade deadline during the season. He added Josh Hart, Tomas Satoransky, Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Didi Louzada in a midseason trade with the New Orleans Pelicans for CJ McCollum, Larry Nance Jr. and Tony Snell. 

The Blazers also received three draft picks in the trade, but New Orleans making the playoffs did alter when the first-round pick will convey. Instead of conveying this season, the Trail Blazers will get a 2025 first-rounder from the Milwaukee Bucks to complete the deal. 

Cronin originally joined the Blazers organization in 2006 as a basketball operations intern. He worked his way up to director of player personnel in 2014 before being named interim general manager last season. 

The Blazers have the sixth-best odds to win the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NBA draft lottery. They also own the No. 36 pick in this year's draft.