Report: ESPN's Mike Schmitz Finalizing Contract to Join Blazers as Assistant GM

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVMay 27, 2022

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The Portland Trail Blazers are reportedly turning to the media to find their new assistant general manager.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported ESPN's draft analyst Mike Schmitz will be Portland's new assistant general manager. "Schmitz will play a significant role with new GM Joe Cronin in leading the Blazers' domestic and international scouting departments," Wojnarowski wrote.

The reported hire generated plenty of positive reaction:       

Sam Vecenie @Sam_Vecenie

It’s a no-brainer hire for the Blazers. Only was a question of when someone would hire Mike to a job like this, not if. <a href="https://twitter.com/Mike_Schmitz?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@mike_schmitz</a> is the best. He’s a genuinely terrific person who eats, lives and breathes this thing. <a href="https://t.co/Zxy2HgZasn">https://t.co/Zxy2HgZasn</a>

Tim Bontemps @TimBontemps

I’ve been endlessly impressed by the ability of <a href="https://twitter.com/Mike_Schmitz?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Mike_Schmitz</a> to both know every bit about every kid in the draft and seamlessly tell the world about them on every platform. And he’s an even better guy.<br><br>Couldn’t be happier for him. Huge loss for us and our coverage. <a href="https://t.co/Oav8qYohlf">https://t.co/Oav8qYohlf</a>

Rob Dauster @RobDauster

This is awesome. I’ve never heard someone with a bad thing to say about <a href="https://twitter.com/Mike_Schmitz?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Mike_Schmitz</a>. That’s rare in a business as competitive as media is, especially in a role where he’s constantly critiquing people.<br><br>Congrats Mike! <a href="https://t.co/BhIp1SoWDr">https://t.co/BhIp1SoWDr</a>

Zach Lowe @ZachLowe_NBA

Now I know why you bailed on that big dinner at the combine <a href="https://twitter.com/Mike_Schmitz?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Mike_Schmitz</a>!!!! Congrats!!!! Also please make sure they never change the logo, thank you <a href="https://t.co/GT3IzFPaxA">https://t.co/GT3IzFPaxA</a>

Field Yates @FieldYates

What an incredible hire. His passion shined through in all of his prospect analysis. The Blazers just got better. Congrats to <a href="https://twitter.com/Mike_Schmitz?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Mike_Schmitz</a>.

Schmitz's biography on ESPN's website says he "discovers and analyzes top NBA prospects both stateside and abroad, spending 2-3 months per year overseas in both Europe and Africa in search of the next wave of NBA stars."

Given that experience, he should be plenty familiar with some of the top international prospects who could be available for the Trail Blazers. He was also recently in Chicago for the 2022 NBA draft combine.

Schmitz joins a Trail Blazers squad that took a step back this season.

After going to the playoffs eight straight years, they were just 27-55 as Damian Lillard dealt with injury concerns and CJ McCollum was traded to the New Orleans Pelicans. Getting a healthy Lillard back should help them compete, but the front office will need to make a number of moves to return to the upper-echelon of the Western Conference.

Fortunately for Portland, it has three picks in the upcoming NBA draft that could help it do just that.

Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman projected the team to take Duke's AJ Griffin with the No. 7 pick, Duke's Trevor Keels with the No. 36 pick and Overtime Elite's Dominick Barlow with the No. 59 pick.