The Portland Trail Blazers recently launched a private investigation into the team's work environment under the management of the President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Neil Olshey.
Based on what they've found, the Blazers' organization has decided to part ways with Olshey after ten years, according to a statement released on Friday afternoon.
"The Portland Trail Blazers are committed to building an organization that positively impacts our colleagues, communities, and the world in which we live and play," the team wrote in a public statement on Friday. "Following the conclusion of the independent review of concerns and complaints around our workplace environment at the practice facility, the Portland Trail Blazers organization has decided to terminate General Manager and President of Basketball Operations, Neil Olshey, effective immediately due to violations of the Portland Trail Blazers' Code of Conduct."
As the Blazers' decision to move on from Olshey was so sudden, they'll promote Director of Player Personnel Joe Cronin to be the team's interim General Manager for the time being. While there is a chance Cronin could earn the position full-time, Portland is expected to search elsewhere for a possible long-term replacement.
According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, the Trail Blazers have their eyes on two specific candidates early on. One is New York Knicks' current General Manager, Scott Perry, with the other being Chicago Bulls General Manager Marc Eversley.
The idea of the latter candidate garnering Portland's GM position should undoubtedly interest the Philadelphia 76ers. Prior to earning the General Manager position with the Bulls, Eversley worked in the Sixers' front office under Elton Brand.
If Eversley were to pack up and leave for Portland, that could certainly re-ignite trade talks between the Blazers and the Sixers.
When the Sixers got word from Ben Simmons and his camp that the three-time All-Star wanted a trade, they fielded offers from several organizations, which included the Blazers. Although the Sixers desired Portland's star guard Damian Lillard, Olshey and the Blazers' front office only discussed a CJ McCollum-led package.
At the time, trade talks did not go far as Sixers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey reportedly requested several first-round picks and future draft swaps along with McCollum and others in exchange for Simmons. At that time, it was clear the Sixers weren't totally on board with moving Simmons for anything less than an All-Star.
Olshey's departure doesn't make Lillard available, but it could change the circumstances in Portland as the future replacement might have a different vision for the direction of the franchise. While Lillard's been the face of the Trail Blazers since he entered the NBA in 2012, the Blazers have only made it past the second round of the playoffs one time in his nine-season tenure. The Blazers have been first-round exits every year since that 2019 Western Conference Finals loss.
Considering the Blazers have been off to an underwhelming 11-12 start to the 2021-2022 NBA season with first-year head coach Chancey Billups in charge, the next front office leader might shake up the roster to change the direction of the team. In that case, the Sixers would probably have a Ben Simmons-centric package ready to go, no matter who they hire to become the next General Manager.
But suppose the Blazers do go ahead and give Marc Eversley the keys to the franchise. In that case, the Sixers might have a notable advantage in possible trade talks since Eversley was around for the process of selecting Ben Simmons and other young talents on the Sixers. Plus, he has a relationship with Elton Brand, which is another positive.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.