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NBA GMs forming association amid Portland Trail Blazers’ probe

NBA general managers are taking a page from their coaches and are in the process of forming their own professional association, according to an ESPN report Thursday morning.

The report states the league’s GMs are working to finalize the formation of an association that would support executives via legal defense funds, lawyer referrals and public relations professionals. It would mirror the National Basketball Coaches Association in structure and purpose.

The general managers have taken several steps over the past few months to put the organization in place, including forming a steering committee to create a constitution, opening an LLC and informing the league office of their intentions, per the report.

This is all coming together as the Portland Trail Blazers conduct an investigation into president of basketball operations Neil Olshey.

On Nov. 6, the Blazers announced they’d hired the law firm O’Melveny & Myers to “conduct a fair and independent review” after a complaint was raised to the organization’s human resources department of “concerns around workplace environment by non-player personnel at the practice facility.”

Prior to the recent complaint, neither the league nor the team had received any workplace complaints against Olshey during his nine-plus years with the Trail Blazers, according to ESPN and Yahoo Sports.

Olshey signed a three-year contract extension in 2019 after the Blazers made the Western Conference finals. It extends through 2023-24. Olshey was hired in 2012 after nine seasons with the Los Angeles Clippers.

Olshey has not publicly addressed the current probe into Portland’s workplace environment.

Executives around the league told ESPN that the probe has raised concerns that organizations can pursue “cause” violations in contracts as a means of firing front-office personnel that they are unhappy with for a variety of other reasons.

As a result, some team executives are concerned Portland could set a precedent in contending a firing is for cause so that money remaining on contracts doesn’t have to be paid out, ESPN said.

Portland is 8-8 to start this season, as All-Star point guard Damian Lillard has struggled to find his form.

Related: NBA Power Rankings – Warriors, Suns on a roll heading into this week’s matchups

–Field Level Media