The Portland Trail Blazers announced eight front office personnel moves across in a press release Wednesday. Six were internal promotions, and two were new hires.
The Portland Trail Blazers have had an eventful year on and off the court, and 2022 is not yet three weeks old.
The team has even played better recently, winning four of their last six games. With the February 10 trade deadline approaching, interim general manager Joe Cronin will likely be busy in the coming weeks.
But Cronin and Blazers President of Business Operations Dewayne Hankins announced some front office moves on Thursday that they say were to “align with future business moves,” which could be an indication that we’re all being groomed to accept Cronin as the permanent GM.
Four of the moves were promotions within the Blazers’ executive structure. Ashley Clinkscale was named Chief Communications and Impact Officer, Andrea Bailey was named Chief Revenue Officer, and both were promoted to Executive Vice President.
Ryan Flaherty was promoted to Senior Vice President of Brand Marketing, and Rebecca Felch was named Chief of Staff. The Blazers also announced changes in the Basketball Operations department that will have a direct and tangible effect on the product on the court.
Head Athletic Trainer Geoff Clark was promoted to Director of Player Health and Performance after 12 years as the Blazers’ trainer. He’ll oversee the team’s medical and training staff, which will also undergo some changes.
Assistant Trainer Jessica Cohen was promoted to Clark’s position in just her third season with the team. Cohen came to the Blazers after two seasons with the Atlanta Dream and five with the Chicago Sky.
Dr. Chantelle Green was brought on as the Director of Mind Health and Wellness, a clear indicator that the Blazers are joining the slowly forming wave of professional sports organizations that are taking a measured and thorough approach to the mental health issues that affect so many athletes. And the Blazers’ scouting operations will have a new manager in WNBA veteran Sheri Sam.
The fact that ownership gave Cronin the leeway to make these moves – presuming they are his moves – indicates that they are at least willing to let him drive the car through the end of the year to see if he can make it go any faster than Neil Olshey.
Regardless of whether Cronin continues as GM beyond June, he at least is demonstrating loyalty and a willingness to reward from within. Both would make Portland an attractive destination for on-court and front-office personnel alike.