Blazers GM Joe Cronin shockingly but deservedly gets votes for Executive of the Year

It may sound surprisng, but he deserves at least a little recognition.
Damian Lillard (left), Joe Cronin; Portland Trail Blazers
Damian Lillard (left), Joe Cronin; Portland Trail Blazers / Soobum Im/GettyImages

Trail Blazers General Manager Joe Cronin reshaped the Portland franchise in one offseason. The seeds had been planted; Shaedon Sharpe was the seventh overall pick in the 2022 draft. The team tanked at the end of the following season and jumped in the lottery to grab the No. 3 pick in 2023. They used the selection on point guard Scoot Henderson.

The water was poured in the form of the Damian Lillard trade and the plant bloomed into what became the 2023-24 Trail Blazers.

Cronin will never earn the admiration of all Trail Blazers fans. He either blatantly lied about building a contender around Lillard or couldn't manage to do it. Then he traded the franchise's most beloved player.

But the return he got for Dame and the roster he's built deserves some recognition, and he's finally getting it from his fellow NBA execs.

Trail Blazers GM Joe Cronin earns NBA Executive of the Year votes

Boston Celtics President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens won the 2023-24 NBA Executive of the Year Award and deservedly so. He landed Jrue Holiday (from Cronin, by the way) and signed Kristaps Porzingis, remaking a stale Boston roster around Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

Per, the voting panel consisted of team basketball executives from around the NBA. Cronin had two second-place votes, which means at least two of his peers believe he was the second-best executive in the league this past season. That recognition has to mean more than anything Blazers fans have to say, good or bad.

Cronin will always be The GM Who Traded Damian Lillard. But it was a move that had to happen, and the assets he got in return could set Portland up for the next Blazers playoff run.