OKLAHOMA CITY – The news of Rich Cho‘s firing as general manager in Portland after barely a year (10 months to be exact) on the job stunned as many people here as it did back in Portland and around the league in general. Cho, a former assistant general manager to Thunder GM Sam Presti, worked for this organization for years and was beloved by all who crossed his path.
So what in the world could have gone wrong in such a short period of time that it ends with Cho, a rising star and easily one of the most likeable men in the basketball business, being relieved of his duties?
As TNT’s David Aldridge made clear, this was much more about bad chemistry than it was about Cho’s performance or the performance of his staff or the team.
After yet another failed chemistry experiment with a general manager, however, it’s becoming increasingly clear that this has nothing to do with the men chosen for the job and everything to do with the folks doing the choosing.
John Canzano of the Oregonian details it impeccably and also has a stern warning for job seekers thinking about the Blazers as a potential destination:
Don’t be awkward. And also, hope the awkward owner likes you.
Also, keep your head down, and smile, and shake hands. Sell your home and move your family to Portland, as Cho did a few months ago. Print up business cards and hand them out. Mostly, though, yuk it up with the big brains at Vulcan Inc., best you can. (Read: Nod a lot when they talk to you.)
Paul Allen wadded up another general manager on Monday. That’s two in 10 months. In the end, he looks a little Al Davis-nutty, a little Jerry Jones-smothering. You decide which. The pattern here is disturbing and dysfunctional. The Blazers are going nowhere like this. And the temptation today is to wonder which young executive Allen will hire/fire next.
Interim GM Chad Buchanan, good luck — now pack your bags, because you’re on the clock.
This Cho-Allen thing felt like a good fit. Instead, it ended up being further evidence that there’s a systemic issue with the Blazers. It’s a franchise dreaming about everywhere, but headed nowhere until Allen learns to hire smart people and let them work — or sells the thing to some other rich guy who already knows.
The worst part is one of the best basketball environments in this universe, one of the very best fan bases in all of sports and scores of quality people within the fabric of the Blazers nation are being treated to this ongoing circus on a daily basis.
They don’t deserve this fate any more than Cho, his predecessors or his eventual successor … whoever that poor soul might be!