NBA rumors: ESPN's analyst Mike Schmitz joining Blazers as assistant GM

Adrian Wojnarowski: ESPN’s NBA Draft Analyst Mike Schmitz is finalizing a deal to become an assistant GM with the Portland Trail Blazers, sources tell ESPN. Schmitz will play a significant role with new GM Joe Cronin in leading the Blazers’ domestic and international scouting departments.

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Schmitz is expected to remain with ESPN through the June 23 NBA Draft, and formally begin his duties with Portland in July. The Blazers have the seventh overall pick in 2022 Draft. Schmitz, 32, has been a draft analyst for ESPN since 2017, and worked previously for DraftExpress and as a video coordinator with the Bakersfield Jam of the NBA's G League in 2012-2013.
As former President of Basketball Operations and GM Neil Olshey exits the Blazers, the process to hire his successor will soon be underway. Portland is deciding whether it'll hire a firm to research and recommend candidates, sources said. Bert Kolde, the long-time ownership executive and right-hand man to the late Paul Allen, will direct the search again. He's hired several GMs in his tenure.
Sean Highkin: Chauncey Billups on Neil Olshey's firing: "Obviously, it was kind of a tough day at the practice facility. Naturally, with the investigation people were anticipating what might happen."
Jason Quick: Trail Blazers president of basketball operations Neil Olshey is scheduled to be interviewed in next week by investigators from O’Melveny and Myers. The investigation was supposed to be finished by Nov. 5, but after interviewing more than 60 people the deadline was extended.
The investigation into Portland Trail Blazers president of basketball operations and general manager Neil Olshey allegedly creating a hostile work environment has been extended, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Previously expected to wrap up shortly, the investigation could last a few weeks before a ruling on Olshey’s future is determined, sources said. Employees of the practice facility were interviewed on Thursday and Friday.
It might have been the least successful press conference in NBA history. Sources said Olshey’s job was beyond secure before that day. (He IS the Trail Blazers. Almost no one in the building has been here since 2012. He has been running the Blazers longer than his boss, Jody Allen.) Those same sources sound less certain now. Another story from two people who know him is that Neil Olshey has been openly complaining about po-dunk Portland for years and—with a big guaranteed deal and eyes on bigger markets—would be happy to get fired right now.
“Neil has done an exceptional job finding and keeping the talent that has made the Trail Blazers a perennial playoff team, culminating in this season’s magical run to the Western Conference Finals,” said Jody Allen, Trustee of Paul G. Allen Trust. “I have great confidence in the culture he has created in Portland, and I look forward to seeing it thrive and grow for years to come.”
There's some uncertainty with the Blazers and their ownership situation. Though nothing firm has been announced, with Paul Allen's death there is a possibility the team could be sold, which could change everything. Just last season, Lillard had a meeting with Allen to discuss the direction of the franchise, which was a little unsettling to the fan base. That said, these days Lillard is feeling very settled. Whatever frustrations he talked to Allen about have calmed, sources report, and he's very comfortable with his commitment to the Blazers. There are no Lillard concerns about ownership uncertainty right now, I'm told.
Olshey was asked about his ability to execute player transactions, something that he had been able to do with an email to Allen, who by then would have known the particulars after studying the scouting and analytics, as he loved to do. Now, with ownership uncertain, can Olshey still get a trade approved? “There are enough advocates for the Trail Blazers, of wanting to see us do well, that it would get done, and there would be even more fluidity because of wanting to do things on behalf of Paul,” Olshey said.
Allen, who was 65, owned the team for 30 years. His absence leaves plenty of uncertainty. On Tuesday, general manager Neil Olshey and team CEO and president Chris McGowan held a news conference and told warm, respectful stories about their boss. Both, however, said it was too soon to start talking about the team’s ownership future. “At this point, we’re just kind of dealing with the death,” McGowan said. “We don’t have any imminent announcements or anything like that. At the appropriate time, I’m sure we’ll come and talk to everyone with what could potentially happen.”
NBA sources say that it's possible that Neil Olshey's job as general manager just got more difficult if Vulcan, Inc. is calling the shots. Money will become tighter. Deals will be harder to make. Keep an eye on that.
Can't say I'd blame him if he's bailed. Allen owns an NFL team, too, and the draft is next week. A man can only watch so many back-alley whippings before he goes numb and decides he has no stake in the outcome. Who knows? Maybe Allen will instruct Seahawks general manager John Schneider to take a late-round flyer on Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday. But yeah, I'm dying to know if Allen is sticking around the French Quarter. Because according to one franchise insider, there's only one thing in the world worse for Portland than a frustrated Trail Blazers owner. "Uninterested Paul would be worst thing to happen to Blazers," the source said. "When it happens, you are on an island. (Allen) gives no direction."
Decide for yourself if Allen's magnified focus on Carroll and Schneider helps more than it hurts. While he's always in the draft room while the picks are being made, Allen has never claimed to be as much of an expert on football evaluation as he has basketball. I'm told by staffers on the basketball side, incidentally, that I've underestimated how good Allen is at identifying NBA talent.
Allen asks good questions, I'm told by multiple people who have been in the room during evaluations. He's not risk adverse, either. He had the guts to pull the trigger on drafting Jermaine O'Neal, Zach Randolph and Damian Lillard. Also, he insisted on taking Patty Mills in 2009 with a late second-round pick. He's bought a pile of draft picks over the years.
The Portland Trail Blazers have hired Don Vaden in a consulting role to help educate the team on rules of the game and officiating, the team announced on Friday. "He's going to be a resource for the coaches (and) the players," Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. "As far as understanding some of the rules, interpretations, knowing the referees, style of refereeing, I think he's just going to be a tremendous resource."
Once Anthony expanded his list of teams to include Cleveland and Oklahoma City within the past 10 days, Perry had more flexibility to move Anthony. Perry remained in contact with Portland Trail Blazers president of basketball operations Neil Olshey, who had the most versatile array of assets for New York and motivation to make the deal -- but, ultimately, Anthony would not accept a trade to the Pacific Northwest. Anthony was intrigued with a potential partnership with Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic, and the stability and track record of the front office and coaching staff in Portland, but did not want to make such a dramatic geographic shift, league sources said.
As assistant general manager Justin Zanik is preparing the franchise for the NBA draft, the Milwaukee Bucks continue to reach out to potential general manager candidates and plan to begin formal interviews on Monday, league sources told The Vertical. The Bucks were granted permission to speak with several more GM candidates late this week, including Portland Trail Blazers assistant GM Bill Branch, Miami Heat assistant GM Adam Simon and Detroit Pistons assistant GM Pat Garrity, league sources told The Vertical.
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June 27, 2022 | 6:37 am EDT Update

Cavaliers very much interested in bringing back Ricky Rubio

One member of the organization said the Cavs had chances to move into the late first round if they desired, but any player selected there comes with a guaranteed contract. The Cavs are very much interested in bringing back Ricky Rubio, whose expiring contract was used as matching salary in the LeVert trade. If they do, it would give them 14 guaranteed contracts. They didn’t want to add any others at this stage. Rubio certainly won’t be ready for the start of the season as he continues rehabbing from a second ACL surgery, and likely wouldn’t be available until January. If the Cavs elect to bring him back, they’ll likely have to try and make do with LeVert and/or Collin Sexton sharing the backup point guard duties until Rubio is ready. It’s hardly ideal, but it illustrates how much this team still values Rubio.
And that, of course, is also assuming Sexton is still on this team next season. Sexton is a restricted free agent this summer. It’s worth noting the Cavs could also sign a veteran point guard to a league minimum deal with the understanding he could be gone when Rubio is ready in January. Navigating deals for Sexton and Rubio this summer will be complicated, particularly since the Cavs ideally would like to stay out of the luxury tax for one more year.
Zach Lowe, Woj’s ESPN’s colleague, didn’t mention numbers on his free agency podcast Friday, but described the Nets latest offer as “real.” “The Nets have made a real offer to Kyrie Irving. I don’t know the exact permutations. Probably several. This is not a case where there’s a one-year deal and that’s it. He’s been offered real stuff but I don’t exactly know what they are.”
Jaylen Brown just brought the Boston Celtics to within two wins of an NBA title, but he still feels he is not getting his due from the local fanbase. The Celtics star “liked” a notable tweet on Sunday, just over a week after Boston fell to the Golden State Warriors in the Finals. The tweet read, “Jaylen Brown is so disrespected by Celtics fans.” You can see Brown’s “like,” which remains visible on his public page, here. While it is not totally clear what prompted Brown’s “like,” former Celtics big man and current team analyst Brian Scalabrine had recently suggested that the Celtics trade Brown as part of a package for Kevin Durant. That spurred debate among Boston fans over Brown’s true value to the team.
From an unranked high school player to a top four pick, Murray’s rise has been meteoric over the last couple of years. He believes that he can play both forward positions, which could come in handy as the Kings attempt to add more talent to the roster. “I think I can play different positions,” Murray said. “Obviously it depends who is on the court and who we’re playing. I think I’m able to adapt to different positions, it doesn’t matter if it’s small forward, power forward spot. Whatever they need me to do is where I’ll fit in and where I’ll be my best at.”
“I think adding Keegan, somebody who he just said can play multiple positions, really helps us as we build it out,” McNair said. “But as always, we’re going to be aggressive and see what we can do to continue to add to this team.” McNair said that he feels the Kings are in a good spot in the coming days to add, be it through free agency or via trade. Murray is expected to play in the upcoming California Classic in the Bay Area, as well as Las Vegas Summer League. The Kings have been busy adding players on two-way and summer league contracts over the last few days and there is potential for the team to put up a nice showing during the summer schedule.