The aftermath of the Portland Trail Blazers’ firing of GM Neil Olshey continues to be messy. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski wrote a story about the situation that was less than flattering toward the team’s star player Damian Lillard. Twitter user Wells P posted a photo of former President Donald Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence shaking hands, with the caption “Woj and Olshey after writing that article slandering Dame.”
Dame quote tweeted and had the caption, “CAN’T SAY I’M SURPRISED”
Can’t say I’m surprised. https://t.co/AwOUKOfGQv
— Damian Lillard (@Dame_Lillard) December 7, 2021
Meadowlark Media contributor Amin Elhassan saw the tweet and and did his own quote tweet with the caption, “I GUESS WE KNOW WHO DECLINED TO COMMENT”
I guess we know who declined to comment 🥴
— Chillin in my Bacta (@DarthAmin) December 7, 2021
Elhassan quote tweeted again with six crying laughing emojis.
— Chillin in my Bacta (@DarthAmin) December 8, 2021
Let’s break this all down. It is known throughout the media and among players that Woj’s sources are almost exclusively front office executives, assistant coaches, and the Creative Artists Agency, which also reps him.
In the past people have noted Woj’s harsh critique of players with whom he has no relationship with or access to. Elhassan detailed this on the “Dan Le Batard Show” back in July.
“He can’t talk to LeBron. He can’t talk to Chris Paul or Damian Lillard or some of these other guys. He doesn’t have that rapport with them. So what he does is he steps on them,” said Elhassan.
— Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz (@LeBatardShow) July 6, 2021
Now, to be fair, it is true that Dame has been questioning his long-term future in Portland since last season’s playoff loss. That was reported by several reputable media outlets including Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, a known Dame confidant.
The backlash from Portland Trail Blazers’ coaching search and his concerns over whether a championship contender can be built have become major factors that could force Damian Lillard to request out, league sources tell @YahooSports. https://t.co/syN8upvWPx
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) June 27, 2021
But the Woj article characterizes the situation with Dame in Portland as Machiavellian, with the superstar attempting to hold the franchise hostage. No to mention the timing of the piece given Olshey was just fired last Friday, and there was no mention of any of the reasons why Olshey was let go.
This is the nature of sourced reporting. When your sources overwhelmingly represent one side of the league, the reporting tends to reflect the whims and wishes of that side. It works both ways. If a reporter’s sources are overwhelmingly players, the reporting will reflect that perspective.
All of it adds up to a terrible situation in Portland.
Dame is out with an abdominal injury that may have been bothering him for years. Head coach Chauncey Billups is questioning the competitive spirit of a team that’s lost three in a row and is 4-6 in its last 10 games.
CJ McCollum has a collapsed lung, and there is no timetable for hs return.
Does owner Jody Allen wish to keep or sell the franchise? Would a new owner want Lillard on the team? How will they go about selecting the team’s next general manager? What kind of assurances would the candidate need?
A lot of questions need to be answered surrounding the team, and they have to get through this season on the court.
The Blazers are 11-14 and currently 10th. With their star uncertain about his future with the franchise and a franchise that has a lot of operational questions, it’s looking like the end of Dame time in Portland.
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