By 750 The Game Staff
Joe Cronin came away like a man taking the high road after speaking to media for the first time since Damian Lillard’s official trade request on July 1st.
In a press conference Monday afternoon in Las Vegas that also included the official re-introductions of Jerami Grant and Matisse Thybulle, Cronin took accountability for not accomplishing what he said was the team’s goal — building a contending roster around Lillard, and do it fast.
“I don’t feel that I did everything because I wasn’t able to get done what we had hoped to get done,” Cronin said. “The effort being there — which it was — that’s one thing. But actually following through and getting the result is a whole other. And to that extent, I do feel like I failed Dame.”
Sean Highkin covers the Trail Blazers and NBA for the publication and podcast Rose Garden Report, and he joined guest-host Judah Newby on Monday’s Bald Faced Truth radio show from Vegas.
“He was very honest,” Highkin shared on 750 The Game. “He said the words, ‘I failed Dame’. He acknowledged that he set out with a goal to put win-now pieces around Dame that would make him happy and want to stay here in Portland and that he was unable to be able to do that, and he feels like it was a personal failure on his part.”
Cronin’s recognition and acceptance of responsibility starkly contrasts the style of his predecessor and former boss Neil Olshey, who was fired in December 2021.
“I would agree that there is no chance Neil Olshey would have ever done or said anything like that,” Highkin said, adding that Cronin came away from the media session like someone who knew what he is doing.
“The feeling in the room after the press conference was that Joe did what he needed to do. He respectfully dug his heels in and basically said, without saying it, we are not taking that Miami offer. Something else is going to have to present itself if we’re going to have to trade Dame.”
Cronin also made waves suggesting a Lillard trade could take “months” if it needs to, and that the Blazers are prioritizing what is best for the team when accepting a return package.
“He is not in any kind of rush to make a deal,” Highkin said. “He’s really not feeling like he’s under any kind of pressure to get a deal done anytime soon, if he doesn’t get a deal that he likes.”
Listen to the full segment with Sean Highkin of Rose Garden Report on the Bald Faced Truth at the link below.
John Canzano delivers the Bald Faced Truth afternoons 3-6 p.m. exclusively in Portland on 750 The Game.