‘We are not convinced that this is the time yet for us to go through with a blockchain project,’ said Mike Sallaberry of Visa. The financial giant made an abrupt U-turn on its plans following volatility in cryptocurrency markets and warnings from regulators like Nasdaq.
“i am not convinced that this is that time yet”
It’s been a disappointing start to the 2021-22 season for a club that has been as consistently successful as the Portland Trail Blazers have been since Damian Lillard became the team’s franchise player in 2012.
On the floor, Portland is 11-15, and they wouldn’t even qualify for the play-in round if the playoffs began today. Lillard has battled immensely and is having his worst season statistically since joining the league in his second year.
On December 3, the Blazers sacked veteran general manager Neil Olshey.
Dame and his backcourt teammate CJ McCollum have been the subject of trade speculations. However, Joe Cronin, the team’s interim general manager, has stepped in and put a stop to any “blow it up” moves.
Reading between the lines, this might imply that a Lillard leave is not as soon as some assume.
The Blazers are having their worst season in almost a decade, thanks to Damian Lillard.
Neil Olshey, the Portland Trail Blazers’ general manager and head of basketball operations, has been dismissed, league sources tell @YahooSports.
December 3, 2021 — Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes)
In the past eight years, Notre Dame’s Portland teams have reached the playoffs every year. In his debut season, the Weber State product only missed the playoffs once. He’s become used to coming out on top.
Since Lillard’s arrival, the team’s greatest problem has been how successful it has been once it gets to the playoffs. In 2018-19, Dame Dolla’s squad advanced to the Western Conference Finals, where they were swept by Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors.
Under Lillard’s leadership, Portland advanced to the conference semifinals twice — once in 2013-14 and again in 2015-16. (where they were eliminated by the Warriors).
For the first time since the team’s franchise point guard was 22 years old, the Blazers are on the verge of missing the playoffs entirely this season. What’s the main cause behind this? Dame hasn’t had many huge games in her career.
Lillard is averaging 21.5 points per game, his lowest since 2013-14; he’s shooting 30.2 percent from three (a lifetime low); 39.7 percent from the field (a career low); and only gets to the free throw line 4.5 times a game (lowest since his rookie year).
Other teams “smell blood in the water,” as Cronin put it in an article for The Athletic.
So, what happens after that?
Cronin has taken over for Olshey and is putting the brakes on a complete overhaul.
The Portland Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard warms up before a game against the New Orleans Pelicans. | Getty Images/Jonathan Bachman
For more than a decade, Olshey served as Portland’s general manager, and he is the only franchise decision-maker Lillard has known.
Now that he’s gone, Cronin is filling in for him, at least for the time being.
Immediately, speculation began as to whether the Blazers would eventually move Dame. Is McCollum on his way out the door? Is Portland going to start tanking by trading all of its assets for picks?
Not so fast, according to Cronin, as reported in The Athletic. He said that he wants to “improve” the roster rather than “destroy” it.
The company aspires to be successful. There are occasions when taking a step back is necessary in order to take a step forward, but we are not certain that this is one of those instances.
Today, we are not taking a retooling or rebuilding strategy. It’s an improvement. We haven’t spoken about taking a step back once.
Joe Cronin, the interim general manager of the Portland Trail Blazers, discusses the team’s future actions.
Is there any jargon in there? Perhaps. However, Cronin used the phrase “enhance” again, implying that Dame would remain and that the Blazers will make some adjustments to get their season back on track.
Maybe that’s the best option. They have certain components in place to make it happen from a logistical standpoint.
Dealing on the margins entails risks, but it may be the best option in the end.
According to ESPN, the Portland Trail Blazers have made it plain to the Philadelphia 76ers that All-NBA guard Damian Lillard is not available for trade negotiations and that the organization has no interest in trading him.
December 10, 2021 — Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn)
Trading Lillard, McCollum, Jusuf Nurkic, Robert Covington, and a slew of other players to just clean house wouldn’t be a terrible idea. However, if that isn’t what Portland wants to do, the city has other alternatives.
Both Covington and Nurkic have contracts that are about to expire, making them valuable assets. Anfernee Simons and Nassir Little are still young and have a lot of potential, therefore they’re valuable assets.
McCollum would be a significant trade chip. If Cronin wants to get a component that fits better with the Blazers’ roster, a package including Dame’s running mate, an expiring deal, and a young player would be appealing.
Perhaps more importantly, despite rumours to the contrary, Lillard has continued to refuse to make a public trade demand. He loves Portland, and he adores Portland. He is in charge of the franchise. He doesn’t seem to be ready to give it up just yet.
Cronin, in the meanwhile, is preaching patience and improvement. That’s all well and good, and it could even work.
If Dame declares that he’s had enough, the sharks that smell blood in the sea will attack.
NBA.com provided all data.
RELATED: If the Philadelphia 76ers’ ultimate dream is to trade Damian Lillard, it will cost them $107 million more than they would have expected.
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