Blazers president Larry Miller has resigned, reports Jason Quick of The Oregonian. Miller is leaving to join Nike as president of Brand Jordan, a job he held from 1999-2006, Quick adds.
“The timing is right,” Miller said in a statement released by the team. “We have an excellent general manager in place in Neil Olshey, so I feel the team is on solid ground and headed in the right direction. Off the court, business is great. The Rose Garden is packed every night and the passion of Trail Blazers fans has never been better.”
The statement also says a search will begin immediately for a replacement while Olshey handles basketball operations and COO Sarah Mensah takes care of the business side. Both Miller and Mensah opposed the hiring of Olshey, but were overruled by owner Paul Allen and adviser Bert Kolde, according to Ben Golliver of Blazer's Edge (Twitter links). Olshey's opposition centered around the fact Olshey is represented by agent Warren LeGarie, who also represented former Blazers executives Kevin Pritchard and Tom Penn, according to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com (Twitter link). Once the hiring process was taken out of Miller's hands, Miller's days were numbered, sources tell Berger (Twitter link).
The 61-year-old Miller had two years left on his contract, as Quick notes. Under Miller's leadership, the Blazers have sold out 192 consecutive home games and led the Western Conference in average attendance the past four seasons. He served on the NBA's Board of Governors in place of Allen, and was on the labor committee during last year's negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement.