Portland Trail Blazers elevate Joe Cronin from interim to permanent GM

Anfernee Simons relives his poster slams and Lillard-esque sidestep 3 (1:49)

Trail Blazers forward Anfernee Simons breaks down his best highlights with Omar Raja, including poster slams and the side-step 3 he borrowed from Damian Lillard. (1:49)

The Portland Trail Blazers have promoted Joe Cronin to general manager, the team announced Tuesday. The contract is for four years, sources told ESPN on Tuesday.

Cronin takes over at a crucial time for the Blazers, an offseason when the organization has a top-10 pick, a $21 million trade exception and the ability to extend three of its top players, All-Star Damian Lillard, Anfernee Simons and Nassir Little.

Cronin has been running the franchise since December, executing several deadline deals that started a full remake of the roster around Lillard.

Portland ownership considered the idea of opening up the job to a search but ultimately was sold on Cronin's vision for the franchise and his ability to execute it, sources said. Cronin has vowed to continue building the roster around Lillard, an All-NBA guard.

Cronin was a popular internal choice to replace Neil Olshey, who was fired after reaching the Western Conference playoffs in eight straight seasons, including two Western Conference semifinals and a berth in the 2019 conference finals.

Cronin, promoted to assistant GM in 2021, has spent 16-plus years in the organization, beginning as an intern and advancing his way through four leadership regimes to become the top decision-maker in basketball operations.

Cronin's strong relationship with first-year coach Chauncey Billups played a significant part in the franchise's belief that there will be a philosophical alignment moving them forward together in basketball operations.

The Blazers, who finished 27-55, have the sixth-best draft odds to move up to the No. 1 pick in the draft. The draft lottery is May 17 in Chicago.