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Trail Blazers GM dodges questions on vetting Billups: 'Take our word'

Steph Chambers / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Portland Trail Blazers general manager Neil Olshey won't divulge the process his team used to vet new head coach Chauncey Billups, whose recent hiring sparked backlash over a 1997 allegation that Billups committed sexual assault.

"That's proprietary," Olshey told Bleacher Report's Sean Highkin on Tuesday. "You're just going to have to take our word that we hired an experienced firm that led us to the results we already discussed."

A woman said then-Boston Celtics rookies Billups and Ron Mercer raped her in 1997 at the home of Celtics player Antoine Walker, according to Ben Golliver of The Washington Post.

Billups asserted the interaction was consensual, and neither Billups nor Mercer faced any related criminal charges. The two reached an undisclosed financial settlement with the woman in 2000.

When Billups was asked directly about the allegations Tuesday, a member of the Trail Blazers' communications staff interjected:

The team stated in a Sunday press release touting the former All-Star's hiring that it "conducted a thorough and equitable search" and determined "Billups is the right choice to lead the organization to the playoffs and beyond."

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