The Portland Trail Blazers have hired Bill Branch and Steve Rosenberry to become the team’s assistant general managers, it was announced today by General Manager Rich Cho.

Branch’s responsibilities will center on NBA talent along with Director of NBA Scouting Michael Born, while Rosenberry and Director of College Scouting Chad Buchanan will focus on the college ranks.

“I’ve had the opportunity to work closely with both Bill and Steve and have always been impressed by their tremendous basketball acumen, work ethic and character,” said Cho. “I am thrilled to have them join me, Chad and Mike as part of our front office staff.”

Branch, 44, joins the Trail Blazers from Oklahoma City, where he worked alongside Cho for the past three seasons as the team’s director of pro player personnel. A 23-year NBA veteran, Branch worked for the Denver Nuggets from 1997-2007, first as an advance scout and for the last five years of his tenure as assistant coach and director of scouting. Branch spent the previous 10 years on the Charlotte Hornets’ basketball operations staff, from 1987-97.

“I’m very excited to have the opportunity to work for a team with such a rich tradition, great fan base and talented staff,” said Branch. “I look forward to doing everything I can to contribute and help the Trail Blazers move forward and build upon some great pieces.”

Also a veteran NBA talent evaluator, Rosenberry most recently served as director of pro personnel/college scouting with the Atlanta Hawks from 2008-10. Rosenberry, 55, got his NBA start with Seattle in 1985 and worked for six seasons there as a scout before joining the Charlotte Hornets in a similar capacity from 1991-94. Rosenberry returned to Seattle in 1994 and spent the next 13 seasons there until 2007, most recently serving as director of scouting. Before joining the Hawks in 2008, Rosenberry spent the 2007-08 season as a consultant with the Milwaukee Bucks.

Rosenberry played two seasons for the Lancaster Red Roses of the Continental Basketball Association (CBA) from 1978-80. He then spent two years in Europe with the McGregor Power All-Stars before pursuing a basketball management career in the NBA.

“I am grateful to have the opportunity to work with Rich, and while I have tremendous respect for him as a basketball person, he’s been a great friend throughout the years,” said Rosenberry. “It’s exciting to be a part of an organization with a storied history and winning tradition such as Portland’s.”

Branch and Rosenberry will start on the job next week in preparation for the 2010-11 season.

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