Portland Trail Blazers Hire Neil Olshey as New GM

The hunt for a new Portland general manager came to an end on Monday afternoon, when the Portland Trail Blazers made the announcement that after 377 days of searching, they hired former Los Angeles Clippers general manager Neil Olshey. After the abrupt firing of Rich Cho, the Blazers in the mean time were in the hands of interm GM Chad Buchanan and it has yet to be seen if Buchanan will continue to be apart of the organization.

This comes as a sigh of relief, with the NBA Draft a couple of weeks away and with two lottery picks, Portland has a chance to really stack up their roster, or pick up some major names in free agency due to Portland’s large cap space. While Olshey was with the Clippers, they made the pick to get Blake Griffin, as well as stack a team with Chauncey Billups, Mo Williams, Kenyon Martin and of course, receive Chris Paul. Olshey help turn around a team who for the longest time was the laughingstock and loser of the league to a second-round playoff contender.

According to the Blazers a few weeks back, Olshey was one of four finalist for the GM position, the others being former New Orleans Hornets executive Jeff Bower, Indiana Pacers executive David Morway and Philadelphia 76ers Tony DiLeo. All met with owner Paul Allen and it seemed like Olshey would end up returning to the Clippers, but word broke Monday that both sides would part ways and it was made official by the front office on Tuesday, June 5th that the Blazers officially introduced Olshey.

From the Portland Trail Blazers press release:

“The Portland Trail Blazers have named Neil Olshey as the team’s general manager, Team President Larry Miller announced today. Per team policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed.

“Neil is someone we’ve had on our radar for quite a while,” said Miller. “Over the past two seasons he has demonstrated success in constructing a roster, managing salary cap and evaluating player talent. We feel very fortunate to have him in Portland and are thrilled about what this means for the future.”

The 10th general manager in Trail Blazers history, Olshey comes to Portland from the Los Angeles Clippers, where he served as the team’s Vice President of Basketball Operations for the past two seasons. Placing third in votes for the 2011-12 NBA Executive of the Year Award, Olshey was responsible for all facets of basketball operations and player personnel moves while with the Clippers, and will hold the same responsibilities as General Manager of the Trail Blazers.

“I am very pleased to have Neil as our new general manager,” said Trail Blazers Owner Paul Allen. “He has the skills and the vision to successfully guide our organization into a new era of Trail Blazers basketball. He’s proven that he can quickly turn around a franchise, and we are confident he can do that in Portland.”

Under Olshey’s direction, the Clippers transitioned into a playoff team this past season after he assembled one of the deepest rosters in the NBA prior to the 2011-12 season. During a six-day span, Olshey added Chris Paul, Caron Butler and Chauncey Billups while re-signing DeAndre Jordan to a team that already featured Blake Griffin, Mo Williams and Eric Bledsoe.

“I am very grateful for the opportunity to become a part of this successful franchise,” said Olshey. “Portland is a great basketball city with a rich tradition, an incredible fan base and committed leadership. I’m joining an organization that has a strong foundation and a bright future. I couldn’t be more excited and I’m ready to hit the ground running.”

Olshey, 47, began his nine-year NBA career with the Clippers as Director of Player Development prior to the start of the 2003-04 season, and served as an assistant coach during the 2004-05 campaign before holding the title of Director of Player Personnel from 2005-08. Olshey was promoted to the role of Assistant General Manager prior to the start of the 2008-09.

Prior to joining the Clippers, Olshey was the Director of Player Development for SFX Sports Group, Inc. where he created, organized and conducted predraft and offseason training camps for future and current NBA players. The camps produced 15 lottery picks, 25 first round selections and 57 NBA players. Participants in Olshey’s offseason skill development clinics include more than 85 current NBA players including numerous All Stars and All-NBA selections. He has also served as a Head Coach/Clinician at the Reebok ABCD Camp, the Roundball Classic and numerous NCAA basketball camps throughout the country.

A graduate of LeMoyne College, Olshey and his wife, Leslie Radakovich, are the parents of Connor, 6, and James, 4.

This sounds like a great catch and a step in the right direction for Portland. Time will tell soon if word breaks out about the search for a new head coach and like mentioned earlier if Chad Buchanan and interm head coach Kaleb Canales will still be apart of the team.

photo courtesy of bleacherreport.com, information courtesy of blazersedge.com