Tag: Neil Olshey

Portland Trail Blazers v Denver Nuggets

It’s decision time in Portland, Batum signs Minnesota offer


Minnesota tried. They really tried to convince Portland to do a sign-and-trade for Nicolas Batum. They dragged the entire process out as long as they could.

Portland wouldn’t play along — so now it’s time to write a big check or move on.

It’s decision time. Finally Sunday night Portland has been given Minnesota’s four-year, $46.5 million offer sheet, the one Batum signed, reports Jason Quick at the Oregonian. Portland has until midnight Wednesday (eastern, or 9 p.m. in Portland) to match.

The Blazers are expected to match the offer sheet, based on the stance general manager Neil Olshey has emphatically stated since the opening of free agency on July 1. The offer sheet is more lucrative than the Blazers would like — surely a fact that Minnesota knew in making the offer — but Olshey said last week it still makes sense for him to match because there isn’t another starting small forward on the free agent market.

“I find it really hard right now to find that there is a small forward that you could replace the Nicolas Batum-level player with, with the cap room we would create by not matching,’’ Olshey said on July 12. “You know, there is a reason (Minnesota) is so valuing Nicolas Batum. It’s not easy to find a starting caliber (small forward) in the league.’’

Batum is a quality swingman that a lot of GMs around the league considered bidding on because he is athletic, scored 13.9 points per game and shot 39 percent from three, plays smart and is a one of the better wing defenders in the league.

But that contract is steep. Portland likely matches, but they will probably wait all three days to do it.

New Blazers GM Olshey suggests Canales to remain coach

Kaleb Canales
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Neil Olshey came in to his first press conference as Trail Blazers general manager and said all the things Blazers fans wanted and you’d expect — we’re trying to re-tool not rebuild, we are in this to win for the long term, etc.

But there was one interesting thing — it sounds like interim coach Kaleb Canales will get to keep his job full time. Here is what he said, via the fantastic BlazersEdge.com.

“He’s the in-house favorite… At the end of the day, I don’t see anyone bringing more to the table than Kaleb Canales but we’re going to undergo a process to figure that out.”

“I don’t think there’s any deadline for when we need to have someone in place [as head coach].”

It should be noted Canales and Olshey have the same agent.

Things can change when a new GM comes in, but he seems to have a direction here.

Sudden reversal: GM Olshey leaving Clippers for Trail Blazers

Neil Olshey

This was a fast 360.

First rumors circulated that Clippers general manager Neil Olshey had met with Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen about that franchise’s open general manager’s position. The Clippers responded by talking to Olshey and announcing last week they had reached a “deal in principle” with him to stay in Los Angeles.

But that deal was not solid.

Late Monday news came that the Clippers and Olshey were parting ways. Half an hour later came the report that he was going to be the new GM of the Portland Trail Blazers. (Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN seemed to be first with this.)

Olshey has not said why, but it is known he was one of the lowest-paid GMs in the league in Los Angeles (making a reported $250,000) and whatever he’s making now will be a whole lot more, (more than double at least). That said, you can be sure he will say it was not the money. Of course. It never is.

This is a great hire for Portland, a loss for the Clippers.

Olshey helped turn around the culture of the Clippers, he swung the Chris Paul trade and also brought in veterans for the team like Caron Butler, Mo Williams and Chauncey Billups. The Clippers were as lost as any NBA franchise and Olshey is part of the reason they are now considered up and coming contenders.

Soon he will take over in Portland where they have All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge, solid role players such as Nicolas Batum, two lottery picks this year and a lot of cap room to go after free agents. Interim GM Chad Buchanan did an excellent job and was rumored to be back in the running

The Clippers need to now find a GM to help this franchise continue its trajectory. Whichever GM comes in will have Vinny Del Negro as his coach and needs to convince free agent to be Chris Paul that he needs to stay after next season. Blake Griffin will get a max deal offer from whoever gets the job.

One thought — Jeff Bower is available and was the GM for the Hornets when Chris Paul was there. They already have a relationship. Bower is reportedly still in the mix for the Orlando job, but he might be swayed. But will the notoriously frugal owner Donald Sterling pay up for a top flight GM?

Clippers reach “agreement in principle” to keep GM Olshey

Neil Olshey

Every time there has been a general manager vacancy lately, it seems Clippers’ Neil Olshey’s name has come up. With good reason. Not only did he stick with it and pull off the trade for Chris Paul, before that he had taken steps to change the culture in the Clippers locker room and build around Blake Griffin.

The Clippers are not letting him go.

The team announced they have reached an “agreement in principle” to keep Olshey with the Clippers.

This came following reports Olshey met in London to talk with Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen about the opening for a GM there. Olshey’s name had come up in other reports.

This is a smart move by the Clippers, Olshey has been at the heart of the turnaround the franchise. Rumors had said staying with the Clippers was his preference, however other offers such as Portland likely would have been for more money (Olshey was one of the lowest paid GMs in the game, we don’t know the terms of the new deal). More money is never easy to turn down.

One thing that should be interesting — Olshey was rumored to be ready to remove Vinny Del Negro mid-season. Now owner Donald Sterling has picked up Del Negro’s contract for another year. We’ll see who wins that battle as it continues another year.

But still, another move that keeps the Clippers from returning to being the Clippers.

Clippers taking their time with coach Vinny Del Negro

San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles Clippers - Game Four

It is a question Clippers management has been asking itself since the day after they traded for Chris Paul:

Is Vinny Del Negro the right coach to lead this team as a contender?

The Clippers have an option on Del Negro for next season but are not making any quick decisions, GM Neil Olshey told the Los Angeles Times. He said he wouldn’t really discuss it.

“I think we deserve the same courtesy everybody else gets. … [Atlanta Hawks Coach] Larry Drew got his option picked up a few days [after their season ended]. … I think Vinny did a great job, and that’s as far as I’m going to go today.”

Del Negro said “All that stuff works itself out,” and added that he was “not going to get into my contract stuff.”

The Clippers had a good season — they were 40-26, the five seed in the West, and they advanced to the second round of the playoffs. The Clippers grew in the playoffs and for stretches this season played good defense.

But his pick-and-roll heavy offense was slowed when he ran into a real contender in San Antonio. The Clippers defense was inconsistent all season and was expose by the Spurs (although, to be fair, the way the Spurs are playing on offense they are going to expose any and everyone). The thing is, Del Negro was hired to do one job — coach up a young team — but ended up in a totally different job the day Chris Paul arrived.

It’s easy to imagine the Clippers taking the next step in their evolution with someone like Stan Van Gundy were brought in as coach. But would the players want him (he’s not loved around the league) and would owner Donald Sterling pay the price tag for him?

Olshey needs to sit down with Chris Paul and discuss Del Negro. Not that CP3 should get to make the call, but Paul is the heart of this team and a free agent after next season. You need to keep him, and keep him happy. Plus, there are few players with a higher basketball IQ in the game. Ask him, listen to his advice.

Just don’t expect a quick move.