Tag:Neil Olshey
Posted on: September 9, 2011 10:18 am

Blazers looking at Clippers VP for GM

By Matt Moore

The list of candidates for the Blazers' general manager position continues to grow, and the latest could have big ramifications. From ESPN:
Sources with knowledge of Portland’s thinking told ESPN.com that the Blazers have both Cleveland Cavaliers vice president of basketball operations David Griffin and Los Angeles Clippers vice president of basketball operations Neil Olshey on their wish list.
via Blazers eye two more GM candidates - TrueHoop Blog - ESPN.

Olshey is the one that could really cause some ripples in the NBA fabric. Bear in mind that this is a report on the Clippers wish list, not a confirmation of an interview or of mutual interest. Olshey could be perfectly happy with the Clippers, even if his contract is set to expire this coming October.

But if we're smelling the smoke, we may as well look at the fire. Olshey has been a bright spot for the Clippers, as his moves have brought a new era where the Clippers aren't contending, but seem on their way. He's built a young team around Blake Griffin, and though he has lost draft picks, he's brought in enough talent to make you think the Clippers are headed somewhere. Losing Olshey means a return to instability, and, in more of a concern, an opportunity for Donald Sterling to hire the wrong person.

What's the real element of interest here? If Olshey leaves, and the Clippers return to disorganized mediocrity (as opposed to their current path of organized mediocrity with some hope of success), that puts even more fuel on the fire that could cause Blake Griffin to sign the qualifying offer in his restricted free agency in 2012, which would then make him a free agent in 2013. It's unlikely given the money he would have to surrender in that scenario, but this is the Clippers. We don't count anything out. Griffin hitting the open market would create a frenzy in free agency with teams dumping cap space to obtain his services in 2013 as if they were holding a firesale, and losing Griffin would be devastating for Clippers fans only now starting to believe hope is on the horizon.

In short, that would be bad. It's not that the Clippers need Olshey, he hasn't been the best GM or even top five in the past year. It's just that a franchise with such a history of disaster has to start somewhere, and the best place to start is by not giving Donald Sterling another hiring directive.

Griffin is a long-time basketball man who came up through the ranks and would be a great fit in Portland. He's well-respected and could bring some stability to the position, something Portland desperately needs.  
Posted on: May 18, 2011 2:22 pm

The complexity of the egg on the Clippers' face

The Clippers' pick won the lottery, but won't be going to L.A.. Could the Clippers have avoided surrendering the No.1 overall pick to Cleveland?

Posted by Matt Moore

So the Clippers' would have had the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA draft, giving them a devastating combo of Blake Griffin and Kyrie Irving going forward, had they not traded it to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Mo Williams and to get out from Baron Davis' contract (in exchange for Mo Williams' contract). Except they wouldn't have, because that trade altered the Clippers season and landed them in the spot that gave Cleveland the No.1 overall. There was no way for the Clippers to know that they would have landed the top spot had they held on to the pick. But they did know it was possible, knowing they were lottery bound. So why didn't they top-three protect the pick, as is done so often in the NBA? 

Clippers' GM Neil Olshey told NBA.com:

“Protecting the pick was never an option,” L.A. general manager Neil Olshey told NBA.com. “There is no way to Monday morning quarterback this since our draft position wouldn’t have been the same had we not made the deal as I’m sure we would not have finished 11-11 post-trade without Mo Williams.“

Additionally, we had a 97-percent chance of sitting here tonight with Baron Davis taking up 25 percent of our cap, the eighth pick in a weak draft and no cap flexibility. Adding Mo Williams and $8.5 million in cap room gave us a better opportunity to become a playoff team next year than adding a seventh player under 23 with no NBA experience.”
via No Regrets For Clippers « NBA.com | Hang Time Blog.

When the lottery balls came up Cleveland last night, Olshey must have had a Charlie-Brown moment. "Good grief." It's true that the Clippers had no way of knowing they'd wind up in the top spot, and it's nearly certain that had L.A. not made the trade, they wouldn't have winded up in the lottery spot that gave Cleveland the pick. But at the same time, Cleveland's 2012 pick goes to the Celtics. The Clippers' best bet is to build around Blake Griffin with young talent. Mo Williams and Chris Kaman do not constitute as such. Even with Eric Bledose a promising young point guard, the Clippers need as much talent as they can get. Top 3 protecting that pick would have gotten them the best of both worlds, the cap relief they so desired, and that pick. Protecting the pick is something that happens in trades nearly every time, specifically to prevent this situation. Olshey's right that the Clippers received more in value than they gave up in the trade... at the time of the trade. But that won't help the continuing perception, despite Blake Griffin's brilliance, that the Clippers are still the Clippers, prone to do Clipper things.  
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