SBD/June 4, 2012/Franchises

Clippers Renew Neil Olshey, While Trail Blazers Left To Continue GM Search

Olshey has spent nine seasons with Clippers, two as VP/Basketball Operations
The Clippers announced on Friday that an agreement in principle has been reached between the team and VP/Basketball Operations Neil Olshey. The '11-12 campaign marked Olshey's second season in that position, and his ninth overall season with the team. Olshey began his career as Dir of Player Development prior to the start of the '03-04 season (Clippers). In L.A., Broderick Turner noted Olshey "had been working without a contract all season, and on a month-to-month basis." Olshey recently traveled to London to interview with Trail Blazers Owner Paul Allen for their vacant GM position. It was Olshey's "second interview in two years" with the Blazers (L.A. TIMES, 6/2). NBCSPORTS.com's Kurt Helin wrote, "This is a smart move by the Clippers, Olshey has been at the heart of the turnaround [of] 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)." Helin wrote one thing "that should be interesting -- Olshey was rumored to be ready to remove" coach Vinny Del Negro mid-season. Owner Donald Sterling "has picked up Del Negro’s contract for another year." Helin: "We’ll see who wins that battle as it continues another year" (NBCSPORTS.com, 6/1).

NEGATIVE ATTENTION: CSNNW.com's Dwight Jaynes wrote the Clippers' announcement "leaves the Trail Blazers with three candidates who have interviewed" with Allen for the team's vacant GM position -- former Hornets GM Jeff Bower, 76ers VP/Basketball Operations Tony DiLeo and Pacers GM David Morway. Reaction around the NBA to the Trail Blazers search has been "mild amusement, which broke into open laughter Friday night when it was learned that Olshey is no longer a candidate." Jaynes cited sources as saying that the group of finalists for the Trail Blazers GM position is "underwhelming" or "disappointing" considering the team's stated goals. Jaynes: "Many expected Portland to make a big splash with a well-known name. But now, with continued inaction and one candidate slipping through their fingers, the whole thing is making the organization a laughingstock" (CSNNW.com, 6/1). A source said that Allen is "concerned with Morway's character and finds that he reminds him" of former GM Kevin Pritchard. The source said DiLeo's "lack of experience in charge is 'worrisome.'" CSNNW.com's Chris Haynes noted Bower "happens to be the most experienced candidate" and would "appear to be the logical choice." However, those that know Allen said that he "prefers his general managers be/remain in good physical shape and Bower doesn't fit that criteria." Sources also said Trail Blazers interim GM Chad Buchanan "has become an option again" (CSNNW.com, 6/2). ESPN's John Hollinger wrote on Twitter, "Reading Blazer news this AM with slack-jawed wonder. If they're going status quo, only amplifies rumors of team for sale" (TWITTER.com, 6/3).
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