It might not go down as one of the most important dates in franchise history, but June 4th 2012 will certainly be a day for Blazer fans to remember. On that day, the Portland Trail Blazers finally found themselves a new General Manger.
Per the team’s official press release (read the whole thing here):
The Portland Trail Blazers have named Neil Olshey as the team’s general manager. 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.
If memory serves, Olshey was one of the many names bandied about in the last few months, as Portland worked diligently to fill the GM seat vacated by Rich Cho well over a year ago. In his capacity as Interim General Manager, Chad Buchanan orchestrated a few blockbuster deals. Some for the better (cutting the sort of dead or at least under-producing weight of Marcus Camby and Gerald Wallace and setting the table for Portland to have one of the more enviable positions in the upcoming draft), and some for the worse (Raymond Felton coming in; Andre Miller going out). Buchanan also oversaw one of the most trying seasons in Blazer history, a season that included the premature retirement of Brandon Roy and the parting of ways with former number one overall draft pick Greg Oden.
Buchanan’s parting gifts are unknown at this time. His future position with the franchise was not even alluded to in the press release. I imagine that something about his status will be made public at some point.
Olshey has his work cut out for him right from the jump in Portland. He will be responsible for managing the aforementioned Draft, in which Portland has four picks, two in the first round and two in the second. And he will also be heading any and all efforts to bring big time free agents to the Rose City.
For now, though, I think it might be a good idea for all Blazer fans to breath a sigh of relief and take a moment to really reflect on what having a General Manager means. It means that for all its faults, the Blazers are once again a real basketball team, fully staffed, and ready to pull itself out of the morass that was 2011-12. That’s got to be a positive.
Now all the team needs is a coach, and to sign Nicolas Batum to a long-term deal, and to make sure LaMarcus Aldridge lives through the off season, and to find a serviceable center, and to find a league-leading Rajon Rondo-esque point guard, and to make the second round of the Playoffs…
Oh well. One step at a time I guess.
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