Portland Trail Blazers: Grading Neil Olshey’s past 5 Seasons

Portland Trail Blazers, Neil Olshey, Damian Lillard Mandatory Credit: Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports
Portland Trail Blazers, Neil Olshey, Damian Lillard Mandatory Credit: Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports /
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(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

Portland Trail Blazers 2016 season

Allen Crabbe – 4 Years 75 Million (Matched Brooklyn’s Offer Sheet)
Moe Harkless – 4 Years 42 Million
Meyers Leonard – 4 Years 41 Million
CJ McCollum – 4 Years 106 Million

Players Lost:
Cliff Alexander
Gerald Henderson
Chris Kaman
Luis Montero
Brian Roberts

Evan Turner – 4 Years 70 Million
Festus Ezeli – 2 Years 15 Million
Jake Layman – 3 Years 2.7 Million
Tim Quarterman – Minimum

Cash to Orlando for Shabazz Napier
Mason Plumlee to Denver for Jusuf Nurkic and a 1st

Draft: N/A
A first-round pick (Malik Beasley) traded away along with Will Barton for Aaron Afflalo.

This offseason was marked by 3 moves.

The Evan Turner signing was stunning at the time and is even worse looking back. For the first time in a long time, Portland had a lot of salary cap space and was anxious to spend it. I remember thinking “if we can just get Chandler Parsons then we will be a championship contender.”

This is also a classic summer when teams did not understand the value of cap space and Ryan Anderson was getting a 4-year 80-million-dollar deal. That isn’t a great excuse for many of the moves made during that offseason but I am sure that is one that several GM’s made when reviewing that summer’s deals with ownership.

Then we get to Allen Crabbe’s deal, 4 years 75 million. . .FOR ALLEN CRABBE! Who was he as a player at this time? Crabbe was coming off a season where he averaged 10.7 points 2.9 rebounds 1.2 assists on 44.4% 3pt. He was 24, played average defense, and was one of Olshey’s draft picks so I understand wanting to keep him but 19 million a year for a player who plays the same position as one of your cornerstone players (McCollum) was ludicrous.

Here is some more perspective, these are players that were paid less than Allen Crabbe in the 2016-17 season. Kyrie Irving, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, John Wall, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, I could go on for a while, but that signing was awful.

The crown jewel of the offseason was the CJ McCollum extension, looking back you say no-brainer he gets that deal but at the time critics were questioning his injury history and his fit with Dame so Olshey deserves credit for getting that deal done.

Harkless and Leonard’s deals seem pretty high when you realize they could have had another 20 million in cap space if they don’t make those deals but ultimately aren’t terrible for rotation players. Ezeli was a bet on someone with potential with only one year guaranteed.

Their first-round draft pick went to Denver when they traded Will Barton and Victor Claver for Aaron Afflalo and Alonzo Gee. Denver picked Malik Beasley and the pick after was Caris Levert. Barton has been a consistent 6th man of the year candidate, Beasley and Levert are both 20 point a game scorers, all that for 25 games of 10.5 ppg from Afflalo. Denver cut salary and got the two best players in the trade, what a tragedy.

This offseason absolutely destroyed Portland’s books for 4 years and made it so any additions to the team would have to come via trade or in the draft in the future. Luckily Olshey pulled off a heist in the season getting Nurkic and a first for Mason Plumlee in one of the highlights of his tenure as GM.

Even with this trade, this offseason is nearly a fireable offense on its own.

Grade: C-

I want to give this an F so bad but strictly because of the Nurkic trade and the CJ extension this gets bumped up a bit.