NEIL OLSHEY HIRED AS BLAZERS GM AFTER "PARTING WAYS" WITH CLIPPERS

PLAYA VISTA, CA - DECEMBER 15: Vice president of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey speaks at a press conference introducing Chris Paul as a member of the Los Angeles Clippers on December 15, 2011 at the Los Angeles Clippers Training Center in Playa Vista, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

The Portland Trail Blazers announced the hiring of former Los Angeles Clippers executive Neil Olshey on Monday, ending a GM search that lasted 377 days. Earlier Monday, reports broke that Olshey had agreed to "part ways" with the Clippers just days after the two sides had announced an "agreement in principle" that would have brought him back for the 2012-2013 season. Olshey finised third in the 2012 NBA Executive of the Year voting.

Olshey was reportedly one of four finalists for the position that had interviewed with Blazers owner Paul Allen, including former New Orleans Hornets executive Jeff Bower, Indiana Pacers executive David Morway and Philadelphia 76ers Tony DiLeo. Portland's interest in Olshey dates back to at least September 2011.

The Clippers announced earlier on Monday that the team and Olshey had mutually agreed to part ways after previously announcing on Friday that the team had reached an agreement in principle with him to return.

The Blazers have been without a GM since May 23, 2011, when former GM Rich Cho was abruptly fired. Director of College Scouting Chad Buchanan had stepped into an "Acting GM" role.

Here's how the story unfolded on Monday. The Blazers' press release is below. A poll is also included at the bottom. Here's a quick list of positives from Olshey's time with the Clippers. Here's a quick list of negatives.

Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN.com reports on Twitter that former Los Angeles Clippers executive Neil Olshey is set to become the next GM of the Portland Trail Blazers after parting ways with the Clippers on Monday.

Just filed to ESPN.com: Neil Olshey will not be returning to Clippers. Sources close to negotiations say he'll be POR GM.

David Aldridge of NBA.com also reports the same on Twitter.

Source confirms Neil Olshey to Portland as next GM just as Clippers make his departure official via press release.

Update: Jason Quick of The Oregonian reports that Olshey will be the next Blazers GM.

The Trail Blazers on Monday hired Neil Olshey as their general manager, The Oregonian has learned, three days after the former Los Angeles Clippers executive was reported to have reached an agreement to stay with the Clippers.

The Blazers swept in Monday after contract negotiations with the Clippers broke down, and the team was waiting for a signed agreement with Olshey late Monday afternoon. The Blazers will introduce Olshey as their new general manager in a Tuesday afternoon press conference, according to a source close to the Blazers.

...

It is unknown whether Olshey will keep the Blazers' current basketball operations staff, which includes Chad Buchanan, who served as acting general manager for the past year.

Update: The Blazers have confirmed Olshey's hiring in a press release.

The Portland Trail Blazers have named Neil Olshey as the team's general manager, Team President Larry Miller announced today. Per team policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed.

"Neil is someone we've had on our radar for quite a while," said Miller. "Over the past two seasons he has demonstrated success in constructing a roster, managing salary cap and evaluating player talent. We feel very fortunate to have him in Portland and are thrilled about what this means for the future."

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.

"I am very pleased to have Neil as our new general manager," said Trail Blazers Owner Paul Allen. "He has the skills and the vision to successfully guide our organization into a new era of Trail Blazers basketball. He's proven that he can quickly turn around a franchise, and we are confident he can do that in Portland."

Under Olshey's direction, the Clippers transitioned into a playoff team this past season after he assembled one of the deepest rosters in the NBA prior to the 2011-12 season. During a six-day span, Olshey added Chris Paul, Caron Butler and Chauncey Billups while re-signing DeAndre Jordan to a team that already featured Blake Griffin, Mo Williams and Eric Bledsoe.

"I am very grateful for the opportunity to become a part of this successful franchise," said Olshey. "Portland is a great basketball city with a rich tradition, an incredible fan base and committed leadership. I'm joining an organization that has a strong foundation and a bright future. I couldn't be more excited and I'm ready to hit the ground running."

Olshey, 47, began his nine-year NBA career with the Clippers as Director of Player Development prior to the start of the 2003-04 season, and served as an assistant coach during the 2004-05 campaign before holding the title of Director of Player Personnel from 2005-08. Olshey was promoted to the role of Assistant General Manager prior to the start of the 2008-09.

Prior to joining the Clippers, Olshey was the Director of Player Development for SFX Sports Group, Inc. where he created, organized and conducted predraft and offseason training camps for future and current NBA players. The camps produced 15 lottery picks, 25 first round selections and 57 NBA players. Participants in Olshey's offseason skill development clinics include more than 85 current NBA players including numerous All Stars and All-NBA selections. He has also served as a Head Coach/Clinician at the Reebok ABCD Camp, the Roundball Classic and numerous NCAA basketball camps throughout the country.

A graduate of LeMoyne College, Olshey and his wife, Leslie Radakovich, are the parents of Connor, 6, and James, 4.

Update: Sam Amick of SI.com reports on Twitter...

The Blazers' Wizard of Oz & confidante to owner Paul Allen, Bert Kolde, was known to be pushing Olshey. His influence is significant.

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com writes...

Olshey had been a stabilizing force for the perenially woebegone Clippers, making a series of shrewd roster moves and parlaying cap space and draft picks to land Paul. But he was one of the lowest-paid executives in the NBA at $250,000, and this was his second go-round interviewing with the Blazers.

David Aldridge of NBA.com writes...

Olshey opted for Portland, according to a source, because the Blazers - while not being an easy place to work either, having fired several executives in the last three years, including Cho, his predecessor, Kevin Pritchard, and Pritchard's assistant, Tom Penn - nonetheless have the resources available to be involved in any transaction. With Allen's largesse, the Blazers are always potential players in any trade, free-agent signing or Draft day deals. The Blazers currently have the sixth and 11th picks overall in this month's Draft.

In Los Angeles, Olshey only had a handful of people working with him in the basketball operations staff - "he was basically MacGuyver down there, " a source said - and had difficulty getting decisions made quickly. Nonetheless, he had enough clout to dramatically, and historically, remake the Clippers' roster in a frantic two-week frame in December.

Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com reports on Twitter...
Larry Miller says Chad Buchanan is still someone they would like to be part of this organization. Says Olshey has a lot of respect for him.
Jason Quick of The Oregonian reports on Twitter...
Chad Buchanan, Blazers dir. of college scouting, says he hasn't spoken w/new GM Olshey: "I don't have any idea if he will want to keep me.''
Update: Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com reports...
Sources say the Trail Blazers reached out to Olshey over the weekend and offered him a three-year deal with a team option on the fourth.
This post will update with new information as it becomes available.

-- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter
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