Portland Trail Blazers executive Neil Olshey came into the offseason equipped with a $13 million Traded Player Exception from last summer’s Allen Crabbe trade and stated intentions of finding veteran players for the playoffs. The TPE ended up expiring with no rumored deals in the works, and Portland added Seth Curry and Nik Stauskas in free agency — players with a combined 0 playoff games. Olshey talked about the offseason so far with Blazers reporter Brooke Olzendam in almost a 30-minute interview.
Olzendam asked Olshey about the lack of arrival of veterans to the team this summer:
The market dictates that. We identified five wings that all had playoff experience or veteran wings we thought we could get for the Taxpayer Mid-Level [Exception] — they all got more than the Taxpayer Mid-Level.
Olshey expanded upon the roster getting younger rather than older:
We went with talent. Instead of continually going down the list and trying to make signings that checked some boxes in July, we went with the guys that we thought had a younger, had more talent, that had higher ceilings and were better for the future.
We feel like we have internal solutions that will eventually be upgrades and that was the deal. Ed is a veteran and you can’t bring Ed back and ask him to take on a reduced role, but if Ed comes back and plays the same role, it sublimates guys on the roster that we think have a higher ceiling and that eventually can bring more to the table.
Olshey also talked about the now-expired TPE, saying Portland thought it’d be more valuable around the league:
We thought for sure the Allen Crabbe trade exception would have huge value in the league. And like I said, teams just are not in the business of giving up quality players the way they were because I think everybody understands they’re going to have to pay the freight this summer for what everybody did back in 2016 and there just wasn’t as many pieces in the marketplace to do the absorption deals we’ve seen in the past.
You can watch the video of Olshey’s interview here:
Editor’s note: Thank you to Blazer’s Edge contributor tcbbiggs Team Mom for the transcription of this article.