Neil Olshey has been in the business of building a contender out of the Portland Trail Blazers since he took over as General Manager, later President of Basketball Operations, in 2012. With Damian Lillard safely ensconced as team leader and franchise superstar, Olshey’s Blazers have put together six consecutive winning seasons and playoffs appearances, culminating in a Western Conference Finals run in the 2019 NBA Playoffs.
That track record was enough to get the attention of New York Post columnist Marc Berman this week. Berman suggested that Olshey would be a strong candidate to take over the moribund New York Knicks.
After suggesting that Toronto Raptors lead executive Masai Ujuri was a “pie-in-the-sky” candidate, Berman cited Portland’s flagging 2019-20 record as a reason Olshey may be available.
He praised Olshey’s qualities...
NBA insiders commend Olshey for his leadership, his faith in coach Terry Stotts while others in the organization had wavered and being one of the NBA’s most well-liked execs.
...while also citing his ambition:
Yes, Olshey is happy in rainy Portland, but one person close to him says the Blazers may not be his last stop. He’s 54 and believed to be among the NBA’s top-five highest-paid executives.
“He’s got full autonomy here to run things as he sees fit and he’s pretty happy with his salary, I think,’’ the NBA official said. “He’s never going to be a huge fan of retiring in Portland as a city, so maybe this isn’t his final destination. But he’s not a big media guy even if he’s a big-city guy in some ways.”
What do you think of Olshey’s availability and suitability for New York?