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Sudden reversal: GM Olshey leaving Clippers for Trail Blazers

Jun 4, 2012, 9:13 PM EDT

Neil Olshey Getty Images

This was a fast 360.

First rumors circulated that Clippers general manager Neil Olshey had met with Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen about that franchise’s open general manager’s position. The Clippers responded by talking to Olshey and announcing last week they had reached a “deal in principle” with him to stay in Los Angeles.

But that deal was not solid.

Late Monday news came that the Clippers and Olshey were parting ways. Half an hour later came the report that he was going to be the new GM of the Portland Trail Blazers. (Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN seemed to be first with this.)

Olshey has not said why, but it is known he was one of the lowest-paid GMs in the league in Los Angeles (making a reported $250,000) and whatever he’s making now will be a whole lot more, (more than double at least). That said, you can be sure he will say it was not the money. Of course. It never is.

This is a great hire for Portland, a loss for the Clippers.

Olshey helped turn around the culture of the Clippers, he swung the Chris Paul trade and also brought in veterans for the team like Caron Butler, Mo Williams and Chauncey Billups. The Clippers were as lost as any NBA franchise and Olshey is part of the reason they are now considered up and coming contenders.

Soon he will take over in Portland where they have All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge, solid role players such as Nicolas Batum, two lottery picks this year and a lot of cap room to go after free agents. Interim GM Chad Buchanan did an excellent job and was rumored to be back in the running

The Clippers need to now find a GM to help this franchise continue its trajectory. Whichever GM comes in will have Vinny Del Negro as his coach and needs to convince free agent to be Chris Paul that he needs to stay after next season. Blake Griffin will get a max deal offer from whoever gets the job.

One thought — Jeff Bower is available and was the GM for the Hornets when Chris Paul was there. They already have a relationship. Bower is reportedly still in the mix for the Orlando job, but he might be swayed. But will the notoriously frugal owner Donald Sterling pay up for a top flight GM?

  1. teke184 - Jun 4, 2012 at 9:30 PM

    Bower is a top flight candidate?

    I think that he did fine in NOLA considering that George Shinn was a penny pincher who insisted he make bad deals for financial reasons, but I’m shocked his name is being tossed around for the Magic opening, amongst others.

  2. echech88 - Jun 4, 2012 at 9:44 PM

    The answer to that last sentence is clearly “no”

    He hired and kept Vinny Del Negro because he was cheap, refused to pay Dunleavy if I remember correctly and one can certainly assume that he lost and alienated Olshey over money, autonomy or both.

    Clipper turnaround has been an awesome story but you can’t help but wonder if Sterling will do something between now and next Summer to ruin the gifts that were dropped in his lap in Griffin and CP3

  3. therealhtj - Jun 4, 2012 at 10:11 PM

    Same ole Clippers.

  4. cosanostra71 - Jun 4, 2012 at 10:28 PM

    oh yeah, these are the Clippers we all know and love.

  5. Gordon - Jun 4, 2012 at 10:47 PM

    There are several god-awful owners in the NBA. Sterling has to be #1 or #2 on that list (photo finish with the Maloofs).

  6. congocash - Jun 4, 2012 at 10:57 PM

    At least donald sterling is consistent.

  7. dannythebisforbeast - Jun 5, 2012 at 12:46 AM

    250 a year that’s not even player minimum

  8. snoopy2014 - Jun 5, 2012 at 4:15 AM

    If Sterling was smart, he would have opened up his wallet for Olshey (or a future GM). Smart GMs save their owners millions of dollars by avoiding long-term deals that poorer GMs hand out like candy.

    If you’re a smart businessman who wants to save money, it’s worth investing heavy sums of money in a top-notch GM and scouting team – it’ll save you money in the long run.

  9. cphickey - Jun 5, 2012 at 6:10 AM

    I think you mean quick 180, not 360.

  10. Randall Jenkins - Jun 5, 2012 at 6:15 PM

    So I’m the only person that knows a 360 isn’t a reversal? Really.

    #getaneditor

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