President, Basketball Operations
Promoted to President of Basketball Operations in 2015, Neil Olshey was named the 10th General Manager in franchise history on June 4, 2012, and finished his fifth season at the helm in 2016-17. As President of Basketball Operations, Olshey leads the organization’s Basketball Operations department, overseeing talent evaluation, player personnel decisions, contract negotiations and salary cap management.
Less than a month after joining the Trail Blazers, Olshey drafted Damian Lillard (sixth overall), the fourth unanimous NBA Rookie of the Year in league history, and Meyers Leonard (11th overall). He then named veteran coach Terry Stotts head coach of the Trail Blazers on August 7, 2012.
On the heels of a fourth straight postseason berth, Olshey executed a draft day trade on June 22 to acquire Zach Collins (10th overall pick), and selected Caleb Swanigan with the 26th overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.
Olshey made the trade deadline move last season to acquire center Jusuf Nurkic and a 2017 first round draft pick from Denver in exchange for Mason Plumlee and cash considerations on February 13. Since making the move, Portland went 14-6 with Nurkic in the lineup and made its fourth consecutive playoff appearance for the first time since 2000-03 with the youngest roster in the NBA.
In the summer of 2016, Olshey added veteran Evan Turner via free agency, while re-signing Allen Crabbe, Maurice Harkless and Leonard. In addition, Olshey extended the contract of CJ McCollum, the 2015-16 winner of the NBA’s Most Improved Player award.
The Trail Blazers advanced to the Western Conference Semifinals in 2015-16 after defeating the LA Clippers in the first round, despite not returning four of five starters from the previous year and possessing the third-youngest roster in the league. Portland lost the highest percentage of starters from the previous season among all teams that have ever advanced to the second round, while becoming the first Trail Blazers team to move onto the semifinals twice in three years since 1998-2000. It was the third straight trip to the playoffs under the direction of Olshey, who was runner-up for the 2015-16 NBA Executive of the Year Award.
In the summer of 2015, Olshey executed a number of moves via the NBA Draft, free agency and trades to acquire a talented collection of young players, including Al-Farouq Aminu, Pat Connaughton, Ed Davis, Harkless, Gerald Henderson, Mason Plumlee and Noah Vonleh.
Division champions for the first time since 1998-99 in 2014-15, the Trail Blazers put together consecutive 50-win seasons for just the fifth time in franchise history from 2013-14 to 2014-15.
In July of 2014, Olshey bolstered the team’s bench by acquiring veteran free agents Steve Blake and Chris Kaman. In the summer of 2013, he traded for Thomas Robinson and Robin Lopez, signed free agents Mo Williams and Dorell Wright, selected McCollum (10th overall) in the NBA Draft and acquired the draft rights to Allen Crabbe (31st overall).
Olshey finished third in 2013-14 NBA Executive of the Year voting after the Trail Blazers posted a 54-28 record, marking the largest improvement in franchise history and the sixth-best record all-time. Portland won its first playoff series in 14 seasons, defeating the Houston Rockets in six games, which set up a Western Conference Semifinal matchup with the San Antonio Spurs. The postseason berth was the team’s first since 2010-11.
Olshey came to Portland from the Clippers, where he served as the team’s Vice President of Basketball Operations for 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.
Under Olshey’s direction, the Clippers transitioned into a playoff team in 2011-12 after he assembled one of the deepest rosters in the NBA prior to the start of the 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. The Chris Paul trade led to Olshey receiving the “Best Sports Transaction of the Year” award at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference.
Olshey began his 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 season.
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 overall. Participants in Olshey’s offseason skills development clinics include more than 85 current and former NBA players including numerous All-Stars and All-NBA selections. He has also served as a Head Coach/Clinician at the Reebok/Adidas ABCD Camp, the Roundball Classic and numerous NCAA basketball camps throughout the country.
A 1987 graduate of Le Moyne College, Olshey was a recipient of the Outstanding Senior Athlete Award for his efforts on the lacrosse field and is a current member of the Board of Regents.
He is married to Emmy-nominated television producer Leslie Radakovich, and they have two sons, Connor and James.