Neil Olshey, the Trail Blazers' president of basketball operations, joined ESPN's "NBA Draft: On The Clock" show Tuesday night as the team prepares for the 2018 NBA Draft, which is scheduled for June 21. During the course of the interview with ESPN's Cassidy Hubbarth, Adrian Wojnarowski and Bobby Marks, Olshey discusses what the Trail Blazers need to do to take the next step, how the way Portland's playoff run ended this season exposed deficiencies on the roster and whether it's difficult to make trades with so many teams over the salary cap.
Much of this tracks with the comments Olshey made during his last appearance on ESPN, though this time, he went into a bit more detail regarding how the team might go about adding veteran talent to the roster going into the 2018-19 season.
"One of the advantages, when you look at it cap-wise... you've got 15 teams that are either in or within $5 million of the luxury tax, so there isn't a lot of financial flexibility to make deals with those teams," said Olshey. "But one of the advantages we do have, we have an incredibly aggressive owner in Paul Allen. He believes in the core of this group, he wants to improve the group and we've got two really good trade exceptions. We've got a $13 million trade exception from the Allen Crabbe trade, we've got one at $3.5 (million) from the Noah Vonleh trade and we're viewing those trade exceptions as if they're room when it comes to making deals and acquiring players. It's an advantage we think we have relative to the marketplace where we don't necessarily have the cap room but we have a lot of liquid contracts and we do have two major trade exceptions where we can absorb players that we think can fit into our group that can advance this group going forward come playoff time next year."