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 completed his eighth season at the helm in 2019-20. 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, the fourth unanimous NBA Rookie of the Year in league history and a five-time All-NBA honoree. He then named veteran coach Terry Stotts head coach of the Trail Blazers on August 7, 2012.
The Trail Blazers are coming off of their seventh consecutive postseason appearance in 2019-20, extending the second-longest postseason streak in franchise history and the second-longest active streak in the NBA. In an abbreviated 2020 offseason, Olshey bolstered Portland’s frontcourt by acquiring forward Robert Covington, a former All-Defensive First Team member, in a trade with Houston and signing free agent forward Derrick Jones Jr. Olshey added further depth by trading for center Enes Kanter, a member of Portland’s 2019 Western Conference Finals team, and signing forward/center Harry Giles III while retaining both 10-time NBA All-Star and six-time All-NBA honoree Carmelo Anthony and guard/forward Rodney Hood in free agency. Anthony was originally signed by the Trail Blazers on November 19, 2019, while Hood was acquired through a midseason trade made by Olshey in February 2019. Olshey rounded out Portland’s roster additions by selecting CJ Elleby with the 46th pick of the 2020 NBA Draft.
The 2018-19 season saw the Trail Blazers advance to the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 2000 after Portland defeated Oklahoma City in the first round and the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Semifinals. Portland finished the regular season with a 53-29 record, the team’s best since the 2013-14 season.
In 2017-18, the Trail Blazers finished third in the Western Conference with a 49-33 record, a Northwest Division title and a fifth consecutive trip to the postseason with the NBA’s second-youngest roster. On June 21, 2018, Olshey selected Anfernee Simons with the 24th overall pick in the NBA Draft and completed a trade to acquire Gary Trent Jr., the 37th overall pick.
After making the playoffs with the league’s youngest roster in 2016-17, Olshey executed a draft day trade on June 22, 2017 to acquire Zach Collins (10th overall pick).
Olshey made the trade deadline move during the 2016-17 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. After 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.
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. McCollum, whom Olshey drafted with the 10th overall pick in 2014, won the NBA’s Most Improved Player Award that season.
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.
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 was inducted into the Le Moyne College Hall of Fame in 2018. He is married to Emmy-nominated television producer Leslie Radakovich, and they have two sons, Connor and James.