Jun 06

3 Things That Stuck Out From Olshey's Press Conference

By petro4three Posted in: canales, olshey
If I were to describe Neil Olshey's first press conference as General Manager for the Portland Trail Blazers in one word it would be "impressive."

He seems knowledgeable, experienced, passionate, and hopeful. It was moving when he became emotional when talking about Chauncey Billups, who the Clippers acquired when the former NBA Finals MVP was amnestied. That moment reflected a man who values relationships not just dollars. It seems Paul Allen and his team have taken a step in the right direction for the future of the franchise.

Here are three things Olshey said that stuck out to me:

1. That Kaleb Canales is the "in-house" favorite to be the next head coach

Is there anyone that doesn't like Kaleb Canales? The players love him, the Blazers' broadcasting team loves him, and Olshey seems to have a mancrush on him, too! If Canales should be appointed the next head coach, his journey will have been similar to Heat coach Erik Spoelstra's who began his career in the film room and worked his way up in the organization.

However, Olshey also said that the team would commit to the process of searching for a head coach. This may mean that the team will field inquiries from candidates like Golden State Warriors' assistant, Mike Malone or Indiana Pacers' assistant, Brian Shaw. Former head coaches like Mike D'Antoni, Jerry Sloan, and Stan and Jeff Van Gundy could also be in the mix, according to what I read.

2. That the Blazers' sites are on set on contending

Olshey said he wants the Blazers to "always be a factor for a Western Conference championship." I hope Olshey's vision is implemented in every facet of personnel evaluations from drafting players to signing free agents to hiring a head coach.

Here is what I mean. Sometimes people ask the wrong question. Sometimes the question is, "could this person be an NBA head coach?" or "could that player be a starting two-guard?"

I think the right question is, "could this person be the head coach of a Western Conference champion?" or "could this player be the starting two-guard for a Western Conference champion?" A lot of people have been head coaches, but not a lot of been coaches of contending teams. Similarly, a lot of people have played in the NBA, but not a lot have contributed to contending teams.

3. That the team is not looking for aging veterans

Olshey said. “We’re not looking for aging veterans that can slide us into the eighth spot and we’re right back here a year from now trying to figure out what to do." I think this comment can be read two ways: (1) The Blazers aren't looking for aging veterans, period, or (2) The Blazers aren't looking for aging veterans whose ceiling is getting the team to the eight spot.

I would imagine that the team is open to considering young veterans, such as Memphis Grizzlies' Rudy Gay, who some speculate will be on the trade block. But would the team be open to someone like Phoenix Suns' guard Steve Nash? Nash is definitely an aging veteran at 38 (and rumored to be looking for a three-year deal), but many believe he is an aging veteran who can still help a contending team, not just an eighth-seeded team.

June and July, which includes the NBA draft and the beginning of the free agency period, should give us Blazers' fans a good indication of what Olshey can do. We have two lottery picks, #6 and #11, cap room, and other assets that any General Manager would love to have at his disposal. It will be exciting to see what happens.


  1. Great write-up! After hearing him speak, I definitely think it will be hard for someone to beat Kaleb out for the head coaching job.

    by DHawes22 on 6/6/2012 8:33 AM
  2. Thanks. Another reason the job seems to be Kaleb's to lose is that he will have gone through the draft process with franchise and will know more about the new players than an incoming coach. Another option is to bring in a new coach and Kaleb is one of his assistants. We'll see.

    by petro4three on 6/6/2012 2:31 PM
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