ChrisHaynes, CSNNW.com Trail Blazers Insider (@ChrisBHaynes)
Portland The Portland Trail Blazers appear to have found their guy in NeilOlshey as the team's newest general manager, and Olshey sounds as ifhe's found his guy Trail Blazers' interim head coach, KalebCanales.
Olshey,47, professed his love for Canales' handling of the lockeroom thatwas lost under former coach Nate McMillan and said Canales is at thetop of the coaching list for the time being.
Ifyou're asking me to handicap it, I'll say he's (Canales) the in-housefavorite right now...But at the end of the day, I don't see anyonebringing more to the table than Kaleb Canales. But we're going tofollow a process to see how it works out, Olshey said.
Thatwas a huge and unexpected endorsement coming from the Trail Blazers'general manager.
Andit didn't end there.
Clearly,the bar is pretty high right now based on my feelings, and Larry(Miller), and Paul's (Allen) feelings about Kaleb, Olshey said.But we're going to be open about engaging in the process.
Olsheyand Canales were seen embracing in a long hug when Olshey wasintroduced to the Trail Blazers' staff prior to his introductory pressconference.
It should be noted that Canlaes and Olshey both share thesame agent -- Warren LeGarie.
Besidesthe unknown job status of Canales, the director of college scoutingChad Buchanan, director of NBA scouting Mike Born, cap specialist JoeCronin, and assistant general managers Steve Rosenberry and BillBranch are all in limbo as well.
Olsheysays he has informed his staff to not think of this situation as anaudition and to just focus on improving this ball club. Olshey didn'tgive Buchanan the ringing endorsement he gave Canales, but he did sayBuchanan was someone he thinks a great deal of.
He'ssomeone I think highly of. He's someone I would have pursued if Iwere with another organization, Olshey said. As long as thechemistry is right and we share the same vision going forward, thingswill work out with everybody.
TrailBlazers president, Larry Miller, said the main focus right now is thedraft and Olshey agrees with that stance.
Idon't think it's imperative that we have a coach in place before thedraft, Olshey said.
Accordingto Olshey, he wants to put all of his efforts into gathering all theinformation necessary for the upcoming draft, then the next stepwould be contacting current Trail Blazer players, and finallyfocusing on the head coach position and that will likely be during thefree agency period.
Speakingof the free agency period, Steve Nash to Portland may not be anoption with Olshey at the helm. He's not interesting in bringing in veterans for momentary success.
Iwant to make it clear, we're not looking for quick fixes, Olsheysaid. We're not looking for aging veterans that can slide us intothe eighth spot and we're right back here a year from now trying tofigure out what to do.
Overall,Olshey's first interaction with the Portland media was impressive.He's seems personable, energetic, confident, ready to get to work, and most importantly, he's happy to behere.
Thiswas always where I wanted to be...I want my family to be here. I wantto raise a family here and be a part of the community, Olsheysaid.
Olshey said he and the Clippers released a press release on Friday stating they agreed in principle that he would remain with the team in order to quite the noise of a potential departure on his part.
Both parties had agreed to get a deal done, but it never happened and the Trail Blazers swooped in over the weekend. End of story.