ChrisHaynes, CSNNW.com Trail Blazers Insider (@ChrisBHaynes)
WhenNeil Olshey was announced as the Portland Trail Blazers' newestgeneral manager, he couldn't soak in the accomplishment for too long.He was off to Chicago for the pre-draft combine the very next day.
InChicago, Olshey began his working relationship with assistant generalmanagers Steve Rosenberry and Bill Branch, director of collegescouting Chad Buchanan, and director of NBA scouting Mike Born.
Itwas there that he was able to gauge the basketball intellect of hisstaff and he says they have been a pleasure to work with.
It'sbeen great. There's a lot of good personalities in the room and we'reall working together for a common purpose, Olshey told CSNNW.com.Rich (Cho) brought in Steve Rosenberry and Bill Branch and (Kevin)Pritchard brought in Chad Buchanan and Mike Born. There are fivemindsets in the room with different backgrounds and strengths andthat is a luxury to have.
Olsheysays one reason for the sudden connection that he and his staff haveestablished is due to the NBA fraternity.
TheNBA is a small circle, Olshey said. I've worked with some ofthese guys before when I was in Los Angeles making calls and talkingto them, so we have worked together before. We're just on the sameteam now.
Athis introductory press conference, Olshey said he informed his staffthat this isn't an audition. He's focused heavily on the upcoming NBADraft and that's where he wants his staff's attention directedtowards.
However,at some point, the future of Rosenberry, Branch, Born, and Buchananwill have to be addressed.
We'renot at that point right now, Olshey said. Our focus is thedraft....They still have a couple of years on their deals. At somepoint we'll sit down and see if this is what they want to be a partof, but we'll address that when the time comes. I want us to worktogether collaboratively to put this team in the best possiblesituation to acquire assets and that's what we're doing.
JoeCronin, the team's capologist, has a deal that expires at the end ofthe month and Olshey wouldn't say much about the status of thatsituation.
AllI'm going to say is it's being addressed right now, Olshey said.
TheNBA Draft is next week and many have wondered what the Trail Blazersare going to do with their two lottery picks. Weber State guardDamian Lillard, Connecticut center Andre Drummond, Baylor forwardPerry Jones III, Ohio State center Jared Sullinger, and Illinoiscenter Meyers Leonard have been some of the prospects expected to beselected by the Trail Blazers.
Olsheysays the team will continue to keep its options open to insure theTrail Blazers leave the draft with a better squad than before.
Thedraft is a player evaluation tool, Olshey said. Whether we keepthe picks or choose to use them in a trade, we want to make sure weacquire the best possible assets. There is interest in our picks andwe're also making proactive calls to see what's available.
Oncethe draft is over, the next phase is finding a head coach. Interimhead coach Kaleb Canales, is a possible long-term suitor and Olsheyis confident that the other guys they'll pursue for interviews, willstill be on the market when the free agency period hits.
Wehave a list of candidates that we're confident that are still goingto be available, Olshey said. Right or wrong, I don't thinkit's fair to the coach to come in not knowing the roster compositionof our team.
GoldenState assistant coach Mike Malone and Indiana assistant coach BrianShaw are expected to be on Olshey's shortlist.
Olsheydefinitely has his work cutout in the next couple of weeks with thedraft, coaching search, free agency, and summer league. But hecouldn't be happier doing what he has a passion for.
Ilove it. It's an important and fun time of year, Olshey said.