NBA rumors: Neil Olshey fighting for his job amid Blazers investigation

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Jason Quick: Trail Blazers president of basketball operations Neil Olshey is scheduled to be interviewed in next week by investigators from O’Melveny and Myers. The investigation was supposed to be finished by Nov. 5, but after interviewing more than 60 people the deadline was extended.
The investigation into Portland Trail Blazers president of basketball operations and general manager Neil Olshey allegedly creating a hostile work environment has been extended, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Previously expected to wrap up shortly, the investigation could last a few weeks before a ruling on Olshey’s future is determined, sources said. Employees of the practice facility were interviewed on Thursday and Friday.
It might have been the least successful press conference in NBA history. Sources said Olshey’s job was beyond secure before that day. (He IS the Trail Blazers. Almost no one in the building has been here since 2012. He has been running the Blazers longer than his boss, Jody Allen.) Those same sources sound less certain now. Another story from two people who know him is that Neil Olshey has been openly complaining about po-dunk Portland for years and—with a big guaranteed deal and eyes on bigger markets—would be happy to get fired right now.
“Neil has done an exceptional job finding and keeping the talent that has made the Trail Blazers a perennial playoff team, culminating in this season’s magical run to the Western Conference Finals,” said Jody Allen, Trustee of Paul G. Allen Trust. “I have great confidence in the culture he has created in Portland, and I look forward to seeing it thrive and grow for years to come.”
There's some uncertainty with the Blazers and their ownership situation. Though nothing firm has been announced, with Paul Allen's death there is a possibility the team could be sold, which could change everything. Just last season, Lillard had a meeting with Allen to discuss the direction of the franchise, which was a little unsettling to the fan base. That said, these days Lillard is feeling very settled. Whatever frustrations he talked to Allen about have calmed, sources report, and he's very comfortable with his commitment to the Blazers. There are no Lillard concerns about ownership uncertainty right now, I'm told.
Olshey was asked about his ability to execute player transactions, something that he had been able to do with an email to Allen, who by then would have known the particulars after studying the scouting and analytics, as he loved to do. Now, with ownership uncertain, can Olshey still get a trade approved? “There are enough advocates for the Trail Blazers, of wanting to see us do well, that it would get done, and there would be even more fluidity because of wanting to do things on behalf of Paul,” Olshey said.
Allen, who was 65, owned the team for 30 years. His absence leaves plenty of uncertainty. On Tuesday, general manager Neil Olshey and team CEO and president Chris McGowan held a news conference and told warm, respectful stories about their boss. Both, however, said it was too soon to start talking about the team’s ownership future. “At this point, we’re just kind of dealing with the death,” McGowan said. “We don’t have any imminent announcements or anything like that. At the appropriate time, I’m sure we’ll come and talk to everyone with what could potentially happen.”
NBA sources say that it's possible that Neil Olshey's job as general manager just got more difficult if Vulcan, Inc. is calling the shots. Money will become tighter. Deals will be harder to make. Keep an eye on that.
Can't say I'd blame him if he's bailed. Allen owns an NFL team, too, and the draft is next week. A man can only watch so many back-alley whippings before he goes numb and decides he has no stake in the outcome. Who knows? Maybe Allen will instruct Seahawks general manager John Schneider to take a late-round flyer on Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday. But yeah, I'm dying to know if Allen is sticking around the French Quarter. Because according to one franchise insider, there's only one thing in the world worse for Portland than a frustrated Trail Blazers owner. "Uninterested Paul would be worst thing to happen to Blazers," the source said. "When it happens, you are on an island. (Allen) gives no direction."
Decide for yourself if Allen's magnified focus on Carroll and Schneider helps more than it hurts. While he's always in the draft room while the picks are being made, Allen has never claimed to be as much of an expert on football evaluation as he has basketball. I'm told by staffers on the basketball side, incidentally, that I've underestimated how good Allen is at identifying NBA talent.
Allen asks good questions, I'm told by multiple people who have been in the room during evaluations. He's not risk adverse, either. He had the guts to pull the trigger on drafting Jermaine O'Neal, Zach Randolph and Damian Lillard. Also, he insisted on taking Patty Mills in 2009 with a late second-round pick. He's bought a pile of draft picks over the years.
The Portland Trail Blazers have hired Don Vaden in a consulting role to help educate the team on rules of the game and officiating, the team announced on Friday. "He's going to be a resource for the coaches (and) the players," Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. "As far as understanding some of the rules, interpretations, knowing the referees, style of refereeing, I think he's just going to be a tremendous resource."
Once Anthony expanded his list of teams to include Cleveland and Oklahoma City within the past 10 days, Perry had more flexibility to move Anthony. Perry remained in contact with Portland Trail Blazers president of basketball operations Neil Olshey, who had the most versatile array of assets for New York and motivation to make the deal -- but, ultimately, Anthony would not accept a trade to the Pacific Northwest. Anthony was intrigued with a potential partnership with Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic, and the stability and track record of the front office and coaching staff in Portland, but did not want to make such a dramatic geographic shift, league sources said.
As assistant general manager Justin Zanik is preparing the franchise for the NBA draft, the Milwaukee Bucks continue to reach out to potential general manager candidates and plan to begin formal interviews on Monday, league sources told The Vertical. The Bucks were granted permission to speak with several more GM candidates late this week, including Portland Trail Blazers assistant GM Bill Branch, Miami Heat assistant GM Adam Simon and Detroit Pistons assistant GM Pat Garrity, league sources told The Vertical.
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