Trail Blazers GM Neil Olshey talks after NBA Trade Deadline
Our Dwight Jaynes caught up with Portland Trail Blazers General Manager and President of Basketball Operations, Neil Olshey, to pick his brain after the NBA Trade Deadline passed on Thursday.
Here are the top Olshey quotes from Thursday's interview...
First Trade Deadline without Paul Allen being at the helm
“It was different…The draft and trade deadline, Paul really amped up for those things. He really enjoyed it. I think Paul was really process-orientated in that, from an entertainment standpoint.
Jody wasn’t sending me links from rumors off of HoopsHype involving other teams. Paul really enjoyed that part of it.
Jody was phenomenal this trade deadline. It was so matter of fact. We had met prior to, kind of prepping her for the different models of deals we were trying to construct and all she wanted to know was the organization getting stronger, is the team getting better And whether it’s a small deal for a rotation player or a flip-flop of guys…And then some really big-game hunting we were doing, Jody was on board with all of it.”
Jody Allen had one goal in mind
“Her first priority was anything you can do to make the team better, I want to do that.”
“Jody is much more matter of fact. I don’t think the emotional attachment is there. Paul would get attached to the guys we drafted and then be more reluctant to kind of include them in packages.”
“I think Jody’s only goal for us was to get better…We were able to get better. I don’t know that it’s anything earth-shaking, but I think without her support it would've been harder.”
Trades on the table today
“We had three trades that were proposed [on deadline day].
One had an 85 percent chance of happening, which was the Caleb deal.
One was about 50 percent. One was about 25 percent.
Those were big deals. The players didn’t eventually get traded, but we had approval on all three, regardless of cap and future financial constraints… The players we were looking to acquire, had we been able to put the package together… The numbers would have been astronomical, and at no point did Jody [Allen] even blink knowing what it would have done for the organization had we acquired them.”
Thursday's deal with Swanigan for Labissiere
“I think both players are talented. Both players are young. They were fairly raw when they were drafted. Bigs take a little bit longer; they’re both talented; they both have a place in this league; and I think they both needed a new environment. I think they were both ready for a change of scenery. I think both organizations were trying to do right by the players.
With Skal, we really like his length, his shot-making, we think he can protect the rim, he’s got some mobility, and I think he might fit our style of play a little bit better than Biggie was.”
Is Labissiere a forward, center, combo?
“Against certain matchups, he has the mobility to play some 4. He is probably more of a natural 5 in today’s NBA. He can step out, he can face up, he’s got a little back-to-the-basket game.
I think his length kind of covers some ground and shrinks the court. Right now, we’ve got a pretty solid rotation, but he’s got a chance long-term to come in and make an impact on practices, be available when called upon, and we’ll see if we have something with him.”
Initial reactions to what went down before the trade deadline?
“I think the two themes were one, we were the only team in the Top 8 of the Western Conference standings that added a rotation caliber player. I think the other seven guys that are currently there now basically stayed pat or made cap gymnastic-type moves for either current or future flexibility. I think the other theme we ran into was expiring contracts were critical.
All but one premiere level-high profile player that got traded, in all but one of those, what came back was expiring contracts for either getting people under the tax this year or eliminating some cap holds and some players under contract next year to create some flexibility going forward for teams that are maybe going in another direction.”
Do the Blazers plan to fill the roster spot?
“The buyout market is always a tough market for small markets....I don’t think the process is fair…A team can basically pay half a million dollars for a $20 million player that they should have traded for...That said, we’ll compete in the market if it’s a right player that fits culturally... The first thing agents are going to ask is ‘what’s the role?’
Those guys that are in the buyout market are free agents and they want a chance to showcase what they can do for these last 30 games and into the playoffs.”
What do you expect from Rodney Hood?
“Shot making. IQ. Provide depth. Provide versatility. I think that is one of the things that gets forgotten when guys make trades three or four days before the deadline... it isn’t perceived as a trade deadline deal because we weren’t on the clock. But it was. We established kind of what our reserve price was going to be to pay for, what would bring wing help at that part of the process. We thought we were pretty aggressive. We’ve always liked Rodney...He opens up the court, I think the biggest thing, when teams really sell out on Lillard and McCollum is that to know that they are vulnerable by doing it. They can’t do it with impunity, they know they can get hurt at other positions on the floor and I think Rodney provides that threat.”