The Los Angeles Clippers announced on June 1st that an agreement has been reached between the team and Vice President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey. No exact terms of the agreement have been made public, but it is a well deserved commitment after Olshey’s finest year as Vice President.
It was Olshey’s second year at his current position and ninth year in the organization.
He began his career as Director of Player Development prior to the start of the 2003-04 season, and then served as an assistant coach under Mike Dunleavy during the 2004-05 season. He then held the title of Director of Player Personnel from 2005-08. Olshey was promoted to Assistant General Manager before the 2008-09 season and held that position two seasons before his current post.
This last off-season was definitely Olshey’s best. In a six day period he added all-star Caron Butler and 5 time all-star Chauncey Billups off the waiver wire. Billups had said he didn’t want anyone to sign him, and wanted to choose where he wanted to play. Olshey took a gamble however, signed Billups off the wire, and convinced him the Clippers were the team for him. He also made the biggest trade in franchise history, landing Chris Paul after the trade to the Lakers was denied by David Stern. Olshey also did a masterful job rounding out the bench, adding Kenyon Martin and Reggie Evans(both with significant playoff contributions), as well as Nick Young in a trade deadline deal with the Washington Wizards.
These roster moves in addition to the players already on the roster made the Clippers one of the deepest teams in the league, and led to the best winning percentage in franchise history. Olshey had the 3rd most votes for the manager of the year award that ultimately went to Larry Bird, but the addition of Chris Paul and ensuing culture change with the organization I would argue is worth more than anything Larry Bird did last off-season. Although, Bird has done a phenomenal job re-building the small market Pacers and gave the Heat some trouble in the second round.
Cheers to Olshey, and I am looking forward to see what the group that he has assembled can achieve.