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Neil Olshey On Extension, Future, More

There wasn’t much chatter about a new deal for Trail Blazers executive Neil Olshey before he and the team signed an extension Thursday, but it’s no real surprise, given the franchise’s rapid ascent the past two seasons. Portland is 28-8 and in second place in the Western Conference a season after having finished as the No. 5 seed and two seasons removed from going 33-49 and missing the playoffs. The extension kicks in next season, notes Joe Freeman of The Oregonian, meaning it runs through 2018/19, which is a team option year. Olshey also scored a promotion to president of basketball operations in the arrangement, and that was one of the many issues he addressed with the media Thursday following the announcement of the deal. Casey Holdahl of provides a complete transcription, and we’ll pass along the highlights here:

On the effect of his promotion to president of basketball operations:

“No, nothing. Nothing. What the title does — I really appreciate it — but what it does is in the event, at some point, we wanted to hire or promote from within someone to the general manager level, we wouldn’t be restricted by title that the general manager position was already taken. Down the road, if there was a talent available or if internally we wanted to make sure we kept someone’s services and the title was an issue, we now have a title that’s open there as opposed to having it closed off.”

On whether things with the Blazers have met his expectations since he left the Clippers in 2012:

“I hope so. I didn’t leave for nothing. I love the Los Angeles Clippers and I had a great run there. It was hard for my wife, my family, my kids to move out of the only city they’d ever lived in, but they were willing to do it to support me. It all just kind of worked in place. We hired [coach] Terry [Stotts], he’s been an incredible coach. [Team president] Chris [McGowan] came on board not long after me and completely revamped everything going on up here. Having [owner] Paul [Allen] embrace the vision of everyone, from what goes on on the court, off the court, behind the scenes, it’s been a great run so far. I just know we got to the point where we were relevant quicker than we’d anticipated. And now the key is to sustain that and I know Paul drives us every day to make sure we put the best product on the floor for the fans. I think right now we’ve got the fans, the season ticket holders in a really good place in terms of their support of the team and the kind of guys and the culture that we have. It’s our job every day to make sure we keep that as keep that as consistent as possible.”

On the future for the Blazers:

“One of the things we had talked about when we took over was sustainability. I think the key was to prove to everybody that last year wasn’t a fluke, that the core of this team is capable of competing for a championship and being a factor in the playoff race. We’re only [a] third of the way through the season but I think there are enough positive indicators to know we’re on the right track. We’ll look for opportunities if we can to improve the roster to give Terry and his staff a better chance at competing at a higher level, but at the end of the day, we’re comfortable with where we are, as evidenced by tonight.”

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