The Philadelphia 76ers have decided to hire former Portland Trail Blazers President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey as a consultant.
76ers add Neil Olshey to front office
According to Kyle Neubeck of PHLY, Olshey’s term with the 76ers is indefinite, and he’ll be reporting to Philadelphia President Daryl Morey and General Manager Elton Brand during his time. Olshey has actually been working with the 76ers since June and potentially had an influence on the signing of Terquavioun Smith as an undrafted free agent.
The 76ers seem to have felt comfortable enough to be the team to offer Olshey his first position since his dismissal from the Trail Blazers in 2021. His tenure with Portland had plenty of ups and downs, but his record can’t be denied. In just over nine years at the helm, the Blazers accumulated a 413-330 record during Olshey’s reign, giving them a 55.6 win percentage.
While that’s a more than respectable mark, it would be difficult to find a Portland fan who would look back on Olshey’s term with admiration. Rather, it appears that the Blazers finally just undid the lasting ramifications of the damage that he caused in his stint when they traded away Damian Lillard, who wasted away the majority of his career playing alongside subpar rosters with Olshey at the helm.
Not only did he fail to ever put a real contender around one of the 75 greatest players in NBA history, but Olshey was also fired from the Blazers organization after the team launched an investigation into his workplace misconduct ahead of his departure. While there are few specifics to share from that probe, it was made clear that there were several sources willing to step forward and add to the claims that Olshey cultivated a hostile work environment, including but not limited to verbal abuses from the executive himself.
One of his last moves as president of the Blazers was to hire Chauncey Billups as head coach. A move that was questioned by many as he not only had just one year of coaching experience but a history involving a sexual assault allegation from his playing days. Billups’s hiring was thought to be a move to help keep Dame, who has since left town, but was ultimately spearheaded by Olshey.
Sure, Olshey has a proven track record of uncovering talented guards at various points throughout the draft, as he did with CJ McCollum — 10th pick in the 2013 NBA Draft — and Anfernee Simons — 24th pick in 2018. Finding a high-quality ball-handler deep in the draft could be the exact move the 76ers need to build a champion roster around Joel Embiid.
That being said, no matter how comfortable Daryl Morey might feel with their decades-long “working relationship,” the decision to add Neil Olshey, even in a non-leadership role for the 76ers, remains controversial.