Former Trail Blazers and Clippers executive Neil Olshey will be joining the Philadelphia 76ers in a consulting role, per Kyle Neubeck of PHLY Sports.
New @PHLY_Sports— Kyle Neubeck (@KyleNeubeck) October 19, 2023
Neil Olshey — the former Blazers and Clippers exec who was ousted in Portland two years ago — is now in a consultant role with the Sixers.
Why he’s on board, and what the team is hoping to get from the partnership
Neubeck detailed that his role as a consultant will be open ended and he’ll report to President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey and General Manager Elton Brand. Olshey first joined the team in early June of this year, consulting with the Sixers throughout the 2023 NBA Draft and free agency period. He’s expected to operate out of the Pacific Northwest and will provide scouting resources for the Sixers focused on the college level. Neubeck also mentioned that his role could evolve or change over time based on team needs.
Olshey worked with the LA Clippers before joining the Portland Trail Blazers as a General Manager and President of Basketball Operations from 2012-2021. His front office did manage to hit on several prospects, including Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Anfernee Simons, Will Barton and Gary Trent Jr.
Oshley’s front office did put together a winner that saw continuous postseason appearances, although they never managed to get over the NBA Finals hump. Outside of the draft, Oshley’s tenure ended in poor fashion, being hit with several allegations regarding his workplace management and relationships in November of 2021. He was eventually put under investigation by the league for what was initially characterized as “workplace misconduct”, with the findings summarized below by The Athletic:
Dozens of coaches, front office members and team staffers were interviewed as part of the probe — Blazers players were given an opportunity to speak with investigators but all of them declined. The firm concluded Olshey often confronted staffers and cursed toward them, sources said. According to individuals with knowledge of the probe, Olshey allegedly made an inappropriate comment toward a female staff member, which was cited during the investigation.
A Blazers spokesperson told The Athletic: “Out of consideration for the privacy of the people impacted by this investigation, we don’t have any additional comment at this time.”
Sam Amick, The Athletic
These conclusions, along with Portland coming up short year after year, led to his exit in December 2021.
Neubeck noted that the Sixers are aware of the circumstances surrounding Olshey’s departure from the Blazers, with a team source telling him that “they felt comfortable moving forward with Olshey in a consultant role.” As noted above, Olshey’s been working with them for a few months and early reviews have been positive as he helped them navigate what has been a difficult offseason.
Though the Sixers didn’t have a draft pick in the previous draft, they did manage to leave with several intriguing talents with Ricky Council IV and Terquavion Smith. The latter has already shined in Summer League, and one can argue that Smith’s shooting ability alone can make him a true NBA player some day.
For Oshley, this path seems to be the best possible scenario for him, as he provides wisdom in talent evaluation without being thrusted into a leadership position. The Sixers are strapped for assets, and will need to maximize all resources they can to propel the team back into the championship conversation.
Time will tell how much, if at all, Oshley helps the Sixers. But until this Harden situation is resolved, it won’t hurt to have additional help with management experience.