Neil Olshey: Trail Blazers Were 'A Little Too Conservative' at Trade Deadline

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMay 17, 2018

Portland Trail Blazers' Damian Lillard, left, chats with Trail Blazers GM Neil Olshey prior to the start of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Saturday, March 28, 2015. (AP Photo/Greg Wahl-Stephens)
Greg Wahl-Stephens/Associated Press

Portland Trail Blazers president of basketball operations Neil Olshey said his team was too conservative at the trade deadline this past season, which played a role in Portland's first-round loss to the New Orleans Pelicans.

Casey Holdahl of NBA.com shared the comments Olshey made while appearing on ESPN's broadcast of the 2018 NBA Draft Combine:

"I think probably one of the things we were a little too conservative with this offseason and at the trade deadline was, we were probably far too protective of our draft pick and our trade exceptions and the tools we had to continue to build the roster long term and maybe lost sight of the fact that the first round was going to be more competitive that we expected." 

He also acknowledged balancing the reality of a potential second-round loss to the Houston Rockets or Golden State Warriors with not wanting to sacrifice long-term assets played into the decision-making process before pointing to the team's goals moving forward.

Olshey said:

"I think this offseason we shift our focus to playoff-caliber guys, guys that hit the right benchmarks or the body of work that can really perform come April knowing the rebuild got done quicker than we thought and it's time to start thinking of playoff success over whether or not we can or can't make the playoff while retooling."

Portland traded Noah Vonleh before the deadline expired on February 8 but didn't land the type of playmaker that could have helped it battle the Pelicans or others in the postseason.

Prior to the deadline, Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe of ESPN appeared on the Lowe Post podcast (h/t Sean Meagher of the Oregonian) and noted the Trail Blazers moved on from the possibility of landing Los Angeles Clippers big man DeAndre Jordan in a trade.

There was a connection since Olshey drafted Jordan in 2008 as the general manager of the Clippers, but Portland didn't pull the trigger on someone who could have battled Anthony Davis down low in the first round.

New Orleans was far more aggressive than Portland at the deadline and acquired Nikola Mirotic from the Chicago Bulls via a February 1 trade. Mirotic scored 18.3 points and grabbed 9.5 rebounds per game during the Pelicans' sweep of the Trail Blazers while shooting 46.2 percent from three-point range.

That a team that shied away from a conservative approach ousted the Trail Blazers may have played a role in Olshey's rethink, but Portland fans can look forward to their team adding players who "can really perform come April" if the latest comments are any indication.

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