Bum o' the Month

The guy who's responsible for assembling the Trail Blazers' roster, Neil Olshey, faced the media today to discuss the team's lackluster performance in four out of the last five years' playoffs, including the debacle that concluded last week. He made one thing perfectly clear: The failures, year after miserable year, are not his fault.

Olshey has his job because he knew how to humor Paul Allen, the team owner who insisted on injecting his own crazy ideas into roster decision-making, always with disastrous results. But Allen is deceased, and the team is now owned by his sister, who knows and cares a lot less than he did about sports. To her the Blazers are probably just a group of dollar figures on a spreadsheet, along with many other dollar figures representing odd and unfamiliar property.

A sizable segment of the fan base, and particularly the sports writer John Canzano, are calling for Olshey's head. I tend to agree with them, but an uninformed owner like Jody Allen would have to be quite daring to make a move like firing him.

Danny Ainge may be available for Olshey's position, I think. Ainge just parted ways with the Boston Celtics. He's an Oregon sports hall-of-famer and a former Blazer. You'd think he'd make a fine general manager in Portland. But I'd be surprised if anything like that ever happened. The most reasonable expectation is continued mediocrity. 

Unhappy Blazer fans ought to be more concerned about keeping the team in Portland. Allen made a personal commitment to have the team stay here for a number of years, but I believe that agreement runs out sometime in the next four or five years, and his guarantee won't be renewed. There is no local money to buy the team and keep it in Portland. It could be in Seattle or Vegas or who-knows-where by the end of the decade. It's all up to Jody.


  1. Name me a small-market team that has won anything. San Antonio is the only one I can think of and that was mostly pure luck when David Robinson got hurt so they got to pick Tim Duncan the next season. The next coach will either be a retread or an assistant wannabe. Danny Ainge has made some nice trades and draft picks, but has also made some bad ones. This is a player's league and the best players are full of themselves and want all the bling that goes with big cities and big money.


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