By Jeff Siegel
Neil Olshey was promoted to General Manager of the Los Angeles Clippers in March 2010 after a particularly ugly split between the team and Mike Dunleavy, who had previously been serving as both the team’s head coach and GM. Dunleavy brought in Olshey at the beginning of his Clippers tenure and moved him all over the organization, from assistant coach to assistant general manager, before Olshey was elevated to take over the reins. In the intervening two years and three months before he was hired by the Portland Trail Blazers, Olshey flexed his muscles in multiple ways, from taking care of the young core he inherited to pulling off one of the great trades in NBA history.
At the time, the Clippers were long thought to be nothing more than cannon fodder for the other teams in the league: a small speed bump encountered on the way in or out of Staples Center to play the Lakers, the real team in Los Angeles. Olshey played a starring role in changing that perception, from drafting DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin in his time as assistant general manager to acquiring Chris Paul. This series of transactions (combined with Donald Sterling being ousted as owner later in the decade) set the foundation for the Clippers to move out of the shadow of the Lakers and firmly establish themselves as a consistent playoff contender and one of the most valuable clubs in the league....