Inept, clueless and idiotic – these are just a few words to describe the ‘work’ of the NBA GMs listed below.
How these guys keep their jobs, I do not know (cronyism?).
Ernie Grunfeld – Washington Generals, er, Wizards
Make no mistake, Ernie Grunfeld is responsible for this mess. He signed Gilbert Arenas to a $111 million extension on the back of two knee surgeries (now the corpse of Rashard Lewis); he gave known headcase Andray Blatche a $35 million contract; he traded the fifth pick in the 2009 draft, which turned into Ricky Rubio, for a packet of crisps (Mike Miller and Randy Foye); and he drafted all these lunatics that litter the roster.
They’re a knucklehead team, they have been for years and they stand no chance of succeeding until they overhaul the roster. And as far as I can see, Grunfeld has done nothing except sit on his hands and hope for the best.
In the offseason they should have amnesty’d Blatche, shopped McGee (though not necessarily to trade him, but to gauge his value) and sent Flip Saunders packing for a coach with balls. And why didn’t they target some high-character, team-first guys in free agency like Arron Afflalo or Luc Richard Mbah a Moute? I am not saying they would have turned this team around, but it would have been a start to adding the right mix of people around John Wall, instead deadbeats like Blatche, McGee and Young.
This team needs a culture change in the worst possible way, and they can start by kicking Ernie Grunfeld to the curb. And how the hell does he keep landing NBA jobs anyway?
Larry Riley – Golden State Warriors
I don’t know about you, but I view the Warriors as somewhat of a joke. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike them, in fact they are one of my favourite teams. But year after year the product they put on the floor tells me they have no idea how to build a successful basketball team.
If the Golden State Warriors want to turn this thing around and build the type of powerhouse club they keep touting, they’ll need to take a few steps back and do it the ‘Oklahoma City’ way (i.e. tear it down and rebuild with high draft picks). Because the proof’s in the pudding; big-name free agents just aren’t going to go there.
Unfortunately, they seem completely unwilling to do this. And why, I do not know. It’s not like they’re sitting on something special here. They do have a great young player (albeit injury-prone) in Steph Curry and a nice prospect in Klay Thompson, but the rest leaves a lot to be desired. I see a team with questionable depth, no credible front line, ill-fitting parts and overpaid players that are being asked to produce more than they’re capable of. As an absolute best-case scenario you’re probably looking at a first-round and out playoff team (I am being generous). But that’s if everything breaks right, assuming no injuries etc. So why bother?
And let’s be real on Monta Ellis; so long as he runs the team they’re not going anywhere. He would be the second, or more likely third most important player on a championship-level team.
Larry Riley is not solely to blame here (I am looking at you Chris Cohan (previous owner)), but he has been at the helm for the last three years so he’s got to take the hit. And with clangers on his resume such as drafting Udoh over Monroe, giving David Lee $80 million and deciding not to amnesty Biedrins, I’d be surprised if anyone (sane) backed the guy.
And now they’re trotting out Nate Robinson, who nobody wants (for good reason, he’s a knucklehead), as the saviour? If they believe that, it’s grimmer than I thought.
Otis Smith – Orlando Magic
This Magic squad looks eerily similar to the old LeBron James Cleveland Cavaliers. That is, take LeBron/Dwight off the team, and what you’re left with is a 20-win ball club that’s littered with overpaid role players and no potential for the future. They’re a capped-out, flawed basketball team that will be exposed in the playoffs (outside of Howard no one can reliably create their own shot, and they don’t have a ‘closer’), and Otis Smith’s poor decisions and habit of grossly overpaying is the principle reason why.
In 2007 he gave Rashard Lewis an outrageous six-year, $118 million contract. In 2010 he gave Chris Duhon four-years and $15 million, and re-acquired Turkoglu and his albatross contract. In 2011 he traded Rashard Lewis for Gilbert Arenas (who was subsequently amnesty’d and given $62 million to go away), and this offseason he outbid himself on Big Baby Davis (four-years, $26 million) and Jason Richardson (four-years, $25 million).
So, not only has he screwed them in the now by failing to acquire the right mix of talent and maintain a flexible roster, which has effectively cost them Dwight Howard, but with the Davis and Richardson signings (and re-acquiring Turkoglu) he’s essentially screwed them in the future as well. Clearly, a forward thinker Otis Smith is not.
But, as big a mess as he’s made of this thing he can still salvage it – although it appears he won’t. Trade Dwight Howard for young studs and draft picks (like New Orleans received from the Clippers) and start the process of rebuilding the club. He can also insist that Turkoglu be apart of the deal, which would further aide the transition. But taking back a fringe All-Star and role players for Howard, which he’s indicated is the preferred option, will only put lipstick on this floundering pig.
My advice – Smith’s head should roll before he completely runs this organisation into the ground.
Joe Dumars – Detroit Pistons
Speaking of running an organisation into the ground, let’s take a look at Joe Dumars.
The perplexing thing about Joe is that he has shown (a long time ago mind you) that he can make brilliant, franchise-changing decisions. However, his most recent work is, shall we put it, horrendous.
The Gordon and Villanueva free agent signings in 2009, giving Arron Afflalo away for nothing, extending Rip Hamilton (a year and a half out from when his contract expired), the numerous odd coaching hires, and now re-signing Prince at $7 million per, were just unforgivable decisions.
And the frustrating thing is, the Pistons actually have a nice nucleus of young players to go forward with in Monroe, Knight, Jerebko and Daye. But Joe continually sabotages the transition by locking in veterans to bad contracts.
Their 2004 NBA Championship was tremendous and Joe certainly had a huge hand in that, but let’s be realistic here; it’s 2012 and he’s buried this franchise (just look at their appalling home attendance). They need a change of direction, and fast.
David Kahn – Minnesota Timberwolves
David Kahn has done a little bit of good (clearing cap space and hiring Adelman) but a whole lot of bad for the Minnesota Timberwolves.
With the recent upswing he’s getting a pass, but that’s ignoring the facts.
In Love, Rubio and Williams they have a brilliant nucleus to build around, but Kahn didn’t craft it. In Rubio and Williams, he just didn’t screw it up.
Ricky Rubio fell into their lap with the fifth pick in the 2009 draft (which granted, Kahn did acquire through trade), and they landed Derrick Williams with the second pick last year in what was widely regarded as a two-man draft. And Kevin Love originates from the McHale era.
Let’s take a look at some of the judgement calls Kahn has made. He drafted bust Johnny Flynn with the sixth pick in the 2009 draft, immediately after selecting Rubio. Setting aside the fact how ridiculous it was to draft two point guards in the top 6, and then run his mouth on how great they could be together (in the triangle??), in that draft he also passed on Curry, Jennings, DeRozan, Holiday and Lawson.
In 2010 he drafted Wes Johnson, another bust (he’s strangely passive) and another duplication of talent. He passed on Monroe and Cousins, despite the T-Wolves having no legitimite center.
Some will laud him for the Beasley and Randolph pickups, but the fact is there’s a reason why their teams gave them away for nothing – they do more harm than good and neither has a clue how to play unselfish team basketball. And his inability to turn these ill-fitting spare parts into something they desperately need (big men), is what’s kept them in the cellar.
And I haven’t even mentioned the silly Darko Milicic contract, the money he keeps dolling out to backup point guards, and the dog’s breakfast he made of the Kurt Rambis firing last year (he should have never hired him in the first place).
Let’s just say for arguments sake that they didn’t fluff the 09 and 10 draft, and instead selected Steph Curry and Greg Monroe. Under this scenario you would now be talking about Minnesota in the same breath as Oklahoma City. And after so many years of being screwed by incompetence, that’s what these fans deserve.
This con man is not up for the job, plain and simple.
Bryan Colangelo – Toronto Raptors
Can you believe he got an extension last year? This is cronyism at its best (or worst, whichever way you want to look at it).
Bryan Colangelo has absolutely butchered the Raptors. In the last few years he’s given $50 million to Bargnani, $40 million to Calderon, $19 million to Kleiza, $53 million to Turkoglu, and $34 million to Johnson. Yikes. And he lost Chris Bosh for nothing.
Sure, he did some good things for Phoenix back in the day, but should that guarantee him a lifetime job?
I don’t care for his surname; he’s dropped the ball big time in Toronto, so get him out.