Need to trade an old. broken down player for more than he’s worth? Call Billy King!Photo Credit: Philly.com
The trade deadline has come and passed with little to no action, which seems to be the norm now. Even for a fan like me who learned the hard way never to put too much hope in the proceedings, that was a bitter disappointment. Maybe GMs are just learning to be smart, but there are some pretty bad guys in the league responsible for their teams well-being. Here are the five worst GMs in the league who pull the strings in the NBA.
5- Kevin O’Connor- Utah Jazz
Yes, those Andrei Kirilenko-led teams were fun. Yes, the Deron Williams-Carlos Boozer led teams overachieved, and yes, O’Connor got the best he could from the Deron Williams situation, but let’s just take a look at this guy’s draft history.
Could Have Been
Raul Lopez (24th)
Tony Parker, Mehmet Okur, Gilbert Arenas, Gerald Wallace
Sasha Pavlovic (19th)
Josh Howard, Leandro Barbosa, Boris Diaw, Steve Blake
Kirk Snyder (16th)
Josh Smith, Kevin Martin, Anderson Varejao
Ronnie Brewer (14th)
Rajon Rondo, Kyle Lowry
Gordon Hayward (9th)
Look, I am always in the opinion that the draft is a crapshoot; you can put together a list like this for almost every NBA GM ever. But look at the guys O’Connor drafted, apart from Hayward no one on that list has been a passable NBA player. The only people that remember those four guys playing in the NBA are themselves and their mothers.
Additionally, he totally screwed up last year’s gameplan when he held onto Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson to the bitter end, never getting anything of value for their expiring contracts for a team which couldn’t even make the playoffs.
4- John Hammond- Milwaukee Bucks
Here is what this guy did:
-Selected forward Joe Alexander in the 2008 Draft (8th overall pick) the guys selected after Joe Alexander? Brook Lopez, Ryan Anderson, Roy Hibbert, Serge Ibaka and Nicolas Batum, to name a few. Even the 60th pick Semih Erden had a better NBA career, or maybe not.
-Traded forward Stephen Jackson and center Andrew Bogut to the Golden State Warriors for guard Monta Ellis and forwards Ekpe Udoh and Kwame Brown.
It is always a red flag when you get Kwame Brown in a trade but man, were the Bucks robbed. While Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings fought over shots at Milwaukee; Bogut still anchors a top 10 defense in the league. By the way has anybody seen Ekpe Udoh? Anyone?
-Traded guards Beno Udrih and Doron Lamb, forward Tobias Harris and cash to the Orlando Magic for guards JJ Redick and Ishmael Smith and center Gustavo Ayon.
Yes, the same Redick who fled out of Milwaukee at the first chance he got.
- Signed Gary Neal, OJ Mayo and Zaza Pachulia
What do you do when you have cap space? You sign Neal, a gunner with no conscience to jack up all the shots ever (this could actually apply to both Mayo and Neal, to make matters worse.), Mayo, a guard who couldn’t average four assists with Dirk Nowitzki on his team, and Pachulia, a backup center, to an eight million dollar contract while you have Larry Sanders and John Henson.
To Hammond’s credit though, he has always been a solid drafter, selecting guys like Luke Mbah a Moute the Prince (37th), Brandon Jennings (10th), Jodie Meeks (41st), Larry Sanders (15th), John Henson (14th) and the guy with the greatest name in the history of the NBA: Tiny Gallon (47th)
3- Joe Dumars- Detroit Pistons
Dumars, the mind behind the improbable 2004 NBA champions Detroit Pistons, has had the Pistons in a downhill spiral ever since. From trading away Chauncey Billups away for a past-his-prime Allen Iverson, selecting Darko Milicic with the 2nd pick in one of the greatest drafts in the NBA history, to signing Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva to extravagant deals, he had to endure a lot of criticism for his many decisions.
Dumars still has a job due to building a champion and his nice reputation around the league. But for the Pistons fans, the tipping point might have been signing Josh Smith while the team had one of the better 4s in the game in Greg Monroe and the sophomore sensation Andre Drummond. The lesson as always: Never trust Dumars with cap space. Never.
2- Ernie Grunfeld- Washington Wizards
Grunfeld’s claim to fame is being the guy who built the team with the lowest IQ in the history of the NBA. Signing Andray Blatche and Javale McGee to gigantic contracts, never handling the Gilbert Arenas situation well and always selecting the worst coaches available, Grunfeld also has always been a notoriously bad drafter. Here are some members of Grunfeld’s draft hall of fame: Jason Collier (15th overall pick in 2000), Marcus Haislip (13th overall pick in 2002), TJ Ford (8th overall pick in 2003), Oleksiy Pecherov (18th overall pick in 2006), Jan Vesely (6th overall pick in 2011), Otto Porter (3rd overall pick in 2013). If you are a Wizards fan, read that list again and bang your head against the wall, no one will judge you.
Also, Grunfeld traded the 5th overall pick in 2009 for Mike Miller and Randy Foye. No, seriously. The 5th pick. The pick ended up being Ricky Rubio, but some notable players Grunfeld could have picked (but probably wouldn’t if you read the list above): Stephen Curry, DeMar DeRozan, Ty Lawson (went by Tywon Lawson back then), Jrue Holiday, even Taj Gibson, which begs the question: How does this guy still have a job?
1- Billy King- Brooklyn Nets
A multi-billionaire Russian owner, a state of art arena, the city of New York, and lots of dollars means success in the NBA, right? Not if you put your trust in Billy King for building a championship caliber team. While Joe Johnson was an amnesty candidate for the Hawks, King gave the Hawks two picks to trade for his horrendous contract. While Danny Ainge dangled the broken-down bodies of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce all summer and finding no suitors, King gave them four picks. Not a misprint. Now with a payroll of $102,032,548 and facing a brutal elimination in the hands of either the Pacers or the Heat this team has no future to speak of. Their 2nd best player might be Shaun Livingston. Read that sentence again.
By: Aras Bayram- Pass the Pill Contributor