Are we in the final days of the McHale era? Anyone who has even casually observed the situation would think so but we’re talking about a guy who has survived more trials than most executives are allowed to endure. Some liken him to a cockroach that just won’t die. Some think that’s too insulting to cockroaches. I’m on record as saying I don’t think he is as bad as is often made out to be. I understand the frustration for losing has to go somewhere and the very nature of his job means he takes the brunt of that frustration from the media and fanbase. But if I’m being fair, I’ll admit that he has taken a lot of Heat for things that are out of his control. That being said, I think he should be fired yesterday. In case we are in the final throws of Mac’s reign, I tried, as objectively as possible, to formulate a list of both his sins and successes, as well as those things he just couldn’t control. This is my opinion, of course, so feel free to add things I forgot in the comments below or challenge one of my rulings.
- Drafted Kevin Garnett
- Hired Flip Saunders out of relative obscurity
- Traded Donyell Marshall for Tom Gugliotta
- Traded for Stephon Marbury, which despite giving up Ray Allen was a good trade at the time
- Parlayed an openly disgruntled Marbury into Terrell Brandon, and the team became much better as a result
- Drafted Wally Szczerbiak, who had several good seasons, including one as an All-Star, before breaking down
- Aggressive 03-04 offseason, in which Wolves acquired Sam Cassell, Latrell Sprewell, Fred Hoiberg, Trenton Hassell and others en route to Western Conference Finals
- Acquired a future star in Al Jefferson and other assets in Garnett trade, a rare feat in today’s climate of pure salary dumping
- Traded OJ Mayo for Kevin Love, Mike Miller and salary cap relief
- Partially made up for past debacles by acquiring future draft picks (Boston, Miami, Utah, Philadelphia, Houston) and young talent (Rodney Carney) for old hacks and bad contracts (Marko Jaric, Antoine Walker, Mark Blount, Ricky Davis, Gerald Green, Greg Buckner)
- Recently re-signed role players Ryan Gomes, Sebastian Telfair and Craig Smith for contracts low in money, years and risk, setting the team up to be one of the few financially unrestrained teams in the league
- The Joe Smith Fiasco. This one is epic.
- Drafted Ndudi Ebi, Paul Grant, Will Avery in the first round
- Fired Flip Saunders after his first subpar half-season in 10 years
- Panicked and traded Sam Cassell and a first round pick for Marko Jaric, then extended Jaric’s contract for a ridiculous amount of money
- Foolishly allowed Garnett to play GM on occasion, which led to friends of KG, Trenton Hassell, Troy Hudson and Joe Smith, being re-signed to lengthy and undeserving deals
- Signed Mike James to big contract out of desperation to accommodate aging Garnett
- Traded Brandon Roy for Randy Foye
- Failure to ever put a long-term star player next to Garnett, despite obvious need for it.
- Traded the second round draft pick that eventually became Mario Chalmers during the draft but long before the pick was even made, An irresponsible act considering it was evident decent players were falling
- Typically treated second round picks like a waste of time, rarely took them seriously (ie. Rick Rickert)
- Never really embraced the job, always fronted a nonchalant “I’d rather be fishing” attitude, which is sort of funny when the team is winning and flat out infuriating when the team struggles
- Built consistent playoff teams but never, in over a decade at the helm, a team that made a sustained run at a title. This fact is the most damning and the one least subject to opinion.
The Not His Fault But He Still Eats The Blame For the Fallout
- Michael Williams’ multitude of degenerative injuries that led to him playing in 35 games over the span of four seasons and his eventual retirement
- Stephon Marbury’s exploding ego and desire for better night life
- Glen Taylor’s tight wallet and basketball philosophy that would be better suited for the 1980s.
- Wally Szczerbiak’s chronic foot problems, which made him go from slow to slower
- Terrell Brandon’s career ending knee injury, a season after they let Chauncey Billups walk because Brandon was their guy
- Malik Sealy’s death in car crash
- Sam Cassell had one good season and thought he deserved Steve Nash money before his contract was even up, then intentionally sabotaged the team through uninspired play in order to prove a point
- Latrell Sprewell’s need to feed his family...really well
- Fred Hoiberg’s defective heart forced retirement
- Three lottery picks in a row (Rashad McCants, Randy Foye and Corey Brewer) suffering full season, or close to it, injuries in their developmentally key second NBA season
- Lack of luck. In addition to the injuries this franchise has never, in its many attempts, landed a top 2 pick in the draft. Building a contender is a lot easier if a LeBron James or Dwight Howard or Kevin Durant or Derrick Rose falls into your lap.
- Glen Taylor’s refusal to fire him. Was he supposed to off himself?