Blog Entry

Five GMs that could be the next to get the axe

Posted on: July 14, 2010 12:48 am
Edited on: July 14, 2010 1:03 am
Posted by Royce Young

Being in charge of a roster in any sport isn't as easy as us fans like to think it is. We have the ever-helpful tool of hindsight and we definitely use it every available opportunity.

And while GMs are often given time to develop their roster "vision" and plan, that doesn't mean they get forever, especially if the team stinks. Even if the plan is perfect, if the on-field or on-court results don't yield positivity, the chances of receiving a letter with the black spot on it increase exponentially. Ken Berger illustrates the ripple effect of firing a GM quite well in reference to the most recent dismissal, the Hornets' Jeff Bower.

So with four NBA general managers already being relieved of their duty this offseason, the obvious question is, who could be next? Who's on the hot seat and just how warm is it? Let's look at five captains that currently have warm backsides.

David Kahn, Minnesota Timberwolves

For whatever reason, I just feel like Kahn has some sort of trick up his sleeve. Surely these moves aren't really this nonsensical. Surely he has some sort of coherent plan, some kind of method to this madness. However, nothing indicates such a thing thus far.

With Tuesday's trade of former franchise man Al Jefferson to Utah for some draft picks and the rumored signing of a fourth point guard, Kahn's current reputation is nothing more than poster boy for clueless general managers. When writers are wondering if an avocado might make a better GM than you , that could be a warning that your seat is about to light on fire.

Donnie Walsh, New York Knicks

The pressure in New York is always higher. And plus when you campaign for a job behind the promise of luring LeBron James and then don't come through on that, things can tend to get a little dicey. But Walsh appears to have a quality plan. He's secured some cap space that will come in handy over the next few seasons when players like Carmelo Anthony become available.

However with the large signing of Amare Stoudemire and the overall deconstruction of the roster in order to build a winner through big signings, if Mike D'Antoni and crew don't deliver, Walsh may be putting his resume on CareerBuilder or actual might be retiring.

Joe Dumars, Detroit Pistons
Dumars was once considered one of the best and brighest in the GMs in the game. And then Allen Iverson happened. A trade that sent fan favorite and champion Chauncey Billups to Denver for a washing-but-not-quite-washed-up AI is what sent Dumars' into a tailspin. It was a bold move which I can definitely respect in a league where bold moves often don't happen, but simply put, it crashed and burned. Dumars then gave Richard Hamilton a curiously large extension, inked Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva for too much money and hired and fired a coach within a calendar year.

This year is big for Dumars. The Pistons landed a potentially excellent big man in Greg Monroe in the draft, plus have some promising young players like Jonas Jerebko and Rodney Stuckey. But Detroit isn't the type of town that handles being in the lottery multiple years very well. Sure Dumars brought home the big trophy in 2004, but in a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately league, Dumars' teams haven't done a lot lately.

Ernie Grunfeld, Washington Wizards
Yep, Grunfeld was gifted John Wall. And yep, Wall could potentially save a lot of people's jobs because he's really, really good. But the thing is, when you land a talent of Wall's caliber, the pressure immediately shifts to the GM. He's got to supply his new, shiny toy complementing pieces to make sure he succeeds. And so far, the jury's out as to if Grunfeld is doing that.

He's obviously trying to move Gilbert Arenas and his albatross of a contract to better make room for Wall. He brought in Kirk Hinrich who could be an excellent player next to Wall. He also grabbed Yi Jianlian from New Jersey. But the team doesn't figure to be a whole lot better this upcoming season and with some expectation in Wall, if he doesn't develop, it could the end for Grunfeld.

Ed Stefanski, Philadelphia 76ers
Why Stefanski? Elton Brand. Elton Brand says it all. When you ink a player to a huge deal and then one year later are publically shopping that player to unload what everyone agrees is a "bad contract" that means you probably screwed the pooch. And when that contract will likely haunt the franchise for multiple years, then you really know it was bad. And of course the hiring of Eddie Jordan only to fire him months later definitely doesn't look great. Strike one and two.

The 76ers haven't been a truly relevant contender since 2003. And it's not like the 76ers don't have talent. There's just no cohesion to the roster in general. Andre Iguodala is a quality player, but he's clearly not a leading man. You can't fault Stefanski for trying though. He drastically overpaid for Brand, but that's because he thought he was a piece away. Though there's certainly honor in that, that stuff doesn't matter to a frustrated fanbase. Landing the second overall pick and Evan Turner could be huge for Stefanski but if Turner and the team comes along slowly, that could be strike three.


Since: Nov 30, 2007
Posted on: July 14, 2010 1:05 pm

Five GMs that could be the next to get the axe

Larry Bird should really be on this list.   The Golden State trade that brought over Murphy and Dunleavy, torpedoing Jermaine O'Neal's already weak trade value by waiting so long to trade him when everyone knew it was coming, hiring Jim O'Brien who wants his players to do nothing but shoot 3's, passing on a PG in the draft for the past 3-4 years, only to finally realize this year what everyone else knows:  YOUR TEAM NEEDS A PG!  Well thanks for announcing it to the media, Larry, because that will sure help you get one on the cheap (sarcasm).  Shawne Williams over Rajon Rondo, are you kidding me Bird?  When you took Granger the year before, what possible need could Williams have filled, even if he hadn't been arrested a billion times.  Bird is every much the joke that Kahn is, he's just given a longer leash by the ownership and media because he was such an iconic player (and pretty good coach too).

Since: Jul 14, 2010
Posted on: July 14, 2010 12:16 pm

It was actually well known in the Detroit area

That Hammond had little power in anything. He was not the creator of the team like many delusional fans like to make it out to be. Didn't the bucks just give 6.4 mil a year to Drew Gooden and 8 mil a year to Salmons? Those guys aren't young and he is basically accepting mediocrity there. I don't fear a lineup that's max will maybe be the second round. A Healthy Charlie Villanueva, who was a 24 year old 6-11 big man is certainly worth more than Drew Gooden who Hammond almost paid the same amount....come on now the Bucks are a joke of a franchise and will be back below the pistons if teh pistons can just have a healthy roster this time around

Since: Nov 1, 2006
Posted on: July 14, 2010 10:46 am

Five GMs that could be the next to get the axe

The reason Dumars looked so good was because a guy named Hammonds (NBA Executive of the Year) was there to do the research and advise him of what were good deals and bad deals.  Hammond takes a pass on Charlie Villeneuva and the Pistons hand him the bank.  Dumars and HAMMONDS built a contender in Detroit with smart longer term contracts that were also economical.  Hammonds is now plying his trade in Milwaukee and in just 2 short years helped turn the Bucks into a team that is on the rise.  Feer the Deer.

Since: Jul 14, 2010
Posted on: July 14, 2010 1:49 am

Ridiculous that Dumars is on this list

Look at the four other GM's on this list with the teams they represent. Does it not strike anyone as distasteful to see a general manager who had his team in the playoffs for virtually the entire decade on a list of guys who could get the axe? Many GM's get three or four years to rebuild and then even a trip to the playoffs is enough to keep their jobs. Joe Dumars had the pistons in 6 straight Eastern Conference finals and even as recent as 2008-2009 they were in the playoffs( Yes last year was the first year the pistons didn't make the playoffs since 2001). It's ridiculous and I cannot express enough how ignorant fans and media members are when they say that Joe Dumars should be fired after on year of not making the playoffs. Guys like John Paxson have been around for a long time and have had nothing to show for it. Danny Ferry? The guy had his owners paying 20 million a year to the league becaus they were always in the luxury tax..Dumars has never been there. He managed to win every year while being at the cap....incredibly impressive and virtually unheard of. This guy has no business being on this list....its absurd

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