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Hoops Rumors Community Shootaround 9/16/15

On Tuesday, Hoops Rumors’ Chuck Myron ran down the list of the longest-tenured primary executives around the NBA. Around the league, head coaches are usually the first ones to shoulder the blame when a season goes awry, sometimes unfairly so, especially given that most NBA coaches aren’t directly involved with the construction of their teams’ rosters. That burden falls to each team’s primary basketball executive, be he a GM, team president, or president of basketball operations. Regardless of their title, these are the men who are tasked with putting together the best roster that they possibly can, and they have to do so within the bounds of the salary cap.

It’s certainly a difficult job, and one that garners constant criticism and scrutiny, not only from the fanbase, but the owners and shareholders as well. While the turnover rate among front office personnel isn’t quite as high as those who represent the coaching ranks, it’s not a job where most executives can expect a multi-decade run with the same franchise. Turnover is inevitable, which segues perfectly into the topic of the day: Who do you predict will be the next primary team executive to be fired?

For convenience, and with a big thanks to Chuck for compiling, here’s the current list of primary front office executives arranged by tenure:

  1. Pat Riley, Heat: September 1995
  2. Mitch Kupchak, Lakers: August 2000
  3. R.C. Buford, Spurs: July 2002
  4. Danny Ainge, Celtics: May 2003
  5. Ernie Grunfeld, Wizards: June 2003
  6. Donnie Nelson, Mavericks: June 2005
  7. Daryl Morey, Rockets: May 2007
  8. Sam Presti, Thunder: June 2007
  9. John Hammond, Bucks: April 2008
  10. Gar Forman, Bulls: May 2009
  11. Billy King, Nets: July 2010
  12. Dell Demps, Pelicans: July 2010
  13. Rich Cho, Hornets: June 2011
  14. Bob Myers, Warriors: April 2012
  15. Neil Olshey, Trail Blazers: June 2012
  16. Rob Hennigan, Magic: June 2012
  17. Dennis Lindsey, Jazz: August 2012
  18. Ryan McDonough, Suns: May 2013
  19. Sam Hinkie, Sixers: May 2013
  20. Masai Ujiri, Raptors: May 2013
  21. Tim Connelly, Nuggets: June 2013
  22. Doc Rivers, Clippers: June 2013
  23. Larry Bird, Pacers: June 2013 (returned to organization)
  24. David Griffin, Cavaliers: February 2014
  25. Phil Jackson, Knicks: March 2014
  26. Stan Van Gundy, Pistons: May 2014
  27. Chris Wallace, Grizzlies: May 2014 (returned to power)
  28. Mike Budenholzer, Hawks: September 2014
  29. Vlade Divac, Kings: March 2015
  30. Milt Newton, Timberwolves: September 2015 (interim)

Take to the comments section below to share your thoughts and opinions on the subject. We look forward to what you have to say.

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9 thoughts on “Hoops Rumors Community Shootaround 9/16/15

  1. Chuck Myron

    A lot of these guys seem to have pretty strong job security. There was some uncertainty surrounding Dell Demps this spring, but with that team on the upswing, it would be tough to see him going anywhere soon. The Hornets seem to be stuck in the mud, and if there are questions about Steve Clifford, it would only seem fair that there would be questions about Rich Cho, too.

  2. I’m leaning towards Hinkie. You can only tank for so long before you have to show results and I personally think that that trading MCW and drafting embiid could be his downfall. But he did have a decent off season with okafor and the Stuaskas trade.

    • Jacob Jackson

      I would be sad to see Hinkie go. To his credit, he’s doing something outside the box, and avoiding the treadmill of mediocrity. He’s opened himself up to criticism that he wouldn’t get if he simply kept the team mediocre…but I’d argue he’s closer to a championship contender than the Knicks, the Kings, Timberwolves, Nuggets, Nets, or Lakers. That’s fully one-fifth of the league.

      I’m surprised Mitch Kupchak is considered so safe. But perhaps it’s hard to untangle the Buss family’s decisions from Kupchak’s. Did the Buss family give Kobe that ridiculous extension, or did Kupchak? Was Byron Scott Kupchak’s hire, or the Buss family’s?

      I find it troubling that Kupchak himself has said publicly a few year ago that, as a team policy, they intentionally avoid all restricted FAs. That’s basically committing yourself exclusively to FAs that are typically past their physical prime.

      Then you look at the guys they chase in free agency or via trade each year, and they aren’t the best players to surround Kobe with:

      Kobe wants to operate with the ball for a long time around the elbows and yet their big-fish FA target is LaMarcus Aldridge who…wants to operate with the ball for a long time around the elbows.

      Kobe is the most maniacally competitive star in the NBA and yet you pair him with…an immature center who makes fart jokes and doesn’t like criticism (Dwight).

      I just don’t see any creativity out of this front office. Far more creative this offseason would’ve been to throw a max offer at Kris Middleton or Draymond Green on Day 1 of FA – versatile players who provide some floor spacing and are on the upswing of their careers, instead of at the end of their peak or trending downward. Instead, those guys re-signed with their own teams for less than the max.

      I think he’s lasted 15 years as the Lakers GM because of his history as a player and because they’ve won titles…but those titles were won with Kobe, Shaq, and the remnants of the Shaq trade – which they don’t really deserve credit for, because Shaq was only traded because he made it impossible to keep him.

      • rxbrgr

        I find crediting him for avoiding the treadmill of mediocrity a compliment when he’s chosen instead to ride the treadmill of complete ineptitude and awfulness. He’s still got a long way to find a franchise player (his whole team is still unproven at this point), so that’s why I see them at the same level as those five teams you listed, if not still below.

      • aarongill

        Buss makes all the stupid decisions like trading for Nash hiring dantoni. Kupcheack is a very good gm being held back a bit from stupid buss

      • Chris Crouse

        I’m not sure the Sixers are closer to a championship than any of those teams. They have a few nice pieces, but I’d rather have almost any other roster. That being said, I think Hinkie gets at least two more seasons. One more year of adding a top-5 pick and then a year to see if the team improves(to a 30 win squad).

        Phila doesn’t want admit it to the fans, but this is a 7-8 year project before they have a shot at becoming championship contenders. Hinkie understands this and he probably have one of the longest leashes in the NBA.

  3. rxbrgr

    I’m going with the second-shortest tenured GM on the list. As beloved as Divac may be as a former King, I think the unpredictability and irrational expectations of their new owner has him on an always tenuously hot seat.

  4. Josh

    Mitch has to be on the hot seat. No team has more pressure to win than the Lakers. They can only be crap for so long before the best franchise must change regimes to get back to where they need to be.

  5. Gucci7383

    Billy king. There has been rumors the nets maybe for owners could mean new front office. Seems like the franchise is stuck in neutral and could use a new voice

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