A tale of Two GMs or a Tale of Two O'Neal
This retrospective has nothing to do with current events, but carries on with my morbid fascination about might-have-beens regarding the pieces of the magical 7SOL era. While I constantly follow Mike D'Antoni and Shawn Marion, this post is about former Suns GM Bryan Colangelo, who I actually harbor much internal appreciation for.
By comparison, to some fans, GM Steve Kerr will always be the moron that blew up 7SOL in favor of championship calibre uber phail. Kerr came sweeping into the Suns and snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, single-handedly crippling the magic of the Phoenix Suns masterpiece put in place by none other than two-time executive of the year and former GM Bryan Colangelo. Some people wish BC was still running the Phoenix Suns.
Here's a tale of two GMs. Or two O'Neal. Who's the bigger moron?
|Details||GM Steve Kerr||GM #2
|Traded For||S. O'Neal||J. O'Neal
|Traded away||Shawn Marion, Marcus Banks (MB addition by subtraction)||TJ Ford, first round #17 2008 NBA Draft (Roy Hibbert), 11 million in expiring contracts|
|Player performance (2008-09)||17.8ppg, 61.1% eFG, 8.4 rpg, 30mpg, +4 +/-||13.5ppg, 47.3% eFG, 7.0rpg, 30mpg, -2 +/-
||57%, 63-47 (110 games)||36%, 15-26 (41 games)
|Past Performance||70%, 38-16 (first 54 games 2008-09)||50%, 41-41 (2008-09)
||Luxury tax savings ($11MMx2)||Shawn Marion, Marcus Banks (Marion converted into $$$, MB subtraction by addition), $3 million cash
|Traded away||Poor pick'n'roll defense, personality, high percentage offense||J. O'Neal, Jamario Moon, lottery-protected first-rounder, $4.2 million trade exception|
To summarize, although the Suns topped the division at the time of the trade, the balance of power in the Western Conference changed radically with "The Gift of Gasol". There was no way the Suns, as comprised in March 2008 was going to make a title run against the new Lakers. Shaq was a big gamble for glory. Although it failed, we were going to lose Marion anyway, so it cost us some playoff series and some luxury tax money, but it did not cost us much more long-term.
In contrast, GM #2 (Bryan Colangelo) burned up two first round draft picks, traded away both TJ Ford and Jamario Moon, traded away $11 million in expiring contracts, took on the Suns declining players and the albatross of Marcus Banks all for the opportunity to have an injured, overpaid big that failed to perform. At best, this was a copycat style move that was as bad as the Shaq trade and probably much worse. The only positive commendation is that BC spared no expense in getting out of the bad trade in great haste. He only put up with Jermaine O'Neal for 41 games.
Shamsports summarizes the Colangelo regime in Toronto here best:
Do you know what the most annoying thing in the world is? It's Toronto Raptors fans when talking about Bryan Colangelo. By miles. There is nothing more annoying in the world than this. Nothing. Not a sausage. Not even scrotal crabs or Ron Artest's Twitter account are more potently insufferable than listening to Raptors fans drool on about Colangelo as being some kind of flawless freak of genius, who transcends general managerial conventions to achieve an unparalleled plateau of superlativityness. They make me advocate chemical warfare. It's intolerable.
So let's use some perspective on that, shall we? Colangelo inherited a 27 win team with Chris Bosh, Jose Calderon, max cap room and the #1 overall pick. He didn't earn those things; he already had them when he got there. Three years later, the Raptors had Chris Bosh, Jose Calderon, their balls grazed against the tax threshold.....and all of 33 wins. That is not. Good. Sure, they won the Atlantic division title the year before, but there's a reason they went so far backwards, and that reason was Colangelo's dire 2008 offseason.
All that, and in the Eastern Conference.