Right now would be a fun time to be a General Manager in the NBA. Higher salary cap, talented rookie class, and even more established players around the league. When thinking about running a team from just a pure fan perspective, this sounds like the best job ever. You know, not the sleepless nights, time away from family, and constant criticism, but the chance to make a blockbuster trade or huge pick-up in free agency to form a dynasty like no other. With these things in mind, let me tell you the top 5 GMs I would want to be.
5. Boston Celtics
Danny Ainge made arguably the best trade in history by sending Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to the Brooklyn Nets. While Pierce and Garnett’s skill-set immediately declined and the Nets became one of the worst teams in the NBA, the Celtics were reaping the benefits of obtaining their lottery picks in the draft. It was highway robbery. The Celtics is currently one of the deepest teams in the NBA in a sports city that isn’t too hard to attract free agents. With Kyrie Irving at the top of the pecking order, they are a contender in the East for the foreseeable future even with the injury to Gordon Hayward.
However, no matter how good this team is, this roster may never get you to the finals. The Celtics need to cope with the fact that Al Horford is no longer in his prime and need to start window shopping for some big men. Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum will need to far exceed expectations or make good trade bait for a superstar.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers
Any team Lebron James plays for is guaranteed success. Though being the 4x MVP’s GM may come with several headaches and less room for failure, he does the work for you. He gets you to the NBA Finals, players want to come to Cleveland to play with him, and he is the best player on the planet. The Owner may fire you or Lebron may leave regardless of how well you do your job, but that is the risk you take for the easy road to the NBA Finals. Also, the window is closing in Cleveland so failure is definitely not an option these days.
3. Los Angeles Lakers
Though they are not built to win right now, the Lakers are looking like they are close to returning to top tier form. Lonzo Ball will play an essential role in this franchise becoming dominate once again. As Brandon Ingram develops into the player we expect him to be and Kyle Kuzma continues to surprise us all, the Lakers now need to dominate in free agency.
Here are the essentials:
- Get rid of Loul Deng at all cost. He is expected to make more than $50 million over a 3-year span and far from the talent he used to be.
- Acquire Demarcus Cousins via free agency. With Brook Lopez contract expiring at the end of the season, and Cousin’s impending free agency, it is a no-brainer for the Lakers to acquire arguably the best center in basketball. Side note: the best Lakers teams had dominant centers such as, Shaquille O’Neal, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Wilt Chamberlain.
- Finally, and this might be the toughest, the Lakers will need to acquire Paul George or Lebron James. Nabbing Cousins may be a good start, but it takes a savvy GM to lure a top player in the league away from a contending team.
Which brings us to #2 on my list…
2. Golden State Warriors
The Golden State Warriors may be the easiest team to manage in the NBA. It’s like once you walk through that door, the selfishness gets ripped off of you and you will want to share the ball with everyone at all cost. Hence, just keep the core four (Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green) together and you’ll keep winning. Nowadays, top players are willing to take a pay cut in order keep their team together, which makes the GM’s job even easier. Additionally, veteran players (i.e. Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose) are willing to take massive pay cuts to join a contending team.
The good thing about sports, no team stays on top forever. Kobe and Shaq couldn’t get more than three championships together, even with the likes of Gary Payton and Karl Malone joining their team. Remember Lebron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh were supposed to win not four, not five, not six…
Nothing last forever. The Warriors have had a great run building from the bottom and, look, now they’re here: 2x NBA Champions along two former MVPs and a defensive player of the year on their team.
With all this being said, if I was a GM of a team beginning this season, I would choose…
1. Philadelphia 76ers
That’s right, I trusted the process. With Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Markelle Fultz, the Sixers are destined for great things. As the GM, I would build entirely around these three, surrounding them with shooters as well as defensive minded players. Sooner or later, this team will become an attractive destination for free agents as the West gets stacked and Lebron see’s his last days as the best player in the NBA. I can think of a particular shooting guard who may be interested in going East when he becomes a free agent, cough* cough* Klay Thompson. There is no other guard that would benefit from playing next to such a dynamic playmaker like Ben Simmons.
Predictions and Realizations
Prediction: If the Philadelphia 76ers keep their big three in tact and all remain healthy, they will reach the Eastern Conference Finals within five years.
Realization: “Trust the Process” will be more than just a plea guys use to convince their girl to give them a second chance. NBA teams will look back and wonder, were the Sixers cheating? Or did they actually just get it right?
That’s all for now. What are your top 5 NBA teams you would like to be the General Manager of?
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