Kevin McHale’s terrible reputation as a general manager in Minnesota is overstated, the reality wasn’t as bad. He drafted Kevin Garnett fifth in 1995. He hired Flip Saunders. He drafted O.J. Mayo and traded him for Kevin Love. He drafted Ray Allen…
But then traded Allen for Stephon Marbury. He drafted Brandon Roy and traded him for Randy Foye. There was the secret deal with Joe Smith that forced then-commissioner David Stern to step in and void the contract then fine everyone involved. There was trading Sam Cassell for Marko Jaric. There was firing Flip Saunders.
Okay, so the reputation is not a lot worse than the reality. That may not stop McHale from getting another chance, according to Marc Stein of The New York Times.
Jim Paxson was the GM who drafted LeBron James in Cleveland, although that was a no-brainer. The Cavs went 185-307 during his tenure. After he was let go he was hired to consult with the Bulls, run by his brother John Paxson.
These are only two names, likely there are others are under consideration, but these feel like safe, retread picks. Guys with spotty track records (who both have been out of the game for a few years) but who tell good stories and are the kinds of guys the owner wants to hang around and have dinner with. It shouldn’t be a shock the Suns went this way, they went with the wunderkind in Ryan McDonough last time.
Whoever gets the job, the primary responsibility will be managing Robert Sarver, the owner. Sarver seemed to own up to his meddling ways in a recent conversation with ESPN and implied he would hire the new GM then step back and let the basketball people make basketball decisions. I’m going to call Missouri on this one — show me. I’ll believe it when I see it. If the new GM can keep Sarver at arm’s length and run basketball operations without interference, it would be a huge plus.
Expect this process to drag out until after the season, although with the Suns having a high draft pick they will want someone in place well before that night to set up a strategy. Probably. It’s the Suns so any outcome is possible.