While the players receive all of the attention on the court, it is the general managers who construct the teams off the court, in hopes of leading their organizations to great success. Without these executives, it is difficult to fathom how professional franchises would properly function.
At the end of each season, the NBA gives out the Executive of the Year award, which is voted on by executives of the league’s 30 teams. The season is now closer to completion than it is to its start, and the race this year is certainly tight.
Below are the top five candidates for the Executive of the Year Award:
5. Bob Myers
Bob Myers continues to improve the Golden State Warriors. Hired as the team’s GM in April, 2012, the former sports agent improved the Warriors’ record by 24 wins in his first season on the job. This year, he has turned the roster into one of the most exciting squads in the league.
Led by All-Star Stephen Curry, the Warriors (35-23) are currently the seventh seed in the Western Conference but sit just four games back of the fourth seed Los Angeles Clippers (40-20). In July, Myers lured Andre Iguodala to the Bay Area, which may have appeared easier than it actually was. California’s highest earners are taxed more than 12 percent, which is extremely high, especially when compared with other states like Florida, where there is no income tax at all.
Also, top talent prefers attractive locations to build their brands. Places like New York, Los Angeles and Chicago are generally high on lists of players who seek fame and fortune–not San Francisco.
Myers also had to maneuver pieces to ensure Iguodala was able to join the Warriors under the salary cap. The Warriors cleared more than $24 million by dealing Richard Jefferson, Andris Biedrins and Brandon Rush to the Utah Jazz, along with four future draft picks and cash considerations. Due to these moves, the Warriors inked Iguodala to a four-year, $48 million deal.
While the 30-year-old has had his fair share of struggles this season, Golden State is on the verge of making consecutive postseason appearances–a feat accomplished just one other time in the last 35 seasons of the franchise’s history. Iguodala is certainly helping them get there, and Myers can be thanked for that.
4. Masai Ujiri
Masai Ujiri is gunning for consecutive Executive of the Year awards. The Nigerian native captured the award as Denver Nuggets GM in 2013, before leaving the team for more of a lucrative deal with the Toronto Raptors. He became the first non-American to take home the honor.