Shaun Powell of NBA.com has a Top 10 list of the general managers in the NBA with the most challenging jobs this coming season. Read it here. Not surprisingly, Warriors GM Larry Riley is on the list at No. 4 with this explanation:
Could be a front-office casualty, with new ownership prepared to take over and change the culture. Warriors just finished a hapless decade, second only to the Knicks. Was responsible for giving big extension to Stephen Jackson, then watched in horror as Cap’n Jack blew a fuse and demanded out, surprising nobody but Riley. Trade value was instantly diminished. Club swapped Jackson (big scorer) and Jamal Crawford (Sixth Man of the Year) for nothing of significance, just some cap breathing room. Did sign David Lee, but perhaps overpaid for someone who put up nice numbers on a bad Knicks’ team. Monta Ellis is still on the roster, meaning Riley either believes Ellis is compatible with Steph Curry, or simply can’t find a taker.
I’m fine with Riley being on the list, but Powell doesn’t really explain why Riley’s job will be challenging this coming season (if he has a job after the new owners take over). His little write-up on Riley is basically just a look at some of the moves the Warriors have made over the past couple seasons (including one that he wasn’t even responsible for — the signing of Jackson).
With all due respect to Powell, he really should have done a better job defending Riley’s place on this list. Some of the reasons this is a challenging job for Riley: he lacks job security; he has to decide if Monta Ellis and Andris Biedrins, coupled with their large contracts, are trade pieces or pieces to the puzzle; and he has to juggle the acquisition of players who fit Don Nelson’s system knowing full well that system could drastically change in a year or less when Nelson is replaced.
The rest of the general managers on the list include Chris Wallace (Grizzlies), Rich Cho (Blazers), Chris Grant (Cavaliers), Dell Demps (Hornets), Billy King (Nets), Ernie Grunfeld (Wizards), Joe Dumars (Pistons), David Kahn (Timberwolves), Pat Riley (Heat).