Otis Smith and Other General Managers on the Hot Seat
The life of a general manager is excruciating to say the least. One must build a championship-caliber roster through trades, free-agent signings and draft acquisitions. One bad transaction can put a franchise years back in their attempts to capture the elusive Larry O'Brien Trophy.
Usually, when a squad fails to live up to the expectations placed upon them, the general manager is one of the first positions to be criticized or replaced.
In the subsequent slides, we will follow three general managers who are rumored to be on the "hot seat" and examine why they are in their respective positions. Whether it was years of team irrelevancy, terrible personnel choices or another matter entirely, the following general managers' careers are in a state of crisis.
Ernie Grunfeld of the Washington Wizards
Ernie Grunfeld's nine-year tenure with the Washington Wizards has been bumpy to say the least. Even though the Wizards have been, at times, competitive during Grunfeld's stretch as general manager, there is no doubt the team has become associated with losses and drama over the last decade.
From the infamous Gilbert Arenas' gun incident to numerous consecutive losing seasons, Wizards' management is definitely looking for a change of direction, as the team has already fired coach Flip Saunders.
GM Ernie Grunfeld may be the next to lose his job.
While much of the team's woes over the past 10 years shouldn't be fully blamed on Grunfeld, there is no denying the fact that the long-time GM has absolutely not proven capable of rebuilding this dismal squad. After all, he just traded away the potential-filled, but sometimes spacey, JaVale McGee for an overpaid Nene Hilario. Sure, the lanky 7'0" center had to be traded, but there was probably more enticing offers on the table.
During his years with the Wizards, Grunfeld has had numerous awful transactions. Trading star Gilbert Arenas, who possessed a gaudy contract, to Orlando for essentially the worst contract in the league, owned by Rashard Lewis, was arguably his worst move in the position.
There will probably be a change in the nation's capitol involving Grunfeld's position within the organization, as there are many rumors regarding this subject around the league.
Joe Dumars of the Detroit Pistons
What is the Detroit Pistons' plan for the future?
After years of winning at the beginning of the new century, the Detroit Pistons have been struggling to stay afloat within the weak Eastern Conference and are stuck in NBA purgatory, a spot every association dreads. Instead of going into a full rebuilding effort, the Pistons are too worried about staying competitive in the present.
By signing veteran role players to keep this team out of contention for the high lottery picks in NBA drafts, the Pistons have essentially locked themselves in as a mediocre squad of the future.
General Manager Joe Dumars is to blame for the Detroit Pistons' roster problems, as he is the one orchestrating all of these debilitating trades and free agent signings. After years of being considered one of the brightest, young general managers in the league, as he acquired the ridiculously talented starting five of Chauncey Billups, Rip Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, Rasheed Wallace and Ben Wallace, Dumars has found his stock fall from consecutive bad investments.
Since the latest Pistons' glory days, only two prospects have panned out in center Greg Monroe and Rodney Stuckey. In addition, Dumars signed Charlie Villanueva and Ben Gordon to cumbersome contracts that are worth a combined $90 million just three years ago.
The Detroit Pistons may have to give Joe Dumars the oust to get back on the right path to relevancy. However, there has been no news lately regarding his status with the franchise.
Otis Smith of the Orlando Magic
It has become a common theme running throughout the league where teams fail to build around their superstar by acquiring an elite supporting cast. It has occurred with LeBron James in Cleveland, Dwyane Wade in Miami (before "The Decision") and is now happening with Dwight Howard in O-Town.
Throughout Howard's tenure in Orlando, the 6'11" center has never had the privilege to play alongside a second superstar capable of scoring off the dribble. Over the past few years, general manager Otis Smith has auditioned guards Jason Richardson, Vince Carter and Gilbert Arenas and forwards Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis for the part. All of the aforementioned players have failed to fill this role.
This has led to Howard's eagerness to bolt the city that drafted him just seven years ago. It has been rumored that not only has Howard ended communication with the Orlando GM, but he wants Smith replaced.
And, in my opinion, I believe Howard's complaints are justified.
Smith's tenure in Orlando has been marred by cumbersome contracts, failed trades and poor draft choices. In fact, the last draft selection to work out for the Magic was J.J. Redick in 2006.
It is widely accepted that Otis Smith's current position will probably be vacant this summer, as Smith has proved incompetent to get the job done.