I know you think this is an easy answer: Mark Cuban, Donnie Nelson, and Rick Carlisle. You're partially right. Below I'll give you three people/groups who got fleeced in one way or another in the Marcin Gortat Fiasco.
Dallas Mavericks Front Office
Many have suggested that Cuban and Co. played their hand much too early by offering Gortat an offer sheet very soon after the free agency discussions began, and maybe so.
They had to be worried about the Rockets, who are preparing for life with no Yao Ming, offering Gortat a deal as well. Overall, though, Gortat and the Mavs were reporting he would be in Dallas, so the Mavericks were the first to get fooled.
Orlando Magic Front Office
In the next four years, the Magic will pay Gortat $28 million and Brandon Bass $18 million for a total of $46 million overall and $11.5 million per year. This for a backup center to Dwight Howard and a backup power forward who will be starting because the Magic LOST THEIR BEST OFFENSIVE PLAYER!
Nice job, Otis. Coming off a Finals loss, you lost Hedo Turkoglu and overpaid some backups in an old arena with plummeting revenue. Way to build negative momentum.
ESPN.com's John Hollinger
Hollinger wrote an insider column the other day praising Otis Smith for a "spectacular piece of card playing" for signing "Marcin Gortat, the Polish backup center who is unlikely to play more than 10 minutes a game next season" to a five-year, $34 million dollar contract.
What? $7 million to play 10 minutes or less? How is that good card playing? Even if he is talented, no one can afford to stash someone for a near-maximum contract in a recession. If Hollinger likes the way Otis plays cards, we've got a spot for him at our poker table.
Gideon in the Bible had a "golden fleece"; now the NBA has its "Magic fleece."
For more great reading...
Check out Alex McVeigh's outstanding article on the Marcin Gortat Fiasco.