Best and worst management moves?

Originally Published: August 17, 2010
ESPN.com

Mikhail ProkhorovAP Photo/Mary AltafferMuch has been made of new Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, but will the move pan out? Survey says ...

The transition game has continued into the summer for the NBA -- we've seen a flurry of teams bought and sold, along with rapid turnover in front offices around the league.

To take stock, we asked our panel of 93 NBA experts to forecast which will turn out to be the best and worst management changes of the year, going back to Michael Jordan's acquisition of the Charlotte Bobcats.

One important note: This survey was taken in the days before the Denver Nuggets let Mark Warkentien and Rex Chapman go and the Philadelphia 76ers hired Rod Thorn.

The results:

2010-11 Forecast: Best Management Change


2010-11 Forecast: Worst Management Change



Golden State Warriors


Rasheed Malek, Warriors World:

Chris Cohan's tenure as owner of the Golden State Warriors is mercifully coming to an end. Cohan finally listened to the Warriors' dedicated fans and, for once, is giving them exactly what they want: his departure. He is leaving behind a legacy of ineptitude and illogical decision-making that is reflected by the team's lack of success for nearly two decades. Cohan and his right-hand man, Robert Rowell, have seemed more concerned with selling tickets than putting a winning product on the court. More concerned with securing corporate sponsorships than bringing in talented players. More concerned with controlling the media than building a winner.

Cohan's decision to sell the team to a group headed by Joe Lacob and Peter Guber came as a surprise to everyone, as the long-rumored favorite to purchase the team was Oracle CEO Larry Ellison. Lacob is a longtime Warriors fan and venture capitalist who shares the same frustrations toward the franchise as its rabid fan base and has vowed to alter how things are run. Guber is an extravagant personality who made his name in the film world and likely to bring an exuberance and passionate energy to the franchise not seen during the previous regime.

One decision awaiting Lacob and Guber is the fate of coach Don Nelson, who holds the NBA record for coaching victories but has seen his reputation suffer in recent seasons. Nelson is entering the final year of his deal, and the new owners must decide whether to remove him from the job immediately or let him coach out his contract. (Nelson is not expected to be offered the chance to continue coaching the Warriors beyond the 2010-11 season.)

Terminating Nelson this close to the start of the season may not be ideal, but assistant Keith Smart is a viable candidate to replace Nelson. Smart would be a good stopgap until the next offseason, when the Warriors' incoming management can dedicate more time and energy to searching for a coach who can steer them in the right direction.

• For more on the Warriors, check out our TrueHoop Network blog Warriors World.



New Jersey Nets

Mark Ginocchio, Nets Are Scorching:

Long before Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov revealed his love of water sports and beautiful women in his "60 Minutes" interview, he was heralded by a number of pundits as the New Jersey Nets' most important offseason acquisition. With bravado to match his deep pockets, Prokhorov sees the Nets, who won 12 games last season, as NBA champs within five years. And despite striking out on some of the big-name free agents this summer, Prokhorov is already putting his billions to good use, hiring more personnel for the coaching staff and scouting department than the team's previous owner. But one of Prokhorov's most critical hires this summer has drawn skeptical looks from the same analysts who regard his as a potential franchise savior.

Prokhorov brought on former 76ers general manager Billy King to replace Rod Thorn, who unexpectedly left the organization and then, as it turned out, joined Philadelphia's front office. Thorn, the primary architect of the Nets teams that made back-to-back NBA Finals in 2002 and 2003, had been hamstrung by owner Bruce Ratner in recent seasons but stuck around Jersey long enough to help round out the roster with additions such as rookie Derrick Favors, and veterans Travis Outlaw, Anthony Morrow and Jordan Farmar.

Now it's up to King to continue to push the organization forward, with new coach Avery Johnson reportedly heavily involved in the decision making. This organizational structure should be very familiar to King, who reportedly deferred often to Sixers coach Larry Brown during his tenure.

One point of concern from the Philly days: King was known for giving excessive contracts to role players such as Willie Green and Samuel Dalembert. If King can avoid overpaying the likes of Kris Humphries and Terrence Williams, that will be an encouraging sign for Nets fans. And of course, there's the basic reason, fair or not, that King pulled down 34 percent of the vote in our survey: Under his watch, the Sixers went from title contender to lottery team.

King's first significant move looks to be a winner. As one of the four teams involved in last week's trade, the Nets shipped Courtney Lee to Houston and received power forward Troy Murphy from Indiana. The move works on a number of levels for the Nets -- it meets a need the Nets were desperate to fill so that Favors can develop at a reasonable pace, and Murphy's expiring contract maintains the team's cap flexibility for next summer. He's also potential trade bait at the deadline. If King continues to make deals like Murphy's, the Nets are in good shape beyond just the owner.

• For more on the Nets, check out our TrueHoop Network blog Nets Are Scorching.

Click here for the complete list of voters