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Summer Dreaming: Who will win Executive of the Year?

Four GMs and one owner who look poised for success

POSTED: Sep 1, 2016 10:17 AM ET

By Fran Blinebury

BY Fran Blinebury

NBA.com

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Warriors' GM Bob Myers is an obvious candidate for Executive of the Year after landing Kevin Durant.

For sure, there are those frantic days leading up to the cold, hard trade deadline in February when rumors fill the air and the social media pot threatens to boil over. But truth is the real heavy lifting gets done in the hot weather.

While the rest of us are reaching for another burger or hot dog and washing it down with one more cold one, decision makers in the front office are sweating out the details of putting together a team.
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It's summertime when the majority of the work is done and so we stop next on our annual Summer Dreaming series with our top five picks for Executive of the Year in 2016-2017:

Bob Myers, Golden State Warriors: Is there really another choice to lead the field? All he did was convince the cream of the free agent crop Kevin Durant to stop chasing the Warriors and join them. The seeds had been planted by the Golden State organization long before they showed up for the meeting in the Hamptons, which is the sign of a franchise with great foresight. Now Myers has put a pair of former MVPs both under the age of 29 on the same roster for the first time NBA history. There was a need to sacrifice important parts from the "Strength In Numbers" bunch that won the 2015 title and a record 73 games last season. But he managed to keep the vital Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston and made a couple of nice pickups in veterans Zaza Pachulia and David West.

Bob Myers

Golden State Warriors General Manager Bob Myers discusses signing Kevin Durant.

Danny Ainge, Boston Celtics: OK, so he didn't parlay three first round Draft picks into the kind of stud performer that could make the Celtics a threat to knock off the Cavaliers for the top spot in the Eastern Conference and he didn't get Kevin Durant to Boston. But Al Horford definitely isn't chopped liver and he will enable the green team to keep moving steadily forward. Ainge still has the woeful Nets' first-round picks in 2017 and 2018 in his pocket, which will be assets to deal or keep the pipeline of talent flowing. Besides, each year that Brad Stevens keeps demonstrating that he's the best young coaching mind in the game, the president/GM gets more points for bringing him to the league and locking him down.

Dennis Lindsey, Utah Jazz: Since taking over as GM in 2012, Lindsey has reshaped the Jazz roster through trades and Draft picks and brought them to the edge of the playoffs. Utah would have returned to the playoffs last season if not for injuries that scratched Dante Exum entirely and limited Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert. They still had a chance until the Jazz collapsed with four losses in their last five games. Lindsey was proactive with moves that should help this summer. He cut ties and shipped out Trey Burke, then dealt for veteran point guard George Hill, who is a solid choice to run the offense, play defense and be a tutor to Exum. The two-year deal to sign Joe Johnson gives Utah a shooter and game-closer. Boris Diaw is smart, versatile and will help the Jazz get back into the playoffs.

Dennis Lindsey

Dennis Lindsey catches up with Vince Cellini and Isiah Thomas during second quarter action.

Glen Taylor, Minnesota Timberwolves: Since this is our summer fantasy, why not make a team owner one of the prime candidates for the award? Taylor was decisive and wasted no time making his move to win the offseason derby to land the blue chip prize in Tom Thibodeau as head coach and president of basketball operations. The Wolves made it a twin win in naming longtime NBA veteran Scott Layden as GM. The new boss then made his first move by selecting point guard Kris Dunn with the No. 5 pick in the Draft. The result is a lineup that has Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine with Dunn to provide as solid a combination of young talent to be found anywhere in the league. The Wolves are set up to be a Western Conference power for years and the guy writing the checks deserves to take a bow.

Arena Link: Tom Thibodeau

Tom Thibodeau talks with NBA TV's Rick Kamla about joining Minnesota as head coach and president of basketball operations.

Sam Presti, Oklahoma City Thunder: Wait a minute. You lose Kevin Durant and make the list? Yes, because things could have been much, much worse. If the Thunder had let even five minutes of remorse set in after Durant's blockbuster Fourth of July announcement, they could have been doomed themselves to becoming a new version of post-Shaq Orlando, trying to find a way out of the wilderness. Instead Presti went right after a new deal with Russell Westbrook and, even though there's an out clause to become a free agent in 2018, not allowing the All-Star point guard to just walk out the door allows the franchise and all of Oklahoma City to hold its head up. Presti keeps churning the roster and the payroll to keep the Thunder flexible and while the deal that shipped out Serge Ibaka on draft night was a surprise, it fits right in line, also opening more time for rising Steven Adams. He landed in return the still-untapped potential of Victor Oladipo, rookie Domantas Sabonis and journeyman Ersan Ilyasova. Presti certainly would have preferred to keep Durant, but did what he could with the hand he was dealt.

Fran Blinebury has covered the NBA since 1977. You can e-mail him here and follow him on Twitter.

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