Cohen's Tournament: Best Front Office Decisions

By Josh Cohen
February 2, 2012


ORLANDO -- Before this season started, I wrote a feature called The Winning Formula, which details the prerequisites to evolve into a championship-level team.

As described in that column, there are generally three ways a franchise can transform into an elite club: The NBA Draft, Having Salary Cap Space and/or Having Trade Assets.

When you study the landscape of the NBA and assess the best teams in the league, you will notice that each privileged team has at least one top 10 player.

And it’s not like these prolific players fall from the sky and randomly land in a city. Somewhere along the way, each of these organizations made a critical decision that helped launch their teams to relevance.

In some instances, it was an essential draft assessment like for Orlando in 2004 when it opted for Dwight Howard over Emeka Okafor or for Chicago in 2008 when it selected Derrick Rose instead of Michael Beasley.

In other examples, it was a crucial trade that propelled a team to greatness like for Boston in 2007 when it acquired Kevin Garnett or for the L.A. Lakers when it attained Pau Gasol in 2008.

Some decisions didn’t initially seem like they would have a drastic impact. Take Portland’s judgment to acquire LaMarcus Aldridge for Tyrus Thomas in the 2006 NBA Draft or Memphis’ idea to get Zach Randolph from the Clippers in 2009 as hidden gems.


Josh Cohen
It’s difficult to determine which decision, whether it was a draft-day judgment, a brilliant free agent signing or an insurgent trade, was the most deep-seated evaluation.

Even Miami’s signing of LeBron James in 2010 deserves consideration for this honor when you realize it had to dismantle its roster for a few years to free up cap space before rolling out the red carpet to convince the two-time MVP to join the Heat.

To try and assess which front office decision was most “impressive” considering all the circumstances at the time of each transaction, I have set up a tournament that includes 16 of the most critical choices involving active players teams have made to augment their franchises.

Following First Round results, the winners will advance until a champion is crowned.



Dwight Howard


Dwight Howard


Dwight Howard

Semifinals
Semifinals
Latest Results

Finals


Kevin Garnett


Kobe Bryant


Kobe Bryant


Dirk Nowitzki


Derrick Rose


Derrick Rose


Derrick Rose


Zach Randolph


Chris Paul


Chris Paul


Ray Allen


LeBron James


LeBron James


LeBron James

Semifinals
Semifinals
Latest Results


Joe Johnson


Pau Gasol


Pau Gasol


Russell Westbrook


Rajon Rondo


Rajon Rondo


Rajon Rondo


Andrew Bynum


LaMarcus Aldridge


LaMarcus Aldridge


Carmelo Anthony