Tuesday , Feb , 19 , 2008 Christopher Sells

GM for Hire

GM for Hire

Despite what most teams’ actions would lead you to believe, only one team from each conference will make the Finals. Of those two teams that make the Finals, only one will be crowned NBA champion. This is a once a year process. Winning in one year does not guarantee that you will or will not win in subsequent years. Building your team for success in a certain year does not mean that said success will be achieved that year. And said building may actually decrease your chances of success in following years.

That’s a whole lot of information to try to process in one paragraph. Such is the life of an NBA GM. So much to do and, usually, so little time in which to do it.

If it were easy to be a GM, more people would be in line to do it. There might be more of a blueprint to follow, some literature touting its "100% Guaranteed Results" or something of the sort. Instead, you have people who seem to wing it, to go based on gut feelings or to mimic the actions of another.

There are different job objectives depending on what team you are the GM of. Some GMs are told to do whatever necessary to win a championship while the main responsibility of others is to keep their franchise operating in the black. Others have various other agendas, such as setting the team up for relocation or improving the team’s image without regard for success or money.

With such variance in expectations, it is almost impossible to set specific guidelines or qualifications that a person would have to possess in order to be considered for a position. One person might need to have extensive experience with crisis management, another proficiency in matters of finance, yet another expertise in community relations. While not quite a crapshoot, finding the person perfect for managing your NBA franchise’s personnel decision is not that simple. Making the wrong decision can cost you time and, more importantly, money.

For these reasons, I have decided to make myself available for hire to any NBA franchise that is in need of a GM or simply wants to make waves by experimenting in a way that no other team has. My services will come free of charge for the first six months with a promise to negotiate a reasonably priced but fair contract afterwards, providing that the direction I am guiding the franchise in is deemed acceptable and satisfactory.

Why me? Why not?

I have zero experience being a general manager.  However, I have been making personnel decisions from my couch my entire life. My observation of the NBA and its practices could be described as meticulous and, although I doubt I know every rule or have observed every minute detail, I feel that I can offer a unique perspective and respond competently in a pressure-filled environment.

I know that some decisions are made solely based on money. While no person would ever find the talents of Pau Gasol and Kwame Brown comparable, I am able to recognize the opportunity to save millions when it presents itself and execute when the time comes, regardless of the public ridicule that is sure to follow.

I know that some decisions are a product of necessity. When your team is going nowhere and you need to get it going somewhere, I will be the person that gives away nearly the entire roster to get two players that can immediately make a difference. If you ask me to do so, I too can have a total disregard for the future of the Boston Celtics. Again.

I know that some decisions are made based more on loyalty than on common sense. I will trade the best player my franchise has ever known to a team I used to be associated with for many spare parts in the hopes that a couple of them will be good enough to stick past the duration of their contracts.

I can figure out simple mechanics. I know that even an experienced driver can only do so much with a vehicle that has outdated or insufficient parts. Even though expectations are an evil that cannot be separated from this position, I can figure out if something I have is better than something I don’t have. No one will pressure me into giving away my car’s motor for low-performance tires that belongs on an episode of The Flintstones.

I know that some decisions are born of desperation. It is sometimes acceptable to jump through flaming hoops and to walk a tightrope suspended over a pit of deadly snakes to get the man that my boss feels will improve my team’s chances of success. And by "jump through flaming hoops and walk a tightrope suspended over a pit of deadly snakes," I mean sign a retired player who wasn’t very good to begin with and switch around players that I wanted to involve who vetoed their inclusion in the trade or couldn’t keep their mouths shut long enough to let an under-the-table agreement run its course.

I will never sign a marginal role player whose career success is based on the accomplishments of two Hall-of-Famers to a contract that includes a trade kicker. If I am stupid enough to do so, I will not hold a grudge against him for utilizing said trade kicker and turning my attempts to do my job into a soap opera. While there is an audience for "As the Mavs Turn," I don’t want that kind of publicity.

I will never sign a player who cannot run or jump to my team whose success is predicated on running and jumping and other activities that may require functioning knees, no matter how good their passing skills are supposed to be.

I will not sign players who are legally insane and expect them to be anything other than legally insane. To do so would be insane.

I will not sexually harass employees. I will not fight players. I will not threaten bodily injury to opposing players. I will not trade for massive contracts of players who will not do my team any good. To paraphrase, I will not turn your team into the Knicks.

If I turn your team into the Knicks, please fire me and save yourself further embarrassment and ridicule.

I will not leave my position as GM to turn into a coach because I want the glory associated with guiding them to a championship, and then consider retirement once the situation goes south. I do not use an entire bottle of hair gel every time I make a public appearance.

I will not come out of retirement to play basketball for the team and leave them in worse shape than they were when I got there.

I will do what you want me to do and understand when my employment is terminated because I followed your terrible instructions. Everyone needs a fall guy some times. Compensate me accordingly and I have no problems being yours.

I would not have picked Darko Milicic, Sam Bowie, Kwame Brown or any other undeserving stiff.

I can see into the future and read minds. OK, not really.

I have a sense of humor, which is necessary to laugh at all of the horrible things that will be said about me in the papers and on talk radio shows.

In closing, I would like to thank you in advance for considering me for your position. I look forward to hearing from you and will respond via e-mail in a couple of weeks to gauge your interest and to possibly set up job interviews.