May 10, 2011, 1:53 PM EDT
The executives who orchestrated the two biggest turnarounds in the NBA this season — Pat Riley of the Miami Heat and Gar Forman of the Chicago Bulls — will share the NBA’s Executive of the Year award.
Well, privately they probably share this about as well as two 3-year-old girls in a room with one Princess Ariel doll. But publically they will say nice things. And Riley got screwed in this vote, but we’ll get to that in a bit.
There were 30 votes from team executives (you can’t vote for yourself, insert your own Riley joke here) and both Forman and Riley got 11 votes. John Paxson of the Bulls finished third (we assume one of his votes was from the Clippers, who would like to choke Vinny Del Negro themselves).
Riley got robbed here.
Make no mistake, Forman did a fine job, he brought in coach Tom Thibodeau, which was the biggest step in the turnaround of the team. Well, that and drafting Derrick Rose, which was lottery luck. Forman also brought in Carlos Boozer and filled out the rest of a good Bulls roster.
But Riley… look, you may love to hate the Big Three, but to pull that off was a brilliant and ballsy move. He had to take huge risks, clear out loads of cap space, convince everyone to go with the plan, get them all to sign for less so that Udonis Haslem and Mike Miller could be brought in. (Okay, so Miller proves he’s not perfect.)
Riley lapped the field as executive of the year. That he didn’t win shows how other executives around the league feel about him more than anything. Watching his team jell the last couple weeks, Riley doesn’t care what they think.
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