Winderman: Odd NBA executive vote mostly anti-Riley sour grapes
So what does the NBA think of the notion of securing a big bag of money and throwing it in front of three of the game’s best players?
Apparently not much.
So despite landing LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh during last summer’s free-agency-free-for-all, Heat President Pat Riley received only a partial cut of the NBA Executive of the Year award when the balloting results were announced Tuesday.
Actually, Riley was gifted that piddling stake.
In the vote of one executive from each of the league’s 30 teams, Riley received 11 votes, as did Bulls General Manager Gar Forman.
Trouble was, Bulls Executive Vice President John Paxson finished third with three votes.
In essence, there were 14 votes for what the Bulls accomplished, 11 for the Heat’s haul.
First, let’s recap: The Bulls visited Cleveland in July to woo James. They then held multiple meetings with Wade and Bosh in Chicago.
Riley signed all three.
Chicago then settled for consolation prizes Carlos Boozer, Kyle Korver and Ronnie Brewer.
Granted, the Bulls did finish ahead of the Heat in the Eastern Conference.
But it wasn’t because of Boozer, Korver or Brewer.
It was because they won the 2008 NBA Draft lottery over the Heat, getting Derrick Rose at No. 1, with the Heat settling for Michael “since-traded” Beasley at No. 2.
There is no debating the Bulls had arguably the league’s best player this season in Rose, who was named MVP.
And Tom Thibodeau accomplished as much as any coach, closing with the league’s best record on the way to the nod as Coach of the Year.
But exactly which of the 19 team executives that didn’t vote for Riley wouldn’t have taken his haul over any other?
Non-Riley Voter: “Yeah boss, I know we can sign LeBron, Wade and Bosh, but this Boozer guy sometimes plays defense, this Korver dude does one thing very well, and this Brewer fella can defend when he’s not hurt.”
Owner of team run by Non-Riley Voter: “You are an idiot.”
Or, of course, someone who got burned by Riley.
Hmm, the Bulls, Clippers, Cavaliers, Nets and Knicks all interviewed LeBron in Cleveland. (We figure it’s safe to say that if you work for Dan Gilbert, you don’t dare vote for Riley.)
That’s five nays.
The Raptors lost Bosh.
The Magic and Mavericks have had their feuds for years with the Heat.
Seven and eight.
And many would-be contenders saw their chances evaporate when Riley got his Big Three.
Nine, 10 11 . . . you get the point.
There is, of course, consolation for Riley.
Along with half an award . . . he also still has LeBron, Wade and Bosh, and possibly some championship hardware on the way.
Ira Winderman writes regularly for NBCSports.com and covers the Heat and the NBA for theSouth Florida Sun-Sentinel. You can follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/IraHeatBeat.