Although he's staying with the organization, Kevin O'Connor's tenure as the general manager of the Utah Jazz has come to an end. O'Connor was one of the few pieces left from the Stockton-to-Malone era, and his time was marked by both highs (the Western Conference Finals in 2007) and lows (the 2004-05 team that finished 26-56).
Here, in unranked order, is a look at some of the best decisions of Kevin O'Connor's Jazz career...and a few he probably wishes he could have back.
(We're not counting this year's deals involving Mo Williams, Randy Foye and Marvin Williams; it's too soon to tell.)
Matthews played all four years at Marquette in college, but he failed to impress a team enough to be chosen in the 2009 NBA Draft. But his play for the Jazz in summer league ball earned him an invite to training camp, and despite the odds against him, he was signed to a one-year contract. Matthews averaged 9.4 points per game while shooting 38 percent on 3-pointers during the 2009-10 season.
After the season, however, Portland offered Matthews a front-loaded long-term contract, and the Jazz declined to match -- a decision that might merit inclusion on the other side of this list.
On the surface, this trade doesn't seem like a big deal; Clark and Handlogten were marginal players at best, and Gugliotta's peak was far behind him in 2003.
The reason this move merits inclusion: one of the draft picks the Suns included in this deal came via the New York Knicks. The protections on the pick finally expired in 2010, when the Jazz used it to select Gordon Hayward. For that alone, this move was a steal.
The Jazz had two first-round picks in the 2005 draft: No. 6 and No. 27. The general wisdom was that there were two superb point guards that year: Deron Williams from Illinois, and Chris Paul from Wake Forest. The Jazz knew that both players would likely be gone after the first five spots. So O'Connor parlayed his picks to the Blazers in exchange for Portland's No. 3 selection. With that, D-Will became a Jazzman and made the team a contender through the rest of the decade.
The Jazz sure have had luck with power forwards from Louisiana. But Paul Millsap was no lottery pick like the Mailman. He was a little-known prospect (although he did lead the NCAA in rebounding before entering the draft). O'Connor selected him with the 47th pick of the 2006 draft, and he has rewarded the Jazz with six solid seasons (after O'Connor wisely elected to match Portland's contract offer in 2009). Millsap averaged 16.6 points and 8.8 rebounds per game last year.
This is a tough one to include, because it hinges on so many unknown factors: Was Deron the main reason Jerry Sloan retired? Would D-Will have re-signed in Utah? How good can Derrick Favors be? Some of those questions may never be answered, and some we'll have to wait for. But even if you believe Deron would have stayed a Jazzman, trading him for Harris (who has now been traded for Marvin Williams), Favors, a pick that became Enes Kanter, and a still-to-come pick from Golden State ain't bad. At the very least, it was a gutsy, forward-thinking move for the usually conservative O'Connor.
Other good moves: trading Gordan Giricek for Kyle Korver, signing Mehmet Okur as a free agent, sign-and-trading Carlos Boozer for a trade exception used to acquire Al Jefferson.
The 2001 NBA Draft produced plenty of talented players still in the league today. Raul Lopez is not one of them. The Spanish point guard suffered a torn ACL before he played a single game in a Jazz uniform and never lived up to expectations. What's worse is that the Jazz could have chosen one of several better point guards, including Spurs guard Tony Parker. Maybe O'Connor couldn't have known that at the time, but still.
The Jazz originally selected Ryan Humphrey with the 19th pick, but they quickly shipped him to the Magic for the rights to Stanford center Borchardt. The injury-prone 7-footer played in a grand total of 83 games for the Jazz and averaged just 3 points per game in his NBA career.
This didn't seem like a huge mistake at the time -- Whaley was another draft mistake, Humphries had failed to impress, and the former BYU star Araujo needed a fresh start after two poor years in Toronto -- but in retrospect, the Jazz would have been much better off holding on to Humphries, who has become a serviceable rebounder and scorer with the Nets. (It might have saved Humphries from becoming a punchline on Kim Kardashian's reality TV show, too.) Araujo only played 33 games for Utah.
O'Connor himself has repeatedly called this decision his worst mistake, one he rectified this year in one of his last acts as full-time Jazz GM. Williams averaged only 5 points and 1.3 assists a game in limited minutes as a rookie, and the Jazz elected to move forward with Carlos Arroyo and Raul Lopez at the point-guard position. Mo would go on to blossom as a scorer with Milwaukee and Cleveland.
In the early post-Stockton-and-Malone era, the Jazz really only had one thing going for them: Andrei Kirilenko. The multi-talented Russian had just posted averages of 16.5 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 2.8 blocks per game in 2004, netting him a six-year, $86-million deal from the Jazz. But injuries and the free-agent signings of Carlos Boozer and Mehmet Okur would hamper Kirilenko in the rest of his time in Utah, and his massive contract soon felt like a millstone around the team's neck. After playing last year in Russia, AK-47 joined the Minnesota Timberwolves this offseason.
Other bad moves: trading Ronnie Brewer for a conditional draft pick, choosing not to match Portland's offer for Wesley Matthews, signing Mark Jackson in 2002