Updated: Jazz GM Kevin O’Connor gets a new gig, fifth in exec of year voting

Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor addresses media while 1320's Tony Parks contemplates what Faux Hot Rod Hundley might say, I give him a death stare and Standard-Examiner's Jim Burton sports a fancy bow tie.

(UPDATED at 11:50 a.m. MT with NBA executive of year info at bottom.)

Kevin O’Connor has some new responsibilities and another title.

Jazz general manager. Senior Vice President of Basketball Operations. Charter member of the NBA’s revised Competition Committee.

O’Connor, the league’s second-longest tenured GM, has been selected by the NBA to be on the newly formed committee, which includes four general managers, three head coaches, two owners and one National Basketball Players Association representative.

Previously, the Competition Committee consisted of the league’s 30 GMs. That group is now called the General Managers Committee.

“The Board decided that the inclusion of owners and head coaches on the Competition Committee would add valuable perspectives to discussions about our game and how it might be improved,” said Joel Litvin, NBA President of League Operations, in a news release. “At the same time, we will continue to receive input on competition and rules matters from all 30 teams through the General Managers Committee.”

Competition Committee members include owners Dan Gilbert (Cavaliers) and Joe Lacob (Warriors); general managers O’Connor, Bryan Colangelo (Raptors), Mitch Kupchak (Lakers) and Sam Presti (Thunder); coaches Rick Carlisle (Mavericks), Lionel Hollins (Grizzlies) and Doc Rivers (Celtics); and a yet-to-be named NBPA rep.

The Competition Committee is in charge of voting on the league’s playing rules and competition-related matters before final approval is made by the Board of Governors (owners). The first of the regular meetings will take place during the NBA Finals.

The new General Managers Committee will meet annually to discuss the state of the game and various competition matters, according to the release.

Here’s hoping flopping and tanking are Agenda Items No. 1A and 1B. And to be a fly on the wall if O’Connor were to bring up how the league should deal with tanking with the Warriors’ owner in the room.


O’Connor finished fifth in voting for the NBA’s executive of the year award for the 2011-12 season, the league announced late Wednesday morning.

Indiana president of basketball operations Larry Bird won the NBA exec of the year award, becoming the first person to earn MVP as a player (1984, ’85 and ’86), coach of the year (1997-98) and the front-office honor.

Frank Layden was one of three people to ever win coach/executive of the year awards in the same season (1983-84) along with Red Auerbach and Pat Riley.

Bird finished with 12 first-place votes and 88 total points from a vote by NBA executives. San Antonio’s R.C. Buford (8, 56), Clippers’ Neil Olshey (6, 55), Bulls’ Gary Forman (2, 16) and O’Connor (0, 10) rounded out the top five.

More from the NBA’s press release:

As President of Basketball Operations, Bird oversaw a Pacers team that went 42-24 (.636), earning the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference and finishing with the league’s fifth-best record.

Bird set the tone for the 2011-12 season by naming Frank Vogel, who had served in an interim capacity for 46 games during the 2010-11 season, head coach on July 6, 2011. He added to an already strong nucleus by signing David West in December, and beefed up the Pacers’ bench by trading for Lou Amundson and Leandro Barbosa. Indiana’s draft picks under Bird’s watch have included three key contributors on this year’s team: Paul George (2010), Tyler Hansbrough (2009), and Roy Hibbert (2008).

A three-time MVP as a player (1984, 85, 86) with the Boston Celtics, the Indiana basketball legend won NBA Coach of the Year honors in 1997-98, his first season on the sidelines, after guiding the Pacers to a 58-24 mark. In three seasons as head coach, Bird led Indiana to a 147-67 record and its only Finals appearance in 2000. Bird is the only person to win all three awards – MVP, Coach and Executive of the Year. Red Auerbach, Frank Layden and Pat Riley are the only people to earn both Coach of the Year and Executive of the Year honors.

Bird totaled 88 points and received 12 first-place votes from a panel of his fellow team executives throughout the NBA. The San Antonio Spurs’ R.C. Buford finished second with 56 points (eight first-place votes) votes and the Los Angeles Clippers’ Neil Olshey finished third with 55 points (six first-place votes). Executives were awarded five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote and one point for each third-place vote.

Below are the results of the voting for the 2011-12 NBA Executive of the Year. The balloting was tabulated by the independent accounting firm of Ernst & Young LLP.


Rookie, Team    1st     2nd     3rd     Total
Larry Bird, Indiana             12      8       4       88
R.C. Buford, San Antonio        8       4       4       56
Neil Olshey, L.A. Clippers      6       7       4       55
Gar Forman, Chicago             2       2       –       16
Kevin O’Connor, Utah            –       2       4       10
Glen Grunwald, New York –       2       2       8
Pat Riley, Miami                1       –       2       7
Sam Presti, Oklahoma City       1       –       –       5
Chris Wallace, Memphis  –       1       2       5
David Kahn, Minnesota           –       1       1       4
Rod Thorn, Philadelphia         –        1       –       3
Dell Demps, New Orleans –        1       –       3
Rick Sund, Atlanta              –       1       –       3
Danny Ainge, Boston             –       –       1       1
John Hammond, Milwaukee –       –       1       1
Lon Babby, Phoenix              –       –       1       1
Mitch Kupchak, L.A. Lakers      –        –       1       1
Otis Smith, Orlando             –       –       1       1
Masai Ujiri, Denver             –       –       1       1

Categories: General

About the Author

Jody Genessy

Jody Genessy is the Utah Jazz beat writer for the Deseret News. To answer some of your questions: 1) Yes, he travels everywhere the Jazz do. 2) No, he doesn't fly on the team charter. 3) No, he can't sneak you into the game, let you take notes for him or get you tickets (sorry, Mom). 4) Yes, he realizes that other people out there have to work for a living so he's a lucky dude. 5) Yes, he usually answers questions in the third person.

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