#8: Jerry Colangelo: Colangelo became the first general manager for the expansion Phoenix Suns in 1968. The team went on to qualify for the playoffs in 24 of the 36 years that Colangelo was in the front office.
In addition, Colangelo was named the league’s Executive of the Year four times (1976, 1981, 1989, and 1993).
The current USA Basketball director pulled off a trade for Kevin Johnson midway through the 1987-88 season, which resulted in the Suns completing one of the biggest turnarounds in league history the following season (going from 28 wins to 55).
Colangelo later made one of the most lopsided trades ever in 1992 by sending Jeff Hornacek, Tim Perry, and Andrew Lang to Philadelphia for Hall of Fame forward Charles Barkley. The trade helped Phoenix reach the Finals in 1993.