I will reserve judging UM until he spend 3 years here. We can judge his work at the beginning of the 4th season.
Regarding Iggy, MU left Denver before AI left as a free agent. I have seen multiple comments of AI's respect/fondness for MU (as with other players who were quite upset when MU left) that it is a distinct possibility he would have re-signed w/Nuggets had MU/Karl stayed on (not Karl so much imo). To believe MU would have worked a multiteam deal to acquire AI without the odds of him staying I am afraid is working the narrative that MU is missing some GM smarts.
To me, McGee seems to be the only blemish and even at that the book isnt completely closed. Thats a gm record I would relish be duplicated in Toronto.
With the amount of pick and rolls being run across the league, having a mobile center who can guard the pick and roll & protect the rim at the same time -- anchoring the defense -- is a huge asset to have & to lock him in a contract that reflects his value, I'd say that's pretty good GM'ing. Masai simply believed that Denver's environment, one that has more character than Washington's, along with better coaching staff, will bring the best out of Javale McGee -- who still has the potential to be a defensive anchor (but probably not a post presence on offense).
In regards to the Afflalo trade, he brought in an "elite" perimeter defender on an expiring contract & got rid of Al Harrington's horrible contract, the lower of Denver's 2014 1st round & Afflalo. You can make your own judgment on that -- whether or not the trade was smart for Denver long-term -- but it's evident, based on Denver's record last year that Iggy was a difference maker for Denver. Therefore, short-term wise, it was a successful trade.
“I don’t create controversies. They’re there long before I open my mouth. I just bring them to your attention.”
-- Charles Barkley
Your assessment about MU's thinking about McGee is probably correct. There is however some documentation around that Karl was not enamored with the move as well as thought well of Nene. Also contrary to some public assumption that Karl & MU got along famously...this is not exactly true I understand. One other concern seemingly also was Javale's stamina. I saw a fan stat re what happened to his production and odd behaviour after his first 5 some minutes on the floor (oxygen deprivation at Denver elev.? ). Am not sure what to make of that but my reasoning re "book isnt completely closed" is that there is a new coach in Denver and as you noted if his natural ability could get harnessed on a good team he could end up being a steal.
If you want more Javale....
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