People ask why the Lakers and a few other teams seem to be able to pull something off (Gasol, Artest, Sessions, CP3, Nash) that seems implausible given their lack of cap space, late round picks, etc...
they treat their assets like good traders, they don't flush them.
They don't do Isiah Thomas "all in" deals on unproven players like Eddy Curry, overpaying the player as well. One of the picks used for Nash was a switch, not a give up, from the Shaq to Miami trade. The room to add salary? The exception from the Odom "dump".
They don't have their owner step in front of their GM and get shaken down for everyone they could give, cash and then numerous future picks for Carmelo, which they perhaps could have used...
They don't trash their own coaches in the media (Brown) or bring in numerous interim coaches (take your pick) or put them in a position to fail (MDA) then imply they were paid so it's all good, or ask/make them fire their agents (Woody). You don't miss out on the special coaches (Jax) because you didn't even ask. Coaches, agents and players watch the management structure/behavior, all you need is to miss out on one or two players or coaches seemingly without reason and you miss the golden moment.
You don't hitch your wagon to an agency that represents talent so that you have "pull" with players. Their job is to get their clients paid. The great franchise gets the talent the old fashioned way, they earn it.
You don't leak things to the press. You lay in the weeds until its too late for the competition (Pau, Nash, CP3 (asterisk), Kobe, Shaq, Kareem...)
You get smart persuasive winning players to do your marketing behind the scenes for you (Kobe called Nash to recruit two days ago) and do things called tampering if it were management (Mia using Wade w LeBron). Who did Melo call? JR? K-Mart? Who is on STATs list?
You find that the right players buy in (Nash, Fisher, Miami and Boston big threes) for less money than they could get for the right situation and those few teams spend years creating the perception of the right situation.
Was STAT going to get 5yr max money from any other team? If Melo would have taken a few million less he might have left NY with more chips (resulting in sending fewer players in the S/T) to use and more cap space...how important was that to him?
If you overpay and sell at the lows, after a while you have fewer chips (no pun intended) and no one to blame but yourself, unless its easier to think its just bad luck...