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Neil Best's 'Best Moves of the 2000s'

Giants quarterback Eli Manning is Neil Best's best

Giants quarterback Eli Manning is Neil Best's best acquisition of the decade. (Dec. 27, 2009) Credit: Freelance/photo by Joe Rogate

New York's sports executives taketh away, but they also sometimes giveth fans trades, signings and draft picks that make their teams better. Some of the best moves of the 2000s:

1. Eli Manning, Giants trade, April 24, 2004

The Giants liked Ben Roethlisberger, but general manager Ernie Accorsi loved Manning and was determined to get him, even with an accomplished quarterback in hand in Kerry Collins.

It took a deal with the Chargers shortly after San Diego made him the No. 1 pick. Eli is no Peyton, but he has been good enough to win a Super Bowl and earn four consecutive playoff berths.

2. Alex Rodriguez, Yankees trade, Feb. 15, 2004

The net worth of acquiring Alex Rodriguez was a complicated, emotional topic before the '09 season, even after two MVP seasons in pinstripes.

Now it all seems worth it, and A-Rod finally seems comfortable with his teammates and himself. He has 238 home runs and 716 RBIs in six seasons as a Yankee, with some historic milestones on the horizon.

3. CC Sabathia/Mark Teixeira, Yankees signings, Dec. 18/23 2008

It's easy to dismiss Sabathia and Teixeira as examples of the Yankees' bottomless wallet. But as the club has proven many times, spending lavishly does not always mean spending wisely.

Signing Sabathia, Teixeira and A.J. Burnett and trading for Nick Swisher changed the vibe in the clubhouse and pushed the Yankees over the top on the field.

4. Plaxico Burress, Giants signing, March 17, 2005

Burress' stay in blue did not last long and ended badly, but the Giants would not have won the Super Bowl for the third time without him as Manning's top target.

In four seasons as a Giant, he had 244 receptions for 3,681 yards and 33 touchdowns. He had 11 catches in the NFC Championship Game and a rather important TD reception in Super Bowl XLII.

5. David Wright, Mets draft pick, June 5, 2001

After losing Mike Hampton in free agency, the Mets received a supplemental first-round draft pick and made it count, taking Wright 38th overall.

Wright, a four-time All-Star, averaged 30 home runs and 116 RBIs from 2006 to '08 before suffering a power outage at Citi Field in '09.

(Where is Johan Santana on this list? He's been fantastic so far, but given his astronomical cost, let's at least wait for him to pitch for a playoff team here.)

6. Darrelle Revis, Jets draft pick, April 28, 2007

If picking a defensive superstar in the first round were easy, everyone would do it. Speaking of which, where have you gone, Dewayne Robertson?

Revis, the 14th overall pick in 2007, quickly has developed into an old-fashioned shutdown cornerback and a pillar of Rex Ryan's top-ranked defense.

7. Jaromir Jagr, Rangers trade, Jan. 23, 2004

Jagr was a long-established star when he reached the Rangers and soon demonstrated he had plenty left, lifting the Blueshirts back to the playoffs in their first season after the lockout with franchise records of 54 goals and 123 points in 2005-06.

An injury to Jagr contributed heavily to the team's first-round playoff elimination that spring.

8. Mike Mussina, Yankees signing, Dec. 7, 2000

The guy never became a warm-and-cuddly Yankees favorite and never won a ring with them, arriving one year too late and leaving one year too early.

But Mike Mussina was 123-72 with a 3.88 ERA in eight seasons in New York, making an average of 31 starts per season. He closed out his career with his first 20-win season in '08.

9. Henrik Lundqvist, Rangers draft pick, June 25, 2000

In the same draft in which the Islanders took goaltender Rick DiPietro first overall, the Rangers used the 205th selection on Lundqvist.

It would be more than five years before he debuted as a Ranger, but he won at least 30 games in each of his first four seasons. In his spare time, Lundqvist led Sweden to Olympic gold in 2006.

10. John Tavares, Islanders draft pick, June 26, 2009

The Islanders needed a fresh young talent and personality to excite fans and produce on the ice.

They seem to have found it with Tavares, 19, who entering Friday night led the team with 15 goals and 27 points.

The Isles have not been shy about building their marketing efforts around Tavares. Why should they be?

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