Inside: The End

Emptying out the notebook at the sooner-than-expected conclusion to the Warriors’ season:

** Just as Don Nelson is unrepentant regarding l’affaire Baron, Chris Mullin is equally OK with the waste of time, money, energy and resources that was Chris Webber’s Warriors comeback. Before they signed him, I said on KNBR that “the guy can’t run,” and I saw no evidence to dispute that theory while he was with the Warriors.

The recognition of the need to add another rotation player to a rapidly tiring team was good; settling for a guy that clearly gummed up the works in his season debut – which just happened to be the Chicago loss on Feb. 7, a game where the visiting Bulls were missing their top three players – was not.

Nevertheless, Mullin gave an immediate “no” when asked if he thought the Webber fixation cost his team any games.

“I think we may have won that Boston game (because of Webber), actually,” Mullin said. “I thought he did a good job in that game (on Feb. 20). I thought he played well. Baron made that incredible shot, but I thought defensively, (Webber) helped us that night.”

** Mullin was in pretty good form, humor-wise, during his season-ending chat with print reporters on Wednesday. Among the highlights was his response to a reporter noting that Baron might want “17, 17, 17 and 17,” referring to a three-year extension on top of his $17.8 million salary for the upcoming season.

“That’s a good number,” Mullin said. “I like the number 17, especially if it wasn’t just my (uniform) number. If that was the going salary (when Mullin played), that’d be pretty sweet.”

As for who will represent the Warriors at the draft lottery on May 20, Mullin knows one thing – if past history with the event counts for anything, he won’t be the one in the chair in Secaucus, N.J.

“From that standpoint, I shouldn’t do it, because the first year they had it, it was the worst (outcome), the booby prize,” Mullin said, referring to the initial lottery of 1985, when the Warriors were denied a shot at No. 1 pick Patrick Ewing despite a league-worst 22-60 record and ended up with a certain lefty out of St. John’s. “They could have got (No.) 1 through 7, and they got 7. So I’m a bad candidate.”

** Nelson said last week that he made the determination as early as training camp that he’d have to ride the Baron/Jack/Monta triumvirate into the ground in order to compete for a playoff spot. What about guys like Austin Croshere and Troy Hudson, the veterans brought in to firm up the Nos. 9 and 10 spots on the roster? Couldn’t they have been some sort of stopgap measure?

“Do you have any idea who you’re talking about?” Nelson said. “Were you hoping that those guys rise up? They’re at the end of their careers, they were never great players anyway, and now you’re going to ask them to rise up and all of a sudden be something special? At best, they’re a good veteran.”

** The trade-Al-Harrington door swings both ways. While the team mulls over its future with Al – and decides whether his $9.2 million price tag might be better spent on other roster priorities – he will ponder if he wants to endure another season of Nelson’s pointed needling or wants to demand a change of address instead.

That’s not to say Harrington is undeserving of blame, but he certainly bore a disproportionate share of Nellie’s insults. And though Al is too much of a pro to ever admit it, it was clear from watching him that he’s frustrated at being the team’s designated whipping boy.

** Stephen Jackson gets the last word. Asked about the urgency to win during what Nelson says will be his last year (assuming he comes back), Jackson couldn’t help for laughing: “I love Nellie. I hear something different from y’all every week with Coach.”

— Geoff

Geoff Lepper

Geoff Lepper has covered the Warriors since 2005 for the Oakland Tribune and Contra Costa Times. Before that, he covered baseball and college sports for the Marin Independent Journal.

  • commish

    Wow, I’m shocked at you candor. I never saw that level of criticism in the CC Times or the blog all season long. I was so frustrated by the hype created by Mulson (especially Nellie)about Webber. I felt it was a gigantic smoke screen to avoid Cohan’s unwillingness to let Mully use the TPE to get us a player to help solidify a playoff berth.

    To win 48 games is amazing, but I feel our team overachevied because we (thank goodness)avoided any major injuries to of our mainstays. If Nellie felt we were undermaned, why didn’t he get managemnt to address these issue rather than relying on running our starters into the ground. How stupid a plan is that? And how stupid for Nelson to even admit that was his strategy. And what a state of denial Mulson created to not see what was really going on with the team under what Nelson now admits was his strategy.

    I can’t get over the juxipositon from your last two blog entries “Looking on the Bright Side” to “The End”. I thought maybe “Where Do We Go from Here” might be the next blog title rather than ‘The End’. With that in mind, how about something more uplifting from you guys like where do we go from here. Here here!!

  • Trade Peitrus

    Keep Al
    Trade your reserves like autstin n cj watson n put in potential stars like joey graham aran gray etc

  • JustPuked

    Great post Geoff, thanks for sharing. It’s nice to see the tradability of Harrington is seen as a realistic topic. Everyone knows the Warriors need a reliable post player in the worst way and Harrington, Baron’s probable expiring contract, the 10M TE and the probable 14th draft pick are the primary assets Mullin has to swap. We’ll see what he does…

  • mj