15

Report Cards: Management

Now is a good time for a thorough, honest evaluation since there has been time for emotions to subside and reflect on the entire season.
Let’s start with the decision makers, which primarily include Robert Rowell and Chris Mullin.

HIGHLIGHTS:
*Shed $10 million by trading Jason Richardson and got Brandan Wright and a $10M trade exception in the process
*Did not resort to past bad habits and overpay to keep free agents. By not offering lucrative deals to Mickael Pietrus Matt Barnes, by not giving large extensions to Baron Davis and Andris Biedrins, the Warriors are in a good position to make moves this offseason. They have the flexibility to keep Monta and may get bargain prices for Biedrins and Davis because of the market.
*Put Nellie in his place by not giving in to his demands, which means another dramatic hold-out is unlikely (better believe Nellie would do it again if he knew he would get what he wanted)
*Did not panic at trade deadline and use their $10M exception to take a bad contract. They now have it to use through the draft, which is probably the best time to use it all along.
*Wisely decided not to keep the Patrick O’Bryant experiment going
*Got good value at No. 18 in the draft in Belinelli

LOWLIGHTS:
*The Chris Webber fiasco
*Putting together a suspect bench for Nellie
*Failed to nab Kevin Garnett!

Advertisement

I differ a bit from my colleague, Geoff Lepper, who gave Mullin a C+. I think his poor bench construction wasn’t that big of a deal. Instead, I think he understood that this year was a giveaway, that even if they made the playoffs, they wouldn’t do anything. It looked to me as if he made a strategic decision not to invest too much in the bench and keep the salary cap problems under control.
I do agree with Geoff in that the C-Webb signing was a complete joke.
GRADE FOR MANAGEMENT: A-

What grade would you give Mullin & Co.?

Marcus Thompson

  • sad jose

    B

    Could be an A, a lot depends on what happens this summer.
    Still, there was no one- no one in all this basketball playing world- who could help our poor bench?

  • gswbandwagon

    If the season was a “giveaway” then they approached it horribly. They went all out for the 8 seed. If they weren’t trying to win, why not give Wright 20 minutes a game? Why not play Belinelli some? Why bring in guys like Hudson and Mbenga instead of taking a shot to see if Lasme would develop into a usable bench player? Why not give Biedrins more minutes (which would’ve helped with the winning as well)?

    Put Nellie in his place? Seriously? They caved. He wanted money guaranteed and they gave him both years. Notice how again its Nellie deciding whether to come back. He’s tired but he might want to make another run at it. He’ll decide soon after the draft. Same song and dance as last year except now Nellie has his entire contract guaranteed already.

    Management (see Cohan, Chris and IRS, tax evasion) was cheap. They had a $10 million exception and did nothing with it. They told Nellie to go for the 8 seed, so he went to war with basically 5 or 6 NBA rotation quality players. There were All Star bigs available for 30 cents on the dollar (Garnett) and free (Gasol). There were vets available on the waiver wire and trade fronts that had expiring contracts. Sam Cassell is just one example of a guy who could’ve been had for nothing and could’ve given Baron a breather and mentored Monta. Instead we went with CJ Watson.

    Also, O’Bryant goes in the minus column. They draft a project 7 footer. After 1 year they decide he’s going to be worthless the rest of his basketball life, which is kind of strange considering he didn’t get a chance to show anything on the court and was known to be a project coming in. But they had used a lottery pick on this guy a year earlier and then they turn that lottery pick 7 footer, one year into his NBA career, into a non-asset. Why? Why not pick up his 3rd year option, pretend he’s developing wonderfully, and shop him around the league and see if you can’t get a draft pick for him? Why turn something of value (lottery pick 7 footer) into a molding turd?

    The last time they dumped a borderline All Star for salary flexibility they quickly blew it on the likes of Foyle, Fisher, and Murphleavy. Now they give away Richardson, albeit this time getting a good pf prospect back (who they’ll hopefully actually pick up the 3rd year option on). The Richardson trade, if handled well, was a strong move. Not locking up dumb long term contracts was smart but partially only done because Cohan has no intention of paying the luxury tax even though he’s in one of the biggest markets in America and makes millions in profit off the team even when it wins 20 games.

    Grade: D (possibly improving as Wright improves)

  • petaluman

    #2
    I’d love to see your team financial details. If the Warriors are that profitable, it needs to get lots of press. Maybe the team can attract a buyer who has and will use deeper pockets.

  • Bwright Side

    We didn’t make the playoffs, you can’t give them an A.

    If we made the playoffs despite all the penny pinching then I would give them an A for sure. But we didn’t. The JRich trade was the Wright thing to do, but they needed to use the trade exception to get a solid bench player. I agree with Lepper about the bench. We didn’t need a JRich caliber player, we only missed the playoffs by a game or two, there were some good players with expiring contracts out there that were attainable. They needed another move, we were so close.

  • sincewilt

    C, I’d say. Biggest mistake after which all pale, was trading J-Rich this year, when we could ahve used him (how many of the first 6 would we have won, how much wear and tear would we have saved on BD ME and Jax and how many mroe games would we have won). We ned the trade and salary relief NEXT year and Wright was no help tot he team throughout this year. Mullin threw away the playoffs and perhaps a conference-winner.
    Second, trading Foyle a while ago, when that salary would have gotten us Gasol.
    Good marks for haing identified ME, keping Nellie sated, etc.
    Nellie gets a “C” for exhausing (again) his players, not setting a normal rotation especially for BD (say first 9 mins, break, last 9 of each half).

  • MountainJim

    Marcus has it about right, imo. The bench problem was a function of being inexperienced and of picking the wrong couple of vets at the start of the season. I didn’t like the Hudson signing, and it turned out miserably. Even if he’s not been hurt he wasn’t going to help. Croshere seemed like a good move, and if he’d been healthy he would have helped a lot. The big issue was not getting a vet PG who could run a team and spell Baron when he was (a) tired or (b) Bad Baron the ball-pounding shot jacking guy showed up. I knock Mullin down for the vets, but not for the inexperience. The guys who weren’t experienced should be good players.

    I liked the Richardson move. How I’d grade it depends on what they do in the offseason with the exception, but I’d rather have Wright than JR right now.

    Anyone grading down based on O’Bryant is either one year or two years late. Paying a guy because you might be able to trade him only makes sense if you can get something useful back. No one is going to give up anything useful for O’Bryant. He’s still a project, if you want to be kind about it.

    I have to say I love the argument that the Warriors were cheap by not picking up Sam Cassell, who could be had for nothing. Huh?

  • manhattanproj

    first off, it wasnt like it was w’s choice whether to pick up sam cassell or not. it was cassell decision where he want to go. do you want to play for a championship contender or a fringe playoff team? c’mon, common sense.

    one thing that i dont like about mullin is that it seems like he doesnt have a vision of how he wants to shape a team. i think a gm should know what kind of team he thinks would be successful and get a coach that fits in with his concepts. to me, it seems like mullin has no vision/philosophy of how to build a team. when monty was here, mullin drafted big guys low post guys, diagou, pob, kosta. then when nelson was here, he went after mobile athletic guys like wright and lasme. he also traded murph, , diagou, dunleavy, j-rich because nelson dont like those guys. shouldnt gm be the one that’s building the team and not let the coach or player dictate what he does. danny ferry is another example of that, he allows lebron to dicatate what he does. that’s not what a gm should do.

    i’m just not sure if mullin has what it takes to be a good gm. look at guys like colangelo, they themselves are the ones that determining the outlook of a team and hiring coaches that fits with their philosophy.

    here’s something else to think about: if w’s didnt trade for baron davis, we possibly could have gotten either deron williams or chris paul. no problem with the davis trade but the other two are younger and cheaper.

  • JustPuked

    Hey Marcus, I basically agree with your assessment but I’m grading a bit harsher.

    A lot’s been made of a “disconnect” between Nellie and Mullin. Mullin build a team of youth and cast-offs on the cheap to get ready for this off-season. Meanwhile Nellie refused to play the youth and burned out his vets going all out for the playoffs. On the surface it makes sense but in the bigger picture, the team broke records in season ticket sales. The late playoff push helped the team convince a large percentage of those new season ticket holders to re-up for next year. That’s just smart team management.
    http://www.mercextra.com/blogs/warriors/2008/04/15/the-end-warriors-116-suns-122/#comment-57444
    I don’t see how that has Nellie and Mullin on different pages and Mullin’s willingness to back Nellie up all season only shows he’s learned how to play the game.

    The J-Rich trade has been talked to death. If you really believed last year’s squad plus a post player available for the MLE would have been enough to make hay in this year’s playoffs (which I don’t) then you could almost make the argument to keep him. But to have basically the same team, that can barely even make the playoffs, and then go deep into luxury tax territory to resign Monta and Andris, just isn’t judicious long term thinking. That move alone (assuming we resign BOTH of them) gives Mullin a C.

    Mullin obviously swung for the fences in the alleged attempted trade for KG. It didn’t happen and he went plan B: Build a team around a group of promising young players. It still remains to be seen if Ellis, Biedrins, Wright, Belinelli, Perovic and Azubuike are worthy of that faith but the short term results are promising.

    Looking back over Mullin’s resume, he showed glimpses of skill all alone. Skipping past his initial contract blunders (I know), Biedrins was a great pick in a deep draft. Ike was a reach (Bynum!!!) but Monta was a steal. POB was a miss but there weren’t too many other choices. The Davis trade showed Mullin was starting to get it. The Nellie hire was inspired and definitely increased the learning curve. The Indiana trade showed Mullin was a now a player as a GM. Last summer’s thrifty and hardnosed negotiating was for me, Mullin’s coming out party. He made clear then (if you were paying attention) that the Warriors were going to rebuild and that Ellis and Biedrins would be the foundation. Seen as a whole, for this year I have to give him a B+.

    Of course, this summer is when the real drama should happen….

  • http://Docudharrma Wdharma

    Interesting point on the TPE, is it valuable enough to trade up a place or two in the draft?

    I’ve been reading about it all year and STILL don’t really know what the dang thing can be actually used for!

    Anybody? Beuller?

  • gswbandwagon

    It was the Warriors’ choice to not pick up Cassell. He was on waivers and the Warriors could’ve claimed him. They didn’t, no one else did, and he became a free agent and signed with Boston. If they claim him, he’s a Warrior unless a worse team puts in a claim (and Boston certainly doesn’t qualify).

    The profits (several million per year even when we were winning 30 games a year) are noted in sporadic articles. The last series was probably when it came out that Cohan was being sued for something like $150 million by the IRS. The Warriors are in one of the biggest markets in the country and are always in the bottom half of the league in payroll. I didn’t complain much when there was nothing to spend on, but we had a good team this year that died with a month to go because Cohan wouldn’t shell out for a bench.

    Think about it, Cohan was making money when we were losing. Attendance was always good, but now its through the roof and getting higher. I got an email from a Warriors ticket sales guy mentioning that they expect to sell out the entire season next year. Ticket prices are up. You see a lot more Warriors merchandise out there now than in at least a decade, so sales of that are likely up. The Warriors are under the luxury tax so they still get a payday from there. TV deals tend to pay more over time so income is up there as well. I haven’t noticed the beers, hot dogs, or parking getting any cheaper.

    As for selling, I recall reading that he’s been approached by Larry Ellison, one of the richest people in the world, and Cohan rebuffed Ellison.

    As for O’Bryant, he should’ve been retained. At worst he would’ve been an expiring contract which has value. Plus he’s still a 7 foot prospect. One year after being drafted in the lottery as a project 7 footer he suddenly has absolutely no value? No one would’ve given us even a 2nd rounder to take a chance on him? And yet we give Kosta Perovic a multiyear deal? Makes no sense.

  • JustPuked

    Kosta and Biedrins have the same agent…

  • Ewok

    In my opinion, the grade isn’t due yet until this coming draft time.

    We have the ingredients of an excellent bench with Bellineli, Perovic, Watson and Wright but they have yet to show their wares and this off season is the right time to address that.

    Keep Kelena. He has gained so much confidence this year. Pietrus is a keeper too. That is if he motivated and inspired.

    Get Beasley, Kevin love or Arthur this coming draft. Anything less is uncivilized. Rebounding and passing.

    Factors we hoped to get from Webber.

    Im inclined to get Arthur and Love because they like to get physical. Beasley is not a bad choice but he is more of a showtime guy a dunker for that matter, and I don’t know if he will be a good fit with Nellie’s system.

    The Core of the team remains to be BD, Monta, Stack Jack, Beans.

    Harrington is sort of a mystery to this day. He is very much like Clifford Robinson. Clifford however, can lock down on any big man in the league, defensively. We need that from Harrington.

    Matt Barnes, Patrick O’ Bryant are gone.

  • kevin murphy

    i think just puked hit nail on the head

  • DieHardWarriorFan

    I would give Mullin a B. This team should have been a playoff team, if it wasn’t for Nellie not giving the bench more run way back in October when Captain Jack was out. We could have saw back then who was capable of providing consistent mins off the bench, and who wasn’t. At the trade deadline, Mullin could have possibly done something about it. One thing I will criticize Mullin on though is not getting a veteran shooter for this team. Someone like a James Jones in Portland. Phoenix practically gave the guy away to Portland last season. (If i’m not mistaken he’s a FA this offseason). With the Warriors style, and with the fact that we led the league in 3 point attempts, we should have SOMEONE on the team that can cosistently shoot the 3 at a high % (at least 40% or higher). Right now, all we have on this team are streaky shooters but, no great shooters. That’s why on some nights they would shoot the 3 at a high % as a team, and on other nights it would be 5 for 25 as a team. Let’s face it, it was very hard for the W’s to win when they didn’t make any 3′s this season. This weakness must be addressed along with a consistent low post presence this offseason.

  • Marcus

    I think some of you guys are too far in the forest to see the trees. You are looking at the failure to make the playoffs THIS YEAR. It looks to me like Mullin is planning for a CHAMPIONSHIP in the future.
    Every move I expected him to make, based on history, that would’ve been a step backwards for a championship but a step forward for making the playoffs, he didn’t do. If he did, I would’ve been killing him while some of you would’ve been giving him an A.
    The point is, even if the Warriors were going to make the playoffs, they weren’t going to do anything. That became even more clear at the trade deadline.
    We’re talking about the same management that gave Dunleavy $45 million, Murphy $58 million, Richardson $70 million. They took the risk and held off on signing Ellis and Biedrins and did not cave into Nellie’s salary demands. Do you know how much that is going to save them this offseason? What if they did sign Biedrins to Kaman’s deal, which was $55 million? They would’ve lost a boat load of money that could’ve went on the outside help they desperately need. Have you seen the pending free agent market? It’s not looking good for restricted free agents right now. There are a ton of free agents out there, restricted and unrestricted. Supply drives prices down.
    What if they kept Jason Richardson? What if they went out and got Mike Miller, who has like two years, $19 million left? What if they traded for Chris Wilcox, who is getting $6.7 million next year? How would that hurt the future budget?
    I give Mullin credit for recognizing that this team, as currently constituted, will not win a championship. Even if they re-sign Monta and Andris, even if Baron sticks around, they still need help. If Mullin didn’t see that – which he didn’t before, when he thought the core of J-Rich, Murph and Dunleavy was good enough to get it done – then he would have a much lower grade from me.