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Team Drama At It Again

The Al Harrington situation just turned another page. After playing just 16 minutes and scoring four points, coach Don Nelson threw Harrington under the bus. A question from S.F.’s Janny Hu started this brush fire, though all she did was ask about Brandan Wright. The result was Nellie vomiting his thoughts about Harrington:

Did Brandan earn himself more playing time?

“Well, absolutely. I think two things are going on here. Al wants to be traded, I think everyone knows that, and we would like to oblige him. We’d like to get a good player for him. He’s playing like he’s unhappy and I kind of feel for the guy because he doesn’t want to be here and it’s probably very difficult to really gear it up and play up to his ability.”

“I made a deal with him that I was going to play him as many minutes as he would want and I would have kept that word. But when he surprised me with going public with wanting to be traded, it’s made it pretty difficult for me and everybody else.”

“And he hasn’t been playing well to go along with it, so we might as well start making the change now. I think the people in the league know he’s a good player and know that if there’s a trade to be made there, we’ll make it. But our front line is young and some of the guys are on the bench a lot, but Brandan is ready to play more. So I’m going to play him, and I hope I’m not breaking my word. But I’ve kind of been forced to change the way I was going to go about the playing time with Al.”

“I thought there was going to be so many minutes between the four and the three that I didn’t have to worry about it. But if he’s not going to be here anyway in the future, we might as well start to think about bringing some of these younger guys along.”

“Now I’m only going to bring the guys along that are ready to play in an NBA game, so don’t get me wrong. And as I said before the game, Brandan is ready. I’ve held him back a few games where he probably should have played, but I think it’s to the point now where he needs to grow into his position and he’s going to be a member of our team and Al isn’t. So we have to face reality and go from there.”

Sounds like you really need to trade him now?


“I think Al will be traded, but we’ve got to wait until we get the right deal for him. But in the meantime, I have to bring his replacement along. I don’t know what kind of player we’re going to receive for him. It could be any position from one to five. We just want a good player in return.”

Do you feel you need to wait to see what Monta can bring when he comes back? Do you feel like you need to wait on trading Al to see what Monta can bring?


“We’ve told Al, and I told him this summer that as soon as we get a good player for him, I would trade him. I didn’t want it to go public, I thought it would be just between the two of us. But he made it public, I didn’t.”

“And so here I’m stuck in a situation where I don’t have a great team anyway, but I have a disgruntled player that I was going to play probably 40 minutes a night. And so I can’t keep my word on that anymore. We have to do what we have to do, we’ll wait until we get a good player. We’re not going to wholesale and all of a sudden just get rid of him, because he is a talented player and we’re going to have to receive something for him. But anyway, that will happen, Mully’s been working on it and when he finds the right thing that’s good for our team, that will happen.”

Exactly. Wow. So, Brandan Wright is in, Al Harrington is out. Sounds like Nellie’s going to cut Al’s minutes drastically until he is traded (inactive?). Is this a smart move by the Warriors? By Nellie? Or was Al killing his stock anyway with his last few games?
Anyway. So, of course, we went straight to Al:


Nellie said he’s going to give Brandan Wright your minutes?

“I’m a B-Wright fan. As long as he plays well, I’m happy for him. As far as me, whatever happens is what happens. I can’t control it. If just because of one game, that means he’s got to bench me, he’s got to do what he’s got to do.”

“As far as what coach said, I don’t care. If he wants to trade me, he can trade me. I’m not a contract that can’t be moved.”

He said you were disgruntled.

“Who am I disgruntled to? If you ask any of my teammates, I don’t say anything about being traded. I’m always about the team. … If I’m disgruntled, I don’t know who I’ve been talking to (about it).”

Is controversy over your trade request getting to you?

“It’s not like anobody’s shooting a great percentage. I had two rough shooting nights. I feel like tonight I didn’t have a chance to get into the flow or whatever. We went to the bench, the bench was a huge lift. Night’s like that, you’ve got to take your hat off to them and let them guys rock. They did a great job. I don’t know. Whatever is my future is my future. But when I’m playing in the game, I’m going to play as hard as I can.”

Then I went to ask Stephen Jackson what he thinks about the seemingly inevitable break-up between Harrington and Nelson. Harrington is one of his best friends. And Jackson is in awe of Don Nelson. I didn’t think he would talk. I thought he would duck the question or whatever. But Jax didn’t. He was candid, as usual:


Nellie said, pretty much, he’s done with Al. How do you feel about that?

“That hurts me. I love coach and I’m going to always love coach and respect what he says and he does because he is the coach and he knows more about coaching than me. I love Al. I’m going to be hurt to have to see him go. I can’t explain my feelings about this. It hurts. I just wish everything would work out and everybody get along, man. I don’t want to see him go. That’s my personal opinion.”


Can their relationship be repaired, or is it time to move on?

“Anything’s possible. Like I said, I really can’t speak on what’s going on or what’s going to happen. I just know how I feel about Al as a friend and as a brother and I know how I respect coach and what he does. I’m kind of torn. I’m in the middle. It’s just, It’s just, I don’t know. I’m at a loss for words about it.”


Can this team handle all this drama?

“Anytime there’s a cloud around things, if it’s not just about basketball, obviously it’s going to bother people. But it’s a business. Things happen. You go through injuries. You go through ups and downs. You go through trades. I think the biggest thing for us is we’ve got to be professional about it and regardless of what’s going on, we’ve still got to come and play and win games. That’s where we’ve got to keep our heads at.”

Can you carry this team in this environment, or is being “torn” hampering your ability to lead this team?

“It’s not as much can I. I have to. That’s how I look at it. Like I said, I love Al. Al’s like my brother, my blood brother. And, like I said, what coach has done for me and my career, it’s explainable. Like I said, I really don’t know. I love both of them and I respect both of their positions.”

Marcus Thompson

  • commish

    This blowup is a hot topic on a variety of Warrior blogs, and my response is consistently that Nelson should’t be coaching a young team with his idiodic stubborn streak of who gets playing time and who doesn’t. Harrington is a victim of the “culture of Nellie” where you are either “in” or “out”. He doesn’t teach team basketball with an emphasis on team play and a bench designed to play a lot of minutes so the starters get rest and support. I don’t blame Harrington for finally going off; he is tired of being an unappreciated outsider with Nelson’s pretty constant critical judgement of his play. I just hope we can get some good value for Al and he is happy wherever he lands.

  • Mr. B

    This kind of attitude from players like Harrington wanting to be traded and Monta filing grievance on a breach of his contract make fans not want to watch the NBA. The league should not tolerate this attitude.

    Monta admitting he was wrong does not mean he does not get fined. His absence is costing the team some wins and taking away from the fans.

    If I was Al, just act like a pro until he is traded and then move on. No need to say anything more and embarass himself.

    Monta should negotiate with the Ws and donate his fine to charity then the money is put to good use. Something positive come out of a negative situation.

  • earl monroe

    From Don Nelson, Warriors coach, general manager and future team president

    “We’ve told Al, and I told him this summer that as soon as we get a good player for him, I WOULD TRADE HIM. (shame on me for thinking Mullin was the general manager) I didn’t want it to go public, I thought it would be just between the two of us. But he made it public, I didn’t.”

  • Twinkie defense

    Commish, Nellie shouldn’t be coaching a young team? He just benched the veteran Captain – who hasn’t been playing well and who’s requested a trade – and is rolling with the youngster Wright, who took advantage of the opportunity when it was presented to him last night.

    That sounds like a good message for the youngsters – there are no gifts, your performance will determine your PT.

  • kit

    Harrington sucks! Can’t play D, can’t grab boards, lives behind the arc. Plays way too soft for his big body. We got enough guys that can shoot the 3 ball.

  • James

    Marcus,

    I think its time to take Al off your logo on the top of the page.

  • DS

    Harrington should have just kept his mouth shut to begin with instead of going to the press. Now his negative attitude will hurt the team, so I hope that Mullin does not wait too long dump him. Unless they package him with another player, they should not expect a superstar in return. Al just isn’t that good.

  • http://cctimes.com ECJ

    I completely disagree with Commish.. This situation is Al’s fault, all the way. C’mon, the guy demands a trade two days before the season starts, complains about his playing time, about the way he’s used, but he can’t cut it when he’s on the floor. He wants to be more than a perimter player, but he can’t make a post move or finish around the rim in traffic to save his life. He misses free throws in clutch moments. He’s not a very good defender. He’s just not good enough to make the demands he makes.

    Nelson is critical of his players.. so what? This is the NBA, not a rec league. The goal is to win, not to make sure all the players have fun. Al Harrington makes almost $10 mil / year. Shut up and go to work. If you don’t want the coach’s wrath, play better. Nelson IS critical, but not usually of good players who perform up to expectations. What Nellie lacks in social grace, he more than makes up for with basketball IQ and creativity. He’s old skool, and there’s alot to be said for the old skool mentality. He is on of a handfull of coaches who garners his players’ respect, and I think his resume speaks for itself.

    Hasta la vista, Al. Here’s to perpetual
    underachievement.

    ECJ

  • JustPuked

    DS…the word is the leak actually came from Bobby’s side of the house. So the discord between Al and Nellie on the “publicity” of this issue can be traced back to Rowell again.

    From Geoff Lepper:
    A source close to Harrington said last week when news got out that it did not come from the player’s camp, suggesting instead that someone inside the organization might have set the rumor mill in motion.
    http://48minutes.net/2008/11/06/nelson-harrington-wage-war-of-words/

    But let’s not let all this DRAMA overshadow Brandan’s great play (at least for one game).

    With all the controversy surrounding Nellie and his short rotations let’s point out that using HIS way of developing talent on HIS terms he’s done the following:

    Gave controlled minutes to Goose from day one and he’s a possible All-Star this year.
    Judiciously gave minutes to Scooter and he went from most improved to a game changer pre-moped.
    Sat and then traded Diogu and he’s still surfing pine in Indiana.
    Gave Kelenna minutes and he’s become a sixth man candidate.
    Sent POB to the D-League and now he’s getting DNP’s in Boston.
    Let Braces develop in practice until now, and he shows up with 18-13-3.
    Says Belinelli, Williams and Randolph aren’t quite ready for prime time.

    I’ve had my doubts on some of his calls along the way but in the end, he’s been right every time.

  • Ewok

    Nellie should know better.

    That comment formalized everything. But it should come at a better time.

    With BWright and AR showing promise and talent and Harrington not delivering despite of the chances given him, Nellie has the right to say what he just did. But he said at the wrong time and at the wrong venue.

    The Damage? There could be a tendency to polarize the team. There could be a certain effect on players like Jackson, etc., This could also bring down Harrington’s value and thereby make it difficult to trade him.

    To Control the Damage, Bring Mullin Back.

    Mullin has a great relationship with Nelson.

    Mullin knows how to use time and silence to his favor.

    Mullin understands what players go through being a player himself who once made a mistake in the past…

    Mullin commands respect in the league and this is important in terms of trade negotiations.

    On the other hand, Rowell’s egomaniac, impress the owner first before the fans nature should be controlled.

    He should realize that it is to his best interest and the team’s if he works silently on the sides..

    The Media, particularly, Tim Kawakami now calls him “Collosal.” Rowell’s ego is damaging the team. Even Monta’s situation got blown out of proportion. I heard from the grapevine that Monta is willing to get his walking papers as feels disgusted in the way he is being treated… and I don’t blame him. Why Rowell would’nt let it appears to me that not only he is inconsistent with his actions, but he wants control of Monta more than a win-win solution to the situation.

    Rowell is not a players advocate but an owner’s advocate.

    All these are just my opinion though.

  • Ewok

    To make my point clearly, Mullin would have controlled comments like this. Mullin would’ve been the channel to recieve questions from the media and to relay informations to them.

    Nellie made a slip and this comments were actually irrelevant to Harrington but BWright . This appears to me no one is in control with the organization’s release of information and Rowell should be on top of this.

    I guess by proxy, Nelson is acting as the GM now.

    Woe to Rowell.

    Just my opinion.

  • Eddie

    What’s in the water in the bay?

    Between the Raiders and the Warriors, you’re only missing one ring from the Three-Ring Circus.

    I’m a Lakers fan, but the Raiders are my team and when not playing the Lakers, I always root for the Warriors.

    What a differnce a year make!

  • http://www.bleacherreport.com Nuck Chorris

    It was actually a hotdog vendor that told Kawakami about the trade request from Harrington. Unless he is lying. How do we know it is someone in Rowell’s camp?

    Warriors need to trade Harrington and fire Rowell.

  • 15/70

    Marcus,
    Who asked the question…
    Nellie said, pretty much, he’s done with Al. How do you feel about that?

    I think that question is kind of baiting Al into a response. I think Al needs to know he is not going to play unless he can beat out BW.

  • gary

    This is just a bad team off to a bad start. Nellie has a huge job ahead.

    Here are some stats for you guys…..

    21st of 30 in assists per game.
    26th of 30 in fewest assists allowed per game.

    Bottom line…. they don’t pass and they don’t play defense.

    BTW, they’re 23rd in FG%.

    I know we’re just 5 games into the season but it’s …

    pretty pathetic.

  • http://Hotmail Matt

    Everyone chill out; commish realize that its BW time peroid!!!

    # 2
    When is the last time the warriors were this deep?? I mean seriously we have a young nucleus it is off the chain… were so deep that some of our young studs aren’t being rushed to play. OBTW Manta isn’t even back yet and we are still playing well. Now I’ll admit we should have won against Memphis.

    Al isn’t apart of the puzzle anymore, when is the last time we could have said a talented player doesn’t fit the puzzle??? Exactly my point, a long time ago Run DMC days.

    I am still hoping Marcus W will get into shape and play some PG; however he is a valuable asset

    For example

    Al Marco B and MW in a trade

    We still have

    C AB

    C RT

    PF BW

    PF? / RT

    SF CM

    SF KB

    SF Anthony R: Not NBA ready??

    SG Capt. Jack

    SG Anthony Morrow not NBA ready??

    PG Watson

    PG Nelson

    Ellis injured
    Richard H injured

    To recap the roster, we are still a quality team without the 3 players that I put into a Trade. Not to mention we have two players who are growing and who can help us down the road.
    Plus we don’t even have our best player on the court!!!!!!!!! Imagine if he was how many players would be complaining about PT? A ton!!!!!!

    This Roster reminds me of the Celtics team a few yrs ago a lot of young talent what they do?? Well the rest is history. What I am saying is the W’s have that option with all the talent they have acquired. Let’s just sit back and see what develops.

    Guys it’s ok to say a player needs to move on; it’s a business.

    To respond to the commish, about Nelly; Commish Nelly is the god father of the warriors…. End of discussion. He is coaching this team just fine.

    Rowell stop being a punk and sign Mully thanks.

    The W’s are masters of finding players from the NBDL
    KB
    Nelson

    I would like to see the W’s go after a PG
    Say a
    Raymond Felton?

  • blahblahblah

    Gary

    Nice sample size for those stats you just barfed out…and if you consider 2-3 a bad start, think about last years 0-6 beginning for a moment (and we ended up with 48 wins). Plus 2 of our 3 losses were close games where we were leading or within striking distance in the final 2 minutes.

    Not a bad team, and not off to a bad start.

  • gary

    Hey blah,

    Just citing some stats after 5 games. Don’t like what I see so far.

    No passing, no percentage shooting, no defense. Same or worse than previous years. And no point guard. And an unhappy starter (or former starter) who wants to be traded. Youngest team in the NBA. Add that to the mix.

    Just my humble observations after watching a few games…

  • Le

    Matt,

    Nice Post! Allow me to add to that: Trading AH, MB, & MW will also bring a pretty good player (PG?), making us even deeper.
    We said all pre-season how deep this team is. It’s still the same team minus Monta.

    Gary,
    I have to side with Blah on your post. W’s could easily be 4-1 right now. I admit, ball movement is not great and they took alot of bad shots, but that’s Warriors basketball. It brought us to the playoffs 2yrs ago and 47 wins last year. Those bad stats you posted are mainly due to one crappy game, Memphis.

    Santa,

    Here’s my X-mas wish list:
    1. Trade AH for a PG
    2. Fire Rowell
    3. Bring back Mully
    4. Trust Nellie
    5. Do what it takes to make sure Monte is a Warrior for the next 6yrs
    6. Andris makes the All-star team
    7. Warrior makes play-off
    8. A new pair of Jordan XII Blk/Red size 10.5

    That’s all.

  • gary

    Le & Blah,

    Stats don’t lie very often. Just making the point that the Ws have a long way to go this year. Nellie has his work cut out for him, especially without a strong PG, which is a pretty vital position. We have many low percentage shooters… no PG and no bangers.

    The Ws have so many weaknesses… and the West is stronger than ever.

    When your best player is SJax, I’m not optimistic.

  • Hank

    Handwriting on the wall: Mullin is a lame duck and then gone.Yeh!TK, his friend, perpetuates the drama, making a case every day for fans to hate Rowell.AH sits more. Team dynamics change with AB getting more touches;BW more putbacks and AB,BW and RT making it miserable for opposing teams in the paint,i.e.more defensive rebounds and blocked shots.AR eventually gets meaningful minutes because Nellie likes players with a mean streak. Warriors win more games than anybody thought. Rowell suddenly looks like Jerry West and Nellie is given the genius award for making an average-talented team winners.

  • http://Hotmail Matt

    I HATE ROWELL!!!! PEROID I HATE HOW HE WANTS ALL THE CREDIT FOR THE WARRIORS TURN AROUND!!!! did mully make financial mistakes yes but remember the fans wanted to sign Murphy and MD at that time.. and remember Mike M was the coach correct? so that wasnt mully’s fault that we got the warrior god father back in Don nelson… and a different scheme/ same thing with Patrick O’B….

    The paper said Rowell fired the assistant gm because he looked out for the players??? how the BD thing??? we moved on from it maybe the J Rich thing??? we got Brandon Wright… i hate how business people expect everything to be all good at all times… deal with it…. there is gunna be disagreements…

    Rowell stop being a little girl plz