Nellie vs. Harrington beef

Nice exchange between Nellie and his former starting forward, Al Harrington. As a recap, Harrington publicly requested a trade the day before the season opener, citing irreconcilable differences between he him and Nelson. The Warriors eventually obliged, sending Al to New York for Jamal Crawford on Nov. 21.
The two reunited on Nov. 29, when the Warriors played at New York. But tonight marks Al’s first return to Oakland, where he played nearly two years.
So, obviously, before the game, Nellie was asked about Harrington. Here is what he said (the questions were inaudible):

“I never knew it was a big problem. I knew he wanted to be traded. We were trying to do that anyway. He made it personal. It was never personal.”

“I understand why. It’s not a problem understanding why. But it was never personal. He made it personal between the two of us. It never was as far as I was concerned.”

“Money has a lot to do with motivation for players to move on. He was wanting to opt out and he needed to have a big year. He thought he was going to be the third-best player here and he wanted to be the best player. Good luck to him. He’s happy, I’m happy.”

“I thought he was going to have a good year, whether it was here or some place else. I thought we would probably trade him before the trade deadline. I just didn’t know when.”

Of course, the pack of reporters went straight to Harrington. Let’s just say he didn’t agree with the Nellie’s assessment.

Harrington (read the entire transcript on Tim Kawakami’s blog)

Nelson said you wanting to leave was about money—that you had the opt-out and wanted to be a bigger part of the offense in order to get a better deal.


Is that what happened?

“I guess that’s what he said. Me and him never had any of those conversations. I think he just made that up. You know him. I didn’t say that. Tell him he told me a lot, too.”

“I just didn’t see eye-to-eye with him. I didn’t like him. And he didn’t like me.”

He said he had no personal beef with you and that you made it personal with him.

“I guess I did. I did want to get traded. Maybe I did make it personal. But a lot of things he said to me were personal, too. That’s why I had to move on.”

Do you look at what Anthony Randolph and Brandan Wright are going through now with Nelson and think, yeah, I know that?

“Yeah, I know exactly what those guys are going through, you know what I’m saying?”

“I talk to B-Wright every once in a while. I just tell him to keep his head, try to stay positive and try to weather this Nellie Storm. Because he’s been known to, you know, ruin guys’ careers. So hopefully that won’t happen to those guys.”

You’re the one who said that once you get on Nelson’s bad side you never get away from that…

“Not really. You’ll go into his doghouse for no reason. It’s hard to figure him out. That makes it tough, because it’s hard enough playing against the opponent every night.”

“When you know you’ve got to play a mind game with your coach, too, it’s just not worth it. You know, the game is supposed to be fun. If you can’t do that, just do the best that you can to get out of that situation.”

Is having some success with the Knicks some vindication for you?

“Obviously I (have confidence) about the way I can play. He knew that. So I had to play well to prove that. But at the end of the day, I’m just free. Just playing with a clear mind, you have a coach who’s very supportive.”

Marcus Thompson

  • commish

    What else is new? Nelson is a controlling, egotistic and vendictive drunk who wants to win in every manner possible. He beat the crap out of Mullin, Harrington, POB, Marco and Wright last year, Wright and especially Randolph this year not to mention Marcus Williams. It is shameful this bully and tyrant gets two more years to torture players and lie to the media while mistreating the loyal and die hard fans. I’ve said it before and will say it again: he should NEVER be coaching this team; NEVER. But alas no one cares because he is a manipulative genuis and knows how to win and stay on top. Just ask the last two owners whose asses he sued and won.

  • ECJ


    Great opening line. However, you’re wrong about Nelson, or at least too hard on him, and unwilling to acknowledge his positive attributes. Nelson is controlling and knows how to win at every level? It seems to me those are good qualities for a head coach to possess. (See Bill Belichick, Bill Walsh, etc.) The list of players you mention deserved to have the “crap beat out of them”, they all sucked (Williams, POB), were inexperienced rookies not ready for the big time (Marco, B Wright) or were not willing to play the role assigned by the coach (Harrington, Randolph). Not sure how Mullin made that list.

    The fact is this: Nelson is an old skool coach, who believes that players should earn their respect, instead of having it handed to them. The whole league used to be that way, and the product was much better. Nelson is not a perfect coach, and I do wish he used his “project” players more, especially late in games when the W’s are ahead, but he does have the balls to stick to his guns, and run the team as he sees fit. He was open minded enough to allow Kieth Smart to run the defense, which has worked out well. He’s groomed coaches to succeed him (Avery Johnson), and he’s doing the same with Smart. He’s done a decent job with all the injuries this season, and I’m glad he’s stood up to Randolph. All the talent he has would be wasted if he doesn’t learn to play team basketball and do the little things needed to be a complete player.

    Nelson, as stubborn as he is, is willing to admit when his “experiments” don’t pan out; he’s willing to try different things to produce a winning result. He’s revolutionized the game. He deserves a little respect. Give the man his due.


  • Channing

    Good points ECJ.

    Nelson is one of the greatest NBA coaches ever. You don’t win nearly 1,300 games in this league if you don’t know what you’re doing. He’s definitely gotten a little old and crotchety. And yes, many of his moves seem bizarre. But game-to-game he’s managed to pull off some surprising victories and keep the Warriors close in others. Certainly beating the Celtics was huge, and scoring 144 on New York was awesome as well. Beating the Mavs in the playoffs two years ago was one of the all-time great coaching feats. And despite missing the playoffs the Warriors won 48 games last season. That’s quite an accomplishment in the tough Western conference.

    This season was scotched before it started with Monta’s motor-scooter incident. But give Nelson one more season with a complete roster and he can make fireworks happen. I’m not impressed when rookies and under-achievers like Randolph and Harrington criticize Nelson for not playing them. We KNOW FOR A FACT that Harrington wanted to pad his stats for his free-agency season and Nelson wasn’t willing to play along. He was too busy trying to win games. That sounds like a good coach to me.


  • I expect this gossip crap from Kawakami, Marcus, but you are really off your game if you expect your readers want to hear even more of this stuff. As several have noted, it’s old. More importantly, so what? Who cares if a coach disses a former player, and the player disses the coach. It means absolutely nothing. On the other hand, we saw a blazing performance by the Ws tonight, while missing three players who were starters a month ago, and this gossip is all you can come up with? Running your tape recorder back and forth between lockers rooms and thinking you’re another Bob Woodward because you asked a zinger of a question? I can’t begin to tell you how lame that crap is. If you were one of the players you so easily criticize, you would be D-League meat in Fort Wayne tomorrow.

  • feltbot

    ECJ, Channing, Mike: RIGHT ON.

    Is this really what you aspire to Marcus? Raking up muck, and selling it to fans? Joining Kawakami and Vecsey in their cesspool of human misery and hatred?

    You are missing the real story of this season. A special team is being formed, and developed, and seasoned right before our eyes by one of the great masters of the game. A team that is going to win a LOT of games next year.

    It would be a shame if you missed that story. Kawakami will miss it. He can’t help himself. He relishes creating misery. He knows nothing, and cares nothing, for the actual game between the lines.

    How about you?

  • Mal

    You know what, Nelson is not a “winner” as a coach because he hasn’t won ANYTHING. He has coached longer than most any coach in NBA history, and is probably going to win the most games [until Jackson passes him], but he is the ONLY coach in the top 10 in wins who has not won a title …. does that tell you anything ECJ ? Well it should … it should tell you that he is an egotistical, old, over the hill coach, hanging on for two reasons: First, to humiliate people who don’t belive in his weak ass coaching ability and to break the confidence of these young kids. Second, he wants to pass Lenny Wilkins. Oh, and the bonus reason is MONEY ….
    Nelson is not the coach for this team. Baron is long gone, so now he lets Jackson stay on the court the whole game [which is pointless] to pad his statistics. If Mullin was still in charge [and he should be!!] he would probably trade Jackson & Crawford and give the young guys a chance to develope into a team CAPABLE of winning in the playoffs [for a while] because Nelson is incapable of doing that. I think Mully seen this, and I have a suspicion he was planning to let him coach out his contract before Nelson and that Whack ass Jackson started kissing Rowell’s ass to get contract extension. Nelson looks worn out too … over matched and ready for a drink. I have to admit, he does look like a drunk.

    I think it’s time for Nelson, Jackson & Rowell to take hike, otherwise Nelson may ruin this team like he did in the 90’s. Unfortunately that owner has his head up his own ass … so he can’t see a damn thing.



  • earl monroe

    Nelson was his usual manipulating self, and its not pretty.

    #5 Mal- Very well said

  • Marques*

    As for Harrington’s success with the Knicks, Mike D has called him out publicly on two occasions for being a selfish player. Most recently, when the Knicks lost and Harrington got 39. Harrington said “it was a feel good loss.” Mike D: “He said that? Oh yeah, he had 39.” He has been harder on him in public criticism than Nellie ever was.

  • Don Engel

    Geez, how can you write, “between he and Nelson”? It;s “between him and Nelson.” It’s easy; just use the case you’d use without the second part.

  • Perspective

    As usual the truth about Done Nelson is somewhere between the slavish hagiography of Mike W and the bilious invective of ECJ.

    Don Nelson has coached too long to change his style. His style has worked for him to the tune of x wins (second most) and x losses (most ever). It hasn’t resulted in any championships in 30 years, but it has led to some scintillating experiences such as the Dallas series a couple of years ago.

    I think the thing that bugs the non-Dons is the total inconsistency in his treatment of players. His anointed ones (Stephen Jackson) play massive minutes regardless of the level of play while the rookies get yo-yoed in and out…mostly out (Morrow) for no apparent reason. And while Randolph hasn’t done much to match reality to potential, I’d venture that 110% of players (and most coaches) would say that the real learning comes from being on the court during games, not just practices.

    Nelson is a very complicated dude. Happy, I think, to skip to his own beat, not caring at all what anyone thinks of him. This quality can be a good one, but given his level of power in an organization, it can lead to the destruction of a team (Warriors 1), and the dissolution of relationships (seemingly Mullin).

    Nelson seems like Al Davis in many ways, both positively and negatively. I hope I am wrong, but it seems at this point in their careers, they are going to do things their way regardless of whether it is the right thing for the organization long-term or not.

  • Tom Paine

    It is not “between he and Nelson.” It is “between HIM and Nelson.” Object of the preposition is Objective case, not Subjective…

  • GregC

    Mike W:
    If you want a recap of the game please see the cogent and thorough summary Marcus wrote at http://www.contracostatimes.com/warriors/ci_11676442?nclick_check=1

    This is a blog. Blogs offer more opinion and a little bit more conjecture and talk. As a long suffering Warriors fans, sometimes the only thing that salve our scabbed over wounds is commiserating and talking amongst ourselves. Given their other responsibilities, we should be happy the two remaining major bay area newspaper Warrior beat writers (Janny Hu and Marcus) engage us in this pursuit and even attempt to publish regular blogs.

    Disgruntled former player coming back to play against his former team and former home town fans.

    That sounds like excellent blog fodder and news to me, especially when the two main parties TALK to the entire assembled media.

    As a fan, I am just trying to gain some insight into what the heck is going on inside the franchise I love so much and why it is so dysfunctional . Blogs are a part of that. I know there is a lot of conjecture,and Nelson can throw around a lot of blame, but all I am saying is “where there is smoke there is fire”; A lot of different people are saying the same things about Nelson, Rowell .et .al and it aint good.

  • Nellie ruins careers is the national headline for the team now. Nellie talked s__t, Al heard about it, Al was smarter and had his shot ready.

    Young Warriors like BRANDAN WRIGHT talk to Al still?

    Do the math, homers.

  • Jaysohn

    You know the old saying that two opposite things can be equally true, I believe thats what we have here between Harrington and Nellie. Harrington wanted out before the season started because basicly he didn’t want to continue to play Nellie’s crazy PF/C, 3 point shooting combination. So you have to ask yourself why? Yes money is an issue here. If you want the big money in the NBA you want to be around the 20 ppg average. Harrington was not going to achieve that being the 3rd option under Nellie having to play against centers and power forwards most nights. In New York he is lighting it up playing more of a wing position and being allowed to post up. But lets examine that situation. There is no number 1 option with the Knicks so Al is getting a ton of touches. Also they play absolutely no defensive, even less than the Warriors. And while the scoring numbers are great he is still a very inconsistent rebounder who plays terrible D. But his offensive numbers are up and he’s in the perfect situation to be the offense only player that will get him a nice contract either this year or next. I’m sure Nelson is probably one of the most frustrating coaches to play for. He plays favorites to an extreme with his guys Jackson, Baron, Maggette and Barnes while treating others, Harrington, Beidrins (2 years ago), Ellis (2 years ago), Morrow and Wright like a yo-yo. Your in and out of the lineup, yanked at times for no reasons until you earn his trust and confidence. Thats just the way he is and as a professional your expected to deal with it. As much as I want to side with Harrington whining for a trade in public and then quitting on your teammates by faking a back injury, I just can’t respect that. So both things appear to be equal and true, we are given the egomaniac coach and the selfish me first athelete.

  • Robert

    I guess i would win championships if i had Shaq, Kobe, Duncan, Hakeem, Jordan, Pippen, Magic, Bird on my team. Teams that win the championships will always have the best top 3 players of that yr. Nellie never had any of that. I would like to see Phil Jackson, Pat Riley, Rudy T, Greg P, or Billy Cunningham win a championship with the team Nellie had in the past. Trust me they wouldn’t.

  • OptimusPrime

    Nellie’s Dallas team was stacked. Nash and Dirk

  • Mr B

    Moving on… This is pathetic bickering.

    What is more sad is that picture of Harrington on the top.

  • ECJ

    Great point Robert.. Nellie has made a career out of making magic with overachieving players who were able to overcome their collective shortage of talent by playing into his unorthodox style of play. You have to assume that “Nellie-ball” would not have been necessary if Nelson had been blessed with teams of superior size and ability.

    Perspective, I love the vocab. I consider myself a wordsmith, but you take the cake, buddy. Well done.

    Chris Cohen, you are a cancer.

    Go W’s. Trade for Boozer or Amare. No undersized PF’s please.


  • Oregonwarriorfan

    Thanks ECJ, Channing, Perspective (and others.) I am a big Nelson fan as I have a pretty good memory of the long dry spells under a slew of other coaches. Now that the team seems to have stabilized with Monta back, Maggette playing great off the bench and home-cookin’, maybe some of the irrational invective towards the best GSW coach since Al Attles will go away. I also like the tone you guys have taken; makes it worth following this blog. The guys whose ‘fix’ is dependent on the Warriors winning the championship this year, need to get a grip.

  • Call Nellie tonight to ask him yourselves:

    808 KNBR from anywhere in the Bay Area.

    KNBR 680, 9 PM.

  • NotaNelsonfan

    30 years coaching, shit you better get wins.

    No championship rings as a coach. ZERO!!!!!!

    He doesn’t preach defense and points allowed proves that. He doesn’t have a legite half court game.

    I’ll admit one thing and so do all mostly all the NBA announcers (Kenny smith, Barklet etc..): Nellie’s offense is entertaining at most. His game plan is OUTSCORE the opponent, run and gun. It is exciting until the shooting goes South, and when you need a half court game.

    You gotta preach defense and rebounding too!!! Nelson doesn’t and you can’t rebound with small lineups!!

    Take a look at all the past NBA champs. Small lineups and run and gun did not win championships! Unless your thinking college years ago with Tarkanian and UNLV.

    Bringing Nellie back was good at the time to get back the fans and make the first round of the playoffs. but that’s it. We needed that at the time for the W fans. And that’s why Mullin brought him back.

  • GregC @ 13: I know what Marcus wrote in his news story. I also know his sidebar was about AH-Nelson. I even know this is a blog, with conjecture and opinion. Does any of that explain the 630 words that Marcus devoted to this stale gossip?

    Perhaps it comes as news to you that AH and Nellie are not best friends, and that they might say uncomplimentary things about each other. I think that was obvious four months ago when AH demanded a trade. What did we learn from Marcus’s transcript? Nothing except gossip. That was my point. If you enjoyed reading what these intrepid reporters learned as they bounced back and forth between locker rooms, fine. Stay with Marcus and his blog because his lazy style will get you the gossip. I will look elsewhere for actual news.

  • Steve

    As a LONG time Warriors fan I’ve come to greatly appreciate the few good times us Warriors fans have experienced over the decades, and guess what, those “good times” have all transpired under the coaching of one Don Nelson. The best teams Nelson ever coached were the Bucks of the ’80’s, but as good as those teams were the Celtics and Lakers of the 80’s were even better, and thus no championships. The rest of Nelson’s career has been all about taking on downtrodden franchises with little or no talent and turning them into exciting NBA teams. The run TMC days were fantastic but unfortunately instead of drafting a player oozing with talent and character that could have taken them over the top in time, they got a player simply oozing with talent. Chris Webber was a spoiled crybaby who wanted everything his way, and the betterment of the team be damned. If only Webber had had the smarts and character of a young Tim Duncan. Oh well. In Dallas, Nelson took the worst team in the league and turned them into perennial contenders. And now back with the Warriors he has once again turned the franchise around to where there is legitimate hope for the future. Gone are stiffs such as Patrick O’Bryant, Ike Diogu, Dunleavy, and Murphy (all drafted by WHO?). Richardson was traded for Wright, and Harrington was traded for Crawford, both excellent trades. Gone are Pietrus and Barnes, and may I say, good riddance. Azubuike and Watson were discovered in the D-League (great finds), Belinelli appears to be headed for better days, and worthy of his selected position in the draft. Morrow looks like a steal (undrafted free agent), not to mention getting a talent like Randolph with pick #14 last year. Were Turiaf and Maggette good free agent pickups? For my money, an emphatic “yes”. Did Biedrins and Ellis deserve longterm big money extensions? Yes! And Jackson the same? Seeing as how he’s the heart and soul of this team, a true leader, and clutch performer, yes, yes, and yes again. In other words, despite this season being cursed from the very beginning (Ellis’ accident), playing 24 of their first 38 games on the road, the endless string of injuries, and having the youngest team in the NBA, the Warriors have huge upside potential for the coming years. There is more talent, from top to bottom, on this team then I can ever remember for a Warriors team. Now it’s just a matter of keeping these guys healthy and together for the next 3-5 years and let them show what they can do as they gradually gain strength and weight (Randolph and Wright) as well as NBA experience. A free agent signing or two along the way, and who knows, Nellie might finally hoist the championship trophy that has so far eluded his grasp. At the very least, the Warriors should be a slam dunk as one of the most exciting NBA teams to watch for the forseeable future, and that ain’t half bad. Thank you, Don Nelson!

  • Eff you, Don Nelson.

  • Marcus Thompson

    Mike W,

    For you to think blogs is for any one type of information is a mistake. Some people love gossip. Some love news. Some love inside speculation and rumors. I try to put all of it up on my blog. There are a lot of mouths for me to feed, including yours. But sometimes, you just have to wait until your favorite dish is served while others chow down on their meal of choice.

  • AirplaneRider

    This is sad, I already removed TK’s blog from my favorites, but I can’t get away from the supermarket tabloid crap here either. As evidenced by some of the comments here, there are a lot of bored housewives out there who eat this stuff up.

    The Warriors are a winning and exciting team under Don Nelson. Given our history, that’s a huge accomplishment.

  • Winning? Exciting?

    More lameass team PR BS.
    Stay on that plane…..

  • AirplaneRider

    Yeah, did you jump on the Warriors bandwagon late or something? Did you miss the last two winning years? Have you not been watching the last few weeks where the Warriors are playing good ball and blowing out playoff teams?

    I’ve been a Warriors fan for 22 years. The only time during that era that we’ve had success is when Don Nelson has been running things. The people who hate him don’t have a clue.

  • BigGreen

    Well I don’t like Al Harrington or Don Nelson, they bith could leave as far as I am concerned. He needs to preach Defense first then offense.