Nellie Issued Crawford Ultimatum

So, the latest from behind the blue-and-orange velvet rope (I know some of you will hate the soap opera element of this blog post. Sorry). More details about Tim Kawakami’s post from early Friday.

Warriors coach Don Nelson — according to multiple team sources — in a meeting the day after the road loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Feb. 23, told guard Jamal Crawford that if he doesn’t opt out at the end of the year, the Warriors are going to trade him this offseason.

Yes, he actually told him that.

Depending on who you ask, it’s either a big deal, a sign of how chaotic the franchise has become, or no big deal, just a method of venting for an emotional coach.

Anyway, so after Nellie dropped this bomb on Crawford, he told him that he would sit him out some games in part to keep his average. (My personal opinion, it is true that he wanted to give the other guys more time, and Nellie genuinely thought he was helping Crawford by sitting him out instead of playing him sparingly and ruining his averages.)

The original plan, I’m told, was that Crawford would be the only one sitting out. But then Crawford’s agent blew a gasket when he heard about this development (which you read here). Nellie, in an effort to not look as if he was singling out Crawford, then came up with the rest-a-veteran fall-back plan.

In the grand scheme of things, does this mean anything? It does to Crawford, who is a bleeding-heart loyalist who cares about what people thinks and I’m told was shocked that he wasn’t wanted around anymore by Nellie.

Crawford: “I’m not even getting into that. Any conversation I have with the coaches or my teammates will remain private.”

Does it mean anything to the Warriors? It doesn’t to team president Robert Rowell. I asked him about it during the Pistons game. He waved it off as Manny being Manny … err … Nellie being Nellie — an emotional coach constantly contemplating how to make the team better. Rowell said Nellie probably didn’t go about it the right way and he doesn’t speak for management on this one. But he did say he is happy that Nellie is unhappy about being 21-41. He emphasized that he wants his coach to be bothered about losing and wanting to shake things up.

Rowell: “We’re closer to being a good basketball team than going he other way.”

Perhaps the most interesting part about all of this is that Nellie wasn’t operating under orders from management. Despite constantly saying he doesn’t want any part of general managing duties, that he’s just a coach, Nellie went rogue GM and issued Crawford an ultimatum. In and of itself, I personally don’t think it’s a big deal. It’s not the first time Nellie’s told someone they’re going to be traded, it’s not the last. It does raise some questions for me, specifically how this plays out in the offseason.

Say Crawford doesn’t opt out. Do they keep Crawford knowing that Nellie might not want him around? Do they trade him because the head coach doesn’t see him as a fit? Would they take less in return to move him (since trade demands – even from coaches – lower trade value)? Considering there is no good reason I can think of for Nellie to tell Crawford that, is there another factor we don’t know about that prompted him to do so?

Marcus Thompson

  • Thomas

    Hello 12 more years of no playoffs. Thank you Nelson, Rowell, and Cohan, you have really built something special here.

  • back2back51s

    Wow. Even after all the Nelson v. Harrington spat earlier in the season, hearsay and otherwise fact – did it ever come down to exactly that kind of face to face line? “You’re going to be traded next year if you don’t opt out on your own.” So Nelson is going to for lack of better term, “Harrington” Crawford too, the same guy that he was traded for?

  • Epic Suck

  • Norm

    Oh my god, this franchise ……….

    How about we trade Bob Fitzgerald? (Can’t stand him)

  • blah

    1) Nellie drinks too much.

    2) He uses unconventional ways to motivate players. Some times it works. Sometimes it doesn’t.

    3) Crawford won’t be Warrrior until he plays with heart like BD, Jack, Turiaf, and now Randolph. As soon as he does that, he’ll not only be a Warrior, he’ll be an all star.

    The kids got skill but he not the competitor that can lead a team to battle.

  • jb

    Jamal seems like a genuinely nice guy. His play as of late hasn’t looked that great, and this probably explains that. Jamal seems like the sensitive type. Meaning I think he wants to fit in, he wants to play well, wears his emotions on his sleeve… IF Nellie truly did say that to Crawford, then I definitely see how it would effect his play on the court. He’s trying too hard. Its tough to handle business and personal matters and IF all of this occurred, he’s handling it well.

    As personable as Nellie seems, his tactics/techniques/ways of thinking are extremely unconventional.


    And Marcus I know I replied on your previous post, but what is with all these injuries? I can’t remember seeing a team being so injury plagued.

  • RCG

    What’s the big deal? It should be apparent to everybody, including Crawford, that a back court of Monta and Crawford will not work. It had no chance when Crawford was acquired and nothing has changed. You can’t have two guys starting in the back court who play zero defense. One of them has to go and Monta should not be the one. The Warriors need Crawford’s salary in a rebounding big man. It’s pretty simple and Crawford should just accept it and move on. My only concern is that the Warriors brought him in at all. He just does not fit the roster now that Monta has shown that his career is not over. And yes, Monta has shown that.

  • B

    It sickens me to even see a quote from Rowell. We should have jettisoned Nellie the moment we lost Baron. Hmm, something feels familiar here. Side with the coach (the same exact coach), locker room a mess, star player jettisoned… Where has this occurred before?

    Where o where has Mully gone?!

  • Dave

    Marcus, Nelson is out of control. Crawford isn’t the greatest off-guard around, but he doesn’t deserve to be treated like this. Nelson obviously has no tact and understanding of people’s feelings at all, and these incidents with Ellis, and Randolph make it clear that Mullin had all the respect of the players, and Nelson was just a watchdog. With Rowell saying that Nellie does not speak for management just shows how little control he has of his staff, and how incompetent and foolish Rowell and Cohan look.

  • Sleepy

    Actually RCG an backcourt of Crawford and Monta could work and do well. Whats obvious is that backcourt would never work with jack.For the warriors to have success with that backcourt you have to put them on the attack. The perfect small forward for that backcourt would be someone like Marion who likes to fill the lane and finish plays not initiate them. Monta or Crawford gets the ball and instead of filling the lane Jack is running towards them to get the ball so he can iso.

    The crazy part looking back on this trade now is that Crawford didnt ask to be here .He was averaging 20 pts and 5 assist and shooting over 43% from both 2 and 3 but agreed to play the point.

    I hope we get this sorted out although someone should mention to Nellie that he does get his money regardless of where he is traded so I dont know how effective that conversation could be . lol

    No guards in the nba play any defense straight up. The best teams are the ones with the best team defense. With the no hand checking any good guard that wants to beat his man will and if you dont have a solid scheme like Boston you are toast.

    Its no surprise the best defensive teams are the ones with the most bigmen who can play straight up post defense,rotates well to help and rebounds well.

  • Livermore Joe

    Nelson isn’t unconvetional. He’s erratic. Anybody ever had an erratic boss? Not loads of fun.

  • A’s in 2009

    TELL THE WHOLE WORLD!! Tell the whole world Nellie is sitting Crawford “to keep his average” stats up. I mean.. this can’t help Crawfords value around the league, can’t push him to opt out. WE should have kept this on the down low. Don’t you think? 😡

  • lobo

    everyone can save their keystrokes just realize this is one of the most disfunctional teams in all of sports from the top down. really a shame…..those who have seaon tickets are fools to renew….tickets will be cheap if you care to see a game…why line the pockets of this sick group…stay away…one of the two top boobs will get the message quickly..the inflated “announced” attendance figures is one of the first signs that there is trouble ahead,

  • Concerned Parent

    This season has long been gone to the DUMPSTER. Even before the season started. Only MINDLESS SUCKERS will go to see the game.

    Better enjoy your family and stay out of the Warriors game. Don Nelson and this Warriors management are HORRIBLE examples of bad leadership for our growing future.

  • Hey blah,

    Baron is a poon. Seen a Clippers game this year? That heart was all a contract push act.

    Jackson…. same deal.

    Some fans still won’t give up their testosterone-infused Hoosiers-y mythological religion.

    This league is about cash and discipline.

    Some players know they won’t get the latter without a touch of the former now and then. The Spurs don’t waste their time with guys like that (Jackson). The Spurs were right about Jackson. 100% right. They got the best he’ll ever give. First idiot to rattle off empty stats on a s__ty Nellieball team this year can go be an Atlanta Hawks fan, circa 2003-04.

  • Mullin’s going to come out ahead on this.
    I hope the San Jose Kings hire him.

    Mullin was stupid stupid stupid his first 2-3 years.
    THen he seemed to figure a few things out and we looked good. Then ROWELL happened.

    Like internally ridiculed Warriors cast-offs Otis Smith (now runs Orlando) and Rod Higgins (building something in Charlotte with a Hall of Fame DEFENSIVE coach) before him, this honest guy with good league cred and a shot at clearing a few rocks out of his head should do well with the straightforward approach to players and agents.

    Mullin is not amazing talent, like Baron Davis wasn’t a first class All Star talent in the final analysis, but both may have been difference-making, mishandled talent.

  • Swopa

    Kind of curious that Marcus tagged this post with “Baron Davis,” isn’t it?

    Does Nellie perhaps have an idea who he can trade Crawford for?

    Did Baron say anything to Nelson about wanting to come back?

    FWIW, if you traded Crawford for Baron, you’d have the core of the “We Believe” team back with Maggette instead of JRich and Randolph instead of Harrington (plus Turiaf off the bench).

  • Monte wants to leave, Davis took off, Harrington wanted out, Crawford is unhappy??? See a pattern? Don (no D) Nelly did this the first time when he broke apart a good Warriors team. Now he’s doing it again. Why do you Warrior fans believe in Nelly? He has NEVER won a championship as a coach. His style is crap. Offence puts fans in the stands (like all you blind Warrior fans) Defence wins championships. There’s nothing funnier then Warrior fans yelling D-Fence in a game…LOL They made the playoffs because the Clippers choked 2 years ago. Last year they choked when they needed to win at the end. This year is the 80’s all over again when Webber, Hardaway and Richmond all were gone. Until Nelly goes the W’s will stay what they are. This is one fan who will not give the Warriors anymore of my time until Don (No D) nelly goes…

  • Grant

    shoulda kept the 2006-2007 warriors team but with a little more depth. PERIOD

  • justafan


  • gowarriors

    Did anyone think that Crawford was here to stay?

  • GregC

    The inmate (Nelson) is running the asylum.

  • The season ticket packages are pushing the youth thing.
    But the whole “youngest team in the league” things is BS.

    Here’s your top 7 minutes guys for this year:

    Jackson 31 next month
    Maggette 29, 30 at season start
    Crawford 29 in 2 weeks
    Turiaf 26
    Azubuike 25, 26 in December
    Watson 25 next month
    Biedrins 22 now

    AVERAGE: 27 now, effing 28/29 before Nellie’s gone!

    Kurz 24
    Davidson 24
    Belinelli 23 in 2 weeks
    Morrow 24 before next season

    The only serious lotto talent kids are Randolph, Wright, and Biedirns, and it’s been impossible to get a straight play of either of them.
    When they have hit the floor, they’ve been great. Nellie tried a trade showcase of Wright, he was great, now he’s 100% healthy and being told to stay away?!

    Portland and OKC are the league’s true young teams, Memphis too.
    We’re old, tired, and played.

    This franchise is total effing bulls__t.

  • Ewok

    It is clear that no one is in charge as everybody now wants to be in charge. Front office wise.

    Nellie crossed his line. When he keeps doing things like this, the more I tend to give Mark Cuban some consideration about his misgivings with the Man.

    Nellie, if you are reading this, your job is to coach and develop the team and not to be involved with politics.

    Crawford contributed a lot and he gets this type of treatment in return? Perhaps the latest about Monta Ellis actions have justifications afterall.

    Nellie, You broke the RUN TMC, You broke the Sprewell, CWebb tandem, you broke the BDiddy era, now you are going to break this team again?

    It seems to me every team Nellie touched became The most disfunctional but talented team in the NBA and that includes Dallas.

  • simon
  • NotaNelsonfan

    I’m so glad that most of us don’t think much of Nellie!
    Sick of hearing the pro Nellie guys saying Nellie is sooo good of a coach. These guys are comparing Nellie to past W’s coaches, PJ, St Jean etc… Shit! Get real.

    Nellie will surpass Wilkens in wins but like most of said he NEVER won a championship. Yes Pro Nellie guys Nellie is a good coach compared to PJ and others but if that’s the case how do you compare Nellie to Phil Jackson, Riley, and even Doc Rivers?

    If Nellie is soo good why didn’t the Celtics org. ever consider Nellie coaching them 5 year or so ago when the Celtics were struggling?

    Nellie ball is and I will admit entertaining at most, only when the shots are going in. But he has no half court offense at all and does not preach defense.

    I agree 100% with #18. Offense entertains but DEFENSE WINS GAMES.

  • Mr B

    If the story about Nelson advising Crawford to opt out is true, then it does not make any sense.

    How would these “sources” know about a private conversation between the coach and his employee.

    Seen this with Kawakami in the past – drama for sake of drama.

  • I really liked the way they came off