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New GM Aftermath

I meant to do this yesterday, but I was swamped with something else. My bad.
There were a number of interesting things to come out of the press conference, most of which I couldn’t touch on in my story.

A couple of items were swept under the rug, I think, by the Warriors:


* Rowell intimated he dropped Mullin because the Warriors reached the playoffs one time in five years. That struck me as poor reasoning at the least.
Mullin took over before the 2004-05 season.
2004-05: 34 wins. Not good, but acquired Baron Davis.
2005-06: 34 wins. Still not good.
2006-07: Brought in Nellie. Brought in Jackson and Harrington and dumped Murphleavy. They won 42 games and snuck into the playoffs. Members of the organization have pointed out that the Warriors barely got in, almost as if to diminish it. But it’s still and eight-game boost and THEY GOT IN. By every measurement, that was an improvement.
2007-08: Won 48 games. Most ever for a team that didn’t make the playoffs. No question an improvement. Some in the organization says it doesn’t matter, they didn’t make it. I guess I can see that, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’tt an improvement.
2008-09: Mullin faded to the background. Bad season. Not good.

Now, to me, when you look at that body of work, especially in light of history, and say that Mullin didn’t do at least a pretty good job. Are there reasons to not bring him back? Sure. One of them is because they simply don’t want him back. But to say it’s because they made the playoffs one in five years, that was suspect to me.

To be fair, Rowell nor any other Warriors official want to say anything bad about Mullin. Perhaps classy. But it is not classy to shoot BS to fans.

The Warriors have made the playoffs once in the last 15 years, nine of which Rowell was a big wig. That means a lot of people should be gone if that’s the standard.

I think the problem was Mullin didn’t fit was his bosses thought a general manager should be. Period. If you are going strictly off resume, you have to qualify the first two years and those early moves with Mullin being a rookie GM, as you qualify Anthony Randolph’s turnovers. Then you look at the next two years, and there’s no way you say this guy wasn’t at least getting good. He had strengths and weaknesses, good moves and bad moves. If it were about the moves, Mullin should’ve been canned a long time ago. It had more to do with management style and philosophy about how the GM of an NBA team should operate. Not one playoff in five years.

* Rowell said titles are just titles. But I find it … interesting … that Riley is the general manager and not the executive vice president of basketball operations. EVP is a goal in the Warriors organization. There are only a few. It’s the highest you can get before bumping into the sole of Rowell’s shoes. It says something that the new head basketball executive has the same title as Rod Higgins, who was under Mullin when he was here.
Riley got a three-year deal, according to team sources. My colleague, Tim Kawakami is reporting that Riley is the lowest paid GM in the league. It says something, IMHO, about what the Warriors feel about the power of that position. Travis Stanley, the executive vice president of team marketing, is higher up on the Warriors’ organizational chart than the top basketball executive, who determines the product on the court.

* Rowell said he looked at others, including outside the organization, to replace Mullin

* Riley and Rowell spent a lot of time trying to establish Larry Riley as his own man. I believe he is. But I don’t think that’s the end of the story.
Riley won’t have to counter Nellie because he thinks just like Nellie. He’s been under Nellie’s wing for the last nine years. Whatever disagreements they have, if any, will be minute because he will already be thinking what Nelson is thinking. Riley said as much:

“Now, does Nellie dictate my life? No. Is he a good friend? Yes. Do I listen to him? Yes. If I have to make a counter-decision, I’ll make it, based on the information I collect. I don’t see that happening.”

I do agree with one point they made. It is better if the GM and coach trust each other. There is evidence of that around the league. The Warriors need a drama-free season in the front office, and there won’t be between the two.

I don’t think Riley will be taking orders from Nelson. But I also don’t think he’ll have to. So, in essence, if Nellie isn’t running basketball operations, it will be like he is.

* Riley brought up his stint with the Vancouver Grizzlies. I totally think he overestimated the concern about his resume.

* I personally got a kick of how they passed of Nellie as the emotional grandfather/coach.

ROWELL:
“You’ve got to understand that I’ve got a 69-year-old head coach, in fact, he’ll be 69 on Friday. He’s been in the league for 45 years. He’s got over 30 years of experience as a coach. He’s got a .565 winning percentage. He’s going to be the winningest coach in the NBA with 24 wins next season.
And of course, yes, he’s quirky he’s unconventional, he’s stubborn. He hates to lose. But he’s a heckuva coach.
So when I’m looking at a person that I want to put in position to be our general manager, to lead our organization, I need someone that understands our coach and understands what’s necessary in order for us too provide him the tools to win.

If they are seriously viewing Nellie that way, it’s a good thing. He is fiesty. He is emotional. Which means he can’t be the one making decisions or running the show. You Warrior fans better hope they’ve figured that out.

Marcus Thompson

  • Gunner

    Hell yeah! I was from Vancouver and I look forward to Larry Riley bringing us a Big Country clone. I just can’t get away from this b-ball curse! Heck, maybe he’ll ask him out of retirement!

  • McGruffTheHoopsDog

    The W’s have lost all relevance in the NBA. You have someone with unlimited power who now has a lame duck coach with a GM who’s salary will give Rowell no second thought to throw him out for another clown. All that will remain after this will be Rowell and Cohan. I just hope that everyone who loves the Warriors stays away next year. No matter how good you think they are or how loyal you feel, just don’t go. Sooner or later they will have to listen.

  • Nuck Chorris

    Hey MTII,

    It would be interesting to hear Rowell answer this tidbit:

    “If the team is paying your director of marketing more than the the person who is in charge of the product on the floor how does that not directly translate into marketing and sales being a higher priority than say, Basketball?”

  • justafan

    Mullin was legit so join the team Boycott the Warriors until Chris Cohan sells the team!!!

  • Kyle

    I want a new team. I’m sick of being a Warriors fan.

  • B Ditty

    my vote is for Larry Ellison for new team owner.

    WHAT.

    you mean to say i have no vote? And no i don’t want a we believe t-shirt damn it!

    great point at #2 Chuck. how are those total gym sales going? maybe you should call the warriors front office, i heard they are pretty good at sales.

  • http://warriorsworks.blogspot.com/ Mind of Mullin

    The reason why Riley hasn’t been promoted to “Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations” is because that spot is reserved for Don Nelson once he retires after next season.

    Make no mistake about it, Nelson is calling all the shots. He has final say on all transactions. Riley will do the front-end work on deals, will run it by Nelson, then once he gets his approval, he’ll close the deal. I trust Nelson’s judge of talent (when it’s not clouded by any political agendas) so this is a good thing for the Warriors.

    In 2010, look for Keith Smart to take over as head coach and Don Nelson to be elevated above Robert Rowell in the organizational food chain.

  • Tom

    Warriors = 25 wins next year.

  • Tom

    Happy Nellie = Drunk coach on the sidelines.

  • Tom

    I can’t wait to listen to Bob Fitzgerald prop this up as the greatest move ever in basketball history. Bob Fitzgerald = stupid midgit.

  • commish

    I’d rather have Chuck Daly coaching this team than Don Nelson. Yes, I know he died. This franchise is a laughing stock with the three stooges in their respective roles of President, GM and coach. I hope the ticket sales are in the toilet so it can swim around with the FO.

  • jsl

    Hmmm. The Commenters seem to be onto something here.

    We need someone who can go Inside the Warriors (so to speak) and bring out some stories about how the players are reacting to all this FO insanity (e.g. LA press is already reporting Monta wants out. True? Let’s find out.).

  • JustPuked

    Warriors = Don Nelson

  • alisgod

    Warriors aint getting another dime from me until they change their mgmt.

  • C.J.

    When you take a step back and look at it………you can see that Mullin was actually starting to have a vision of a pretty good team……..I mean, Baron Davis, Stephen Jackson, Al Harrington, Corey Maggette, retaining Azubuike, drafting Biedrins and Ellis………..

    Management, stubborn coaching and ownership messed everything up.

    He made pushes at the right guys…….Arenas, Brand (both injury prone, but Mullin’s decision making was absolutely calculated)…..he was starting to become a pretty good GM.

    And for all those who love Nelson and hate Mullin…..it was Mullin who brought Nelson back.

    Retain and get new talent….that’s the key in the NBA, combine that with intelligent coaching like you’re seeing every night on display in the 2009 playoffs on TNT and ESPN………add in an offensive and defensive philosophy and management and ownerhip with a clear agenda and objective and you got yourself an NBA organization……..like Portland, even Dallas, Denver, Houston and Los Angeles……

  • deano

    If Rowell thinks that Mullin’s record of one playoff appearance in five seasons is unacceptable, how does he grade his own record of one in nine? Or Cohan’s record of one in fifteen? Come the revolution, it will be Rowell firing Cohan, and Mullin firing Rowell.

  • http://dontcallmebeans.blogspot.com/ MCJ

    “A couple of items were swept under the rug, I think, by the Warriors”

    yeah, chris mullin for starters.

  • commish

    Who wouldn’t want out. Riley said today he wants Bosh. Of course that means giving up at least Beans. I think we all live in fear of what Nelson and his puppets might do next, but giving up Andris for a one year rental would just be insane. But we’ve been treated to the Bay Area;s equivelant of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” for the last year, so really nothing would suprise me. The sad thing is Andris is so under-utilized by Nelson and his stupid “system” that his full value isn’t realized; therefore, he might seem more expendable. Gosh, this stuff is making me sick every time I think about the Three Mustketeers running this sinking ship.

  • Perry

    This squad should be one of the 5 worst teams in the NBA in the 2009-2010 season……….

    I think we will be in that group with Oklahoma City, Milwaukee, New Jersey, Los Angeles Clippers, ………the usual losers……you guys know who they are…..we will be right in the thick of the loser group ……..

    I actually think Memphis and Minnesota will both be better than us next year………

  • Ron TMC

    I’m sorry but until Rowell leaves, I will only watch the Warrior games on TV. I am not giving any money to Cohan/Rowell until one or both of them leave.

    It would be great if Rowell would man up and go on a radio/tv show not hosted by his lackey Bobby Fitz

  • David

    I will follow other fans and not spend another cent on Warrior tickets or merchandise. Their front office is a complete joke and the worst in the NBA. How can you let such a well respected GM like Mullin go after he has made your team relevant again after so many years. Rowell and Cohan have issues that will prevent the team from ever being successful. Mullin with thrive in NY and we will miss him as we fall to depths below all, even the Clippers.

  • Bill

    I love the Warriors and have been an enthusiastic fan since 1962. Guy Rodgers, Rick Barry, Nate the Great…jeeze Iremember watching Jumping Joe Ellis and McCoy McLemore at the Cow Palace. so I will go on watching and suffering because management can’t screw their heads on straight..and of course OF COURSE they’ll ship out players we the fans love to watch….and they’ll have all kinds of rationalizations to cover their butts….the only ray of light in the dark tunnel of this team’s future is that the NBA is now a league of total parity, shaved down to the point where one critical injury (i.e. Garnett) makes all the difference to a team….it’s a star’s league but we just have some guys who play hard for an eccentric coach…I’m still puzzled over the wasted draft pick for the never used Marcus Williams…or why when we needed rebounds so much we couldn’t pair Turiaf and Biedrins in the same lineup…or why Crawford has to shoot teardrops instead of finishing…or what kind of Scotch Nellie drinks before the game…he’s got the dead facial expression of Bruce Bochy…

  • bigmikefor3

    I am so sick of Rowell. Mully is over his learning curve as GM and has a huge upswing.

    I already renewed my season tix for this year, but I swear if the Dubs don’t make the playoffs I’m not renewing next year (again, haha).

    Or I’ll renew if Rowell resigns.

  • bigmikefor3

    P.S.

    I blame Rowell for losing Thunder.

  • Steve

    Please excuse my blatant stupidity, but why is Chris Cohan considered such a bad owner? For my money, that title should be exclusive to those who only care about reaping the profits from the huge league TV deals/revenue sharing, while keeping payroll as low as possible to maximise their financial gains. In other words, putting a winning product before the fans is not necessarily a top priority. Frankly, all of the above does not describe Chris Cohan. Chris Cohan spends money and wants to win. He refurbished the Oakland Coliseum Arena (now Oracle Arena) at the cost of millions, and has provided the players with one of the best practice facilities in the NBA. Whenever someone recommends that the Warriors sign or re-sign a player to a hefty contract (Fisher, Foyle, Dunleavy, Murphy, Ellis, Biedrins, Maggette, etc) he OKs it more often than not. He OK’d signing a college coach with no NBA experience (Montgomery) as well as agreeing to rehire Don Nelson despite their parting on less than amicable terms the first time around. Where Cohan has failed miserably is surrounding himself with people who are competent in the workings of the NBA, and accordingly can identify those who are worthy of running the basketball side of things. Do you honestly believe that Cohan chose Dave Twardzik for GM? No, someone recommended Twardzik to Cohan, just like all those other “someones” recommended all the other bad basketball-hires and contract signings this organization has made over the years. While Cohan deserves blame if for no other reason than he makes the final decision on all matters pertaining to the GSW, it’s his supporting cast that has really failed this organization. Take a look at the NFL and the owner of the New England Patriots. Kraft became a great owner ONLY after he hired Bill Belicheck to run all things football for his Patriots. Afterall, were the Patriots even the least bit relevant before Belicheck arrived? I doubt that Kraft knows more about football than Cohan knows about basketball, but the perception of the two owners is like night and day despite the fact that Cohan continues to spend money and wants to win in the worst way. The obvious solution is winning. If Larry Riley becomes a great GM (possible), if Don Nelson coaches this team back into the playoffs (possible), and if the Warriors become perennial playoff contenders for many years to come (better chance than many might think), who’ll really give a damn about Chris Cohan? And I’m sure that would be just fine by the owner of YOUR GSW, who’s really been the whipping boy around here for a long time. IMO, lots better days and years are soon to come for the Warriors, who are in the process of finally getting it right both on and off the court.

  • jsl

    Steve@23: “Blatant stupidity” excused. But work on it, will you?

    First thing, check out the last 15 years: what has Cohan done right? Second, hold off on that “Warriors become perennial playoff contenders” likelihood until we can clean house here of Cohan-Rowell-Nelson; then, at least we’ll have a shot. Third, realize that Cohan cares not about winning; he’s just riding the team value as the NBA becomes a bigger TV bonanza — he’s a BEAN counter, ferhevvin’s sake.

  • D W

    MTII: Keep up the fine writing, the only good part of each Warriors season.

    It doesn’t matter what player changes are made, nor does it matter what Larry Riley or Don Nelson do to improve the team. As long as Robert Rowell’s ego continues to run amok, the Warriors won’t be going anywhere. And that’s a shame, given the great basketball history the Eastbay will always have.

    Here are two responses to our GSW bloggers:

    BDitty, way to tell the truth. Rowell is lucky he works at Oracle ARENA. I cannot imagine him – or even Chris Cohan – lasting long at Oracle’s MAIN BUILDING. Neither would last long with Larry E. No matter how much control Cohan & Rowell still have over the Warriors, how long will it be before Mr. Ellison runs out of patience and sees that his Arena’s marquee tenant is run so incompetently? Yes, Ellison has his company, his yachting, his travel, and various other philanthropic projects. But it’s Oracle’s name on top of the Oakland Coliseum Arena building, so let’s hope the final straw will be pulled and Larry E will give David Stern a rescue call, demanding better NBA transparency in his own building.

    As for Steve’s comments about Cohan, if the owner cares, spends money, and wants to win so bad, he needs to severely polish his PR skills enough to stop hiding, stop spinning, tell Rowell who is owner and who is president, and prove it. Cohan must have the guts to come out in front of the camera and own up to the shortcomings under his watch since he snuck a deal by Fitzgerald and Finnane in 1994. Because while Cohan is very lucky that Donald Sterling is in the same division let alone league, even the late Charlie Finley had Rickey Henderson’s bright future and the presence of Billy Martin in his last year to offset the A’s lowest point in their Oakland history. As long as Cohan stays silent and lets Rowell play with Nellie’s mind even when Nelson wants no part of it on occasion, we will never see the best product on the court. The Warriors’ poor standing is a well-known matter throughout the league. Were it not for more obvious recession-related priorities, our most loyal supporters might have already taken further action and made a bigger difference in improving their beloved team. Instead, we need some divine intervention, through a mix of NBA and corporate interests.

    Until then, enjoy the rest of the playoffs, somewhere the Warriors won’t be at any time soon.

  • Perry

    “Steve” it’s diffcult for me to pretend to know the business objectives of Chris Cohan because I have never been an owner of an NBA franchise.

    Knowing what I know about business, it should be every business owner’s goal to maximize profits and keep costs down.

    The only thing I know for sure is that the product that Cohan touts is absolutely deplorable. The team that he puts out on the court stinks………..this is a horrible NBA team……..

    If coaches and GM’s get fired for losses, I think owners should take a long, hard look at themselves as well.

    Not sure where your optimism comes from……you may be an employee of the Golden State Warriors…..I don’t know……but in a Western Conference with Los Angeles, Portland, Denver and Houston, not to mention a handfull of decent teams like Utah, Dallas, San Antonio or New Orleans…….I just don’t see anything about the Golden State Warriors that says that they will compete for a playoff spot over the next 2 years……..

    We can only judge by what we see on the court, that’s it. We can’t pretend to know about ownerhsip objectives and reasons for terminations and hires. We as fans can only judge the end product.

    All of the succesful Western Conference teams have already surrounded themselves with good NBA decision makers and the right front office.

    We are waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay behind………Waaaaaaaaaaay behind! We are too late! The train has passed!

    Not enough time in the tough Western Conference to feel things out and be patient…..not with a losing team like the Warriors and not with the playoff drought and track record that they are known for. The fan base will begin getting restless, it’s amazing how we have kept faith this long.

    Western Conference teams are improving by the day while the Golden State Warriors are regressing.

    Look for the Memphis Grizzliesto put out a better squad than us in 2009-2010……they have a ton of talent in Rudy Gay, O.J. Mayo, Marc Gasol……they have enough right there to be a legitimate 40 – 45 win team.

    Also, Jews always back up other Jews, no matter what.

    Your die-hard, bleeding heart backing of Cohan tells me that you must be Jewish.

  • Steve

    Perry #25, your application of ethnography is both weak and a waste of cerebral energy, not to mention the fact that you’re also wrong (I’m not Jewish). Besides, using race/creed to punctuate your blog pretty much blows up your cred as far as I’m concerned. I’m not a big supporter of Chris Cohan (“die-hard, bleeding heart backing”? LOL), but I also believe he’s not a big roadblock to any future success for the Warriors. Would I rather see someone like “Mr. Oracle” running the team? Yes. But as I stated before Cohan isn’t afraid to spend money to make the team better, he just needs better advice and recommendations from his basketball people going forward. Personally, I think Larry Riley will be a better GM than Chris Mullin was, and if the Warriors can hire a legitimately good NBA head coach to replace Don Nelson whenever he retires, this franchise should be set up to do some good things for quite some time. The Western Conference is finally in the process of changing in strength. Teams like San Antonio, Dallas, Utah, Houston, and New Orleans are either over-hyped or simply getting old in a hurry. The Lakers, Nuggets, and Blazers should be good for awhile, but overall, there are NO great teams in the NBA. A team like the Warriors, with a little tweaking this offseason and good health from start to finish, can be right back to where they were 2 years ago come next season, only better. You mentioned Memphis and all their supposed young talent. Would you trade Gay, Mayo, and Gasol for Ellis, Randolph, and Biedrins? Given the nature of your blog I’m sure you would. It would be interesting to know if others who blog here feel the same? As for me, yeah, I’m drinking the Koolaid. I like their young players and the direction they’re headed. So sue me.

  • Steve

    Correction, should have read: “Given the nature of your blog I’m sure you wouldn’t”.

  • Lufty455

    What Steve say is right when you say we have young talent… how much do you want to make a bet the Warrior will trade their young talent for some aging ex superstar like always… I really do not have faith in management and until we have a new owner, new prez, new coach this team will forever be a bottom dweller.

  • danikil49

    Sorry Steve I am not buying your dribble.The 49ers did not get good until they changed ownership. I don’t know whether Cohan is a good or bad person, Jewish or a Jane. I do know that he ahs had 15 years to do something amnd it hasn’t happened. Time for a change.

    Next yearI will do as I did this yaer , I will not spend another dime to prop up Rowell or Nelson. Enjoy the games Steve, I just can’t stomach Nelson and I think Rowell should have stayed hidden.

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