The Warriors have been engaged in discussions with Utah that may lead to Golden State keeping its first-round pick.
The Warriors’ first-rounder will go to the Utah Jazz (via New Jersey) if the Warriors don’t land one of the top seven picks. But I’m told Golden State general manager Larry Riley has been working for months on securing a lottery pick for the Warriors.
Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob broke the news when he said during a KNBR interview Tuesday morning: “We think we can get our pick back.”
Let me start by saying in no way did Joe Lacob deserve the treatment he received Monday night. That was the NBA version of a public stoning. It hasn’t been a full two years since Lacob and Peter Guber won the auction for the Warriors. He has officially been the owner for a mere 16 months. He hasn’t even had time to accrue that kind of venom – which was worthy of Chris Cohan or Donald Sterling or Clay Bennett should he find himself introduced for some reason in Seattle. Not even the trading of Monta Ellis – which was a good trade on multiple levels – justified that historic humiliation.
What’s more, Chris Mullin certainly didn’t deserve that. Though the love for Mullin was obvious and overt, the night where he was supposed to be the star of the show is now dominated by Lacob’s treatment. We should be talking about Mullin, what he meant to the franchise, how he’s back after a few years of being an outcast, where he ranks among the all-time greats. Instead, we’re talking about Joe Lacob and the nerve of Warriors fans.
MULLIN: “As the greatest fans in the NBA as everyone stated, sometimes change is inevitable and its going to work out just fine with your support and patience. Use that passion in teh right direction. This thing is going the right way.”
BARRY: “One second here. C’mon people. You fans are the greatest fans in the world, as everybody has said that. Show a little bit of class. This is a man I’ve spent some time talking to. He’s going to change this franchise. This is crazy. Seriously. C’mon. You’re doing youselves a disservice. … I know he’s going to do it, so give him the respect he deserves.”
With that said, by my estimation, it is far too simple to write off that debacle as the classlessness of Warriors fans. As an isolated incident, the behavior of Warriors fans was nothing short of unnerving. But it would be borderline clueless to view the reaction what sounded like a large portion of nearly 20,000 fans in a vacuum.
What happened Monday night was a culmination of events. It has been building for some 20 months and it came to a head during Mullin’s special night.
What started as a nostalgic journey down memory lane turned sour as soon as Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob grabbed the microphone.
The jersey retirement ceremony of Golden State Warriors legend Chris Mullin, at halftime of Monday’s game against Minnesota, was rolling along smoothly. Marked by funny stories, a video tribute and a rousing ovation for Mullin.
“This is where it all started for me as a pro,” Mullin said. “I came in as a young man. I made mistakes. I worked hard to redeem myself. And by the grace of God I am here today. I grew up right here in front of you. You, the Warrior fans, were a huge part of my success.”
But it was soon taken over by relentless boos at Lacob.
The Warriors will make a run at signing fourth-year power forward J.J. Hickson if he clears waivers.
Yahoo! Sports first reported that Hickson, once a promising young big man with the Cavaliers, reached a buyout agreement with Sacramento on Monday and the Warriors were a top suitor. Golden State doesn’t want to claim him off waivers and pay the remainder of his $2.35 million for this season. But they will try to sign him once he becomes a free agent.
The Warriors are hurting for size on the frontline after trading second-year big man Ekpe Udoh in a package to put to acquire Milwaukee Bucks’ injured center Andrew Bogut.
With Sacramento, Hickson averaged 4.7 points on 37 percent shooting with 5.1 rebounds in 18.4 minutes.
In 80 games with the Cavaliers last season, Hickson averaged 13.8 points and 8.7 rebounds in 28.2 minutes.
When asked why Hickson’s production had fallen off so much, one team source said, “I don’t know, but we want to find out.”
If newly acquired center Andrew Bogut plays basketball as well as he works a room,GoldenStatewill be pretty good next season.
Before Friday’s game against visitingMilwaukee, the Warriors unveiled their prized possession. And the 7-foot, 260-pound Australian had already made himself at home.
“He’s very polished,” Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. “He’s a great guy. He’s got a sense of humor. … He’s a people guy. He felt very comfortable around the guys.”
Members of the organization, and many Warriors fans to boot, all but drooled at his size and charisma. Bogut said he was overwhelmed by the positive feedback he’s received. He said he embraces the pressure that comes with being looked upon as the franchise’s answered prayer for a big man.
“It is something I’m fine with,” Bogut said of the expectations. “But looking at our roster, we’ve got a lot of guys that can play. It’s not like I’m coming into a D-League team, where everything’s kind of aimed at me.”
The trade deadline has passed, the Warriors are done dealing. So Warriors general manager Larry Riley, surveying the fruits of his labors, felt good enough to make some pretty bold statements.
“Frankly, ladies and gentleman, we’ve changed the organization. We’ve changed the Warriors organization in terms of the way we do business and our roster.”
“I don’t want to sit in front of the media and make a comment I made last year: ‘I like our team, but I don’t like our record. That gets worn out pretty quick. It was time to go in a different direction and let’s go see if we can grab the brass ring.”
“There is no doubt in our mind that our roster has improved by leaps and bounds. … There is no doubt that the Warriors roster is a much better roster. The media used to ask me if this roster a playoff roster. And we’d have to look at it and say, ‘Uhhh, maybe so, maybe not.’ This is a playoff roster.”
A team source confirmed Golden State traded Stephen Jackson to the San Antonio Spurs for small forward Richard Jefferson and a conditional first-round pick.
Jefferson’s contract is a year longer than Jackson’s. But the priority for Golden State was landing a pick in this year’s highly touted draft, since they might lose theirs. If Golden State doesn’t land a top seven pick, their selection goes to Utah.
Warriors forward Dorell Wright did not hesitate one bit in denying reports he wants the Warriors to trade him.
WRIGHT: “I never said anything about me wanting to go any where. I want to be here. I didn’t say none of that.”
Wright pointed to the fact that he is buying a house in the Bay Area as evidenced he’s committed to the Warriors. He said he never expressed any desire to leave to management and has no idea where the rumors came from.
I actually heard these words from a member of Warriors management, who could not officially talk about the trade because it wasn’t done yet, about the trading of guard Monta Ellis.
“This had to happen at some point. Who are we kidding?”
On the bright side, you can chalk up the Warriors’ jaw-dropping blockbuster trade – sending Ellis, second-year big man Ekpe Udoh and injured Kwame Brown to Milwaukee for center Andrew Bogut the fact that management finally accepted reality. It had already accepted the fact that major roster improvements were needed and had spent the last year-plus trying to make those changes.
But, in the end, after all the posturing and promises, Warriors’ brass agreed with most fans – they cannot win significantly with a backcourt of Ellis and point guard Stephen Curry.