Posted on: June 6, 2011 10:22 pm
Edited on: June 7, 2011 2:10 am
DALLAS – Joe Lacob proved himself to be an out-of-the-box thinker when he hired high-profile agent Bob Myers to join his front office. Really, he showed himself to be an outside-the-box thinker by buying the Warriors in the first place.
But Lacob truly put his stamp on the franchise Monday with the hiring of Mark Jackson, putting a young, evolving roster in the hands of a first-time head coach.
Jackson, a 17-year veteran as a player but never so much as an assistant coach, agreed Monday to a three-year deal for approximately $6 million, sources familiar with the deal told CBSSports.com. The contract has a team option for a fourth season.
Going from the broadcast table to the first seat on the sideline will be a challenge for Jackson, who finally gets the chance to prove that he is more than a dynamic voice. Jackson, 46, has been in the mix for numerous head coaching jobs over the years, but it took a creative management team of Lacob, Myers and GM Larry Riley to take a chance that there are coaching chops behind Jackson’s commanding presence.
“It was the right time and the right place to give him a shot,” a person close to Jackson said.
Lacob also met personally with former Nets coach Lawrence Frank, Spurs assistant Mike Budenholzer, and Hornets assistant Michael Malone, but may have been leaning toward Jackson throughout the interview process, sources said. Golden State’s new brain trust kept the decision under wraps until it was announced by the team Monday evening. Even those with close ties to Jackson believed that Mavericks assistant Dwane Casey would be meeting with Lacob after the NBA Finals. Casey, himself, believed that as late as Monday morning, sources said.
UPDATE: The Warriors immediately targeted Malone to be Jackson’s lead assistant, and the former Cavaliers assistant agreed to a three-year deal Monday night, sources confirmed to CBSSports.com. Malone, who worked for Mike Brown in Cleveland, had interviewed earlier Monday in Los Angeles for the lead assistant position on Brown's staff with the Lakers. But Golden State's offer will put Malone among the upper echelon for assistants in the NBA as far a pay sources said. Former Pistons coach John Kuester, another Brown assistant from the Cleveland days, also is in the mix to join his staff with the Lakers.
Perhaps moving things forward with Jackson was the fact that the Pistons had expressed interest in interviewing him for their head coaching vacancy.
Several names have emerged as candidates for Jackson as he begins to put together his first coaching staff. Included in the list of possible assistants are former Rockets assistants Jack Sikma and Elston Turner; Kings assistant Mario Elie; and Jerry Sichting, who was on Keith Smart’s staff in Golden State.
Posted on: May 18, 2011 7:16 pm
Edited on: May 18, 2011 9:36 pm
CHICAGO – Mike Brown finds the Warriors head coaching job “intriguing,” according to a person who said Wednesday the former Cavaliers coach has had conversations with Golden State officials about the opening.
Brown, who was fired after last season despite averaging 54 wins over five seasons in Cleveland, has yet to formally interview with Warriors owner Joe Lacob, sources said. Also in the mix to replace Keith Smart as Warriors coach are Lakers assistants Brian Shaw and Chuck Person, Celtics assistant Lawrence Frank, and Hornets assistant Michael Malone, according to sources. The search is expected to gain momentum in the coming days.
Frank also is one of three finalists for the Rockets’ head coaching position, along with Mavericks assistant Dwane Casey and former Timberwolves coach and GM Kevin McHale. All three are having second interviews this week, sources said, the Rockets officials are in the evaluation process. Two high-level coaching sources said Casey appears to be the favorite for the Houston job.
While Brown would bring playoff experience and a defensive foundation to a Warriors team that needs both, Malone – Brown’s former assistant in Cleveland – is a creative and especially intriguing candidate. Like reigning coach of the year Tom Thibodeau, Malone, 39, was mentored by former Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy and is known as a defensive guru. He transitioned to coaching the offense in Cleveland after John Kuester left the Cavs for the head job in Detroit.
Malone, the son of Magic assistant and longtime NBA coach Brendan Malone, has coached in the playoffs seven times, including two appearances in the conference finals and one in the NBA Finals. He was hired last year as Monty Williams’ lead assistant in New Orleans.
Posted on: April 27, 2011 1:31 pm
Edited on: April 27, 2011 2:04 pm
Warriors coach Keith Smart, who has been under evaluation since Golden State's season ended, will not be back next season, the team announced Wednesday.
Comcast SportsNet-Bay Area first reported the decision on Smart, who took over for Don Nelson last season and went 36-46. The Warriors' new front office, led by former agent Bob Myers, decided not to pick up Smart's team option for the 2011-12 season.
Golden State joins Houston on the coaching-search trail, with the Pistons (John Kuester) soon to follow once the ownership transfer to Tom Gores is completed. The Timberwolves' basketball staff is meeting later this week to discuss, among other things, the future of coach Kurt Rambis. Sources say Minnesota brass are in no rush to make a decision on Rambis, who is in danger and will be required to make some significant changes to his style and philosophy if asked to stay.
In Toronto, coach Jay Triano's future is tied to general manager Bryan Colangelo, who appears to be on his way out unless the majority owners from the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan are successful in selling their stake in the team, sources say. There are strong indications that Pacers coach Frank Vogel will be retained after taking over for Jim O'Brien and losing to the top-seeded Bulls 4-1 in the first round. It also is believed that team president Larry Bird, who has been contemplating retirement, will be back next season, sources with knowledge of the situation told CBSSports.com.
As CBSSports.com reported Monday, the Knicks are poised to retain team president Donnie Walsh with a two-year extension, pending Walsh becoming comfortable that he will have undisputed final say over basketball operations. It is Walsh's desire to retain coach Mike D'Antoni, who has one year left on his contract, sources say.
Speculation has surrounded Smart's future for weeks as new owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber seemed poised to put their own stamp on the franchise. The process began two weeks ago when Golden State hired Myers, an influential agent with Wasserman Media Group, as assistant GM, signaling that he will be groomed for the top job while GM Larry Riley remains with a contract extension. The decision not to retain Smart ultimately was ownership's call, according to a person familiar with the situation.
Posted on: April 14, 2011 12:18 am
Joe Lacob has impressed everyone who's dealt with him so far as an outside-the-box thinker. On Wednesday, the Warriors' owner reached outside the typical circle of candidates and found a sharp, creative basketball man who eventually will run his organization.
High-profile agent Bob Myers will become the latest to make the transition from the representation business to the front office as the Warriors' new assistant general manager, sources confirmed to CBSSports.com.
GM Larry Riley will remain in the top spot, but it is clear to those familiar with Lacob's strategy that he envisions Myers eventually taking over the leading role. It is possible that Riley could remain in some capacity when the transition is complete, one of the sources said.
The move was first reported by San Jose Mercury News.
Myers, who worked under Arn Tellem at Wasserman Media Group, will renounce his representation ties to all NBA clients. His impressive roster includes such players as Brandon Roy, Tyreke Evans, Kendrick Perkins, Brook Lopez, and DeAndre Jordan. Myers follows in the footsteps of agents-turned executives Jason Levien (formerly with the Kings) and Lon Babby (hired as the Suns' president last summer.)
The first order of business for the Riley-Myers team will be to decide whether coach Keith Smart will be back for another season. A person familiar with Lacob's strategy said he wants sweeping changes in the long term, but may not be ready to part ways with his coach immediately. Lacob, according to one source, hasn't formed a strong opinion of Smart one way or the other. It could be "a couple of weeks" before the team makes a decision on Smart, according to the source, noting that Lacob wants Myers to "get his feet wet" before making any major decisions.
The end of the regular season Wednesday night is expected to bring the usual flurry of personnel moves, with Pistons coach John Kuester and Timberwolves coach Kurt Rambis the most likely to be fired, multiple sources told CBSSports.com. Kuester's firing is widely believed to be a foregone conclusion, though a source said there is "no timetable for anything" the organization is doing due to the pending ownership change. Rambis' tenuous situation did not get any help from GM David Kahn on Wednesday.
In holding his season-ending news conference before the season was over, Kahn stopped short of providing a vote of confidence for Rambis and said the coach's fate would be decided after the GM meets with owner Glen Taylor in the coming weeks. There seems to be little reason to wait, as two people familiar with the situation told CBSSports.com Wednesday that preparations are under way for Rambis to be let go with two years left on his contract.
Rockets coach Rick Adelman, whose second consecutive season out of the playoffs ended Wednesday night, faces an uncertain future in Houston -- where everyone's contract is up. One person familiar with the situation described Adelman's status Wednesday as "to be determined."
In Toronto, GM Bryan Colangelo is caught in a dysfunctional situation in which powerful board member Glen Silvestri wants him out. Colangelo had sold ownership on a rebuilding plan in the wake of Chris Bosh leaving for Miami, and "that direction was agreed on," a person familiar with the situation said. But some members of ownership, chiefly Silvestri, are now suffering from what one source described as "convenient amnesia."
Colangelo's contract expires June 30, and coach Jay Triano also does not have a contract for next season. With the team expected to go up for sale in the next six months, and with a work stoppage looming, it isn't clear how quickly the majority owners will take action.
Meanwhile, as the Pacers prepare for their first-round playoff series against the top-seeded Bulls, team president Larry Bird remains "conflicted" about his future, a source said. While Bird wants to complete the rebuilding project he undertook with general manager David Morway, there are strong indications that his desire to spend time with his family and get out of the limelight -- where the Hall of Famer has always been a reluctant participant -- is weighing heavily on him. Bird's future directly affects Morway, who is expected to get a shot at the top job if Bird departs. Similarly, interim coach Frank Vogel's future is uncertain, though Vogel has earned the right to receive the first interview if the team embarks on a full-fledged coaching search.
Posted on: September 23, 2010 8:25 pm
Edited on: September 23, 2010 9:25 pm
In a long-awaited changing of the guard, the Warriors are prepared to oust coach Don Nelson and replace him with assistant coach Keith Smart, a person with knowledge of the situation confirmed to CBSSports.com. The plan is to have Smart installed as the new coach in time for the Warriors' media day Monday.
The move has been contemplated within the organization since at least last November, when Nelson started what ended up being the season that saw him become the NBA's winningest coach with something that has become commonplace for him: feuds with two of his best players. Stephen Jackson eventually was traded, Monta Ellis was not, but Nellie stuck around long enough to eclipse Lenny Wilkens' record for wins. But his reign in Golden State appears to be over.
It took an ownership change -- from Chris Cohan to Joe Lacob and Peter Guber -- to finally persuade Nelson to step aside and let Smart, a respected assistant with a promising future as a head coach, take over. According to a person familiar with the team's plans, the new owners did not want to enter the season with Nelson again on the verge of retiring, re-signing or being fired. The details of Smart's contract are yet to be worked out, which is why no formal announcement is expected to come from the Warriors until they convene for media day Monday.
It is not clear whether Nelson, 70, will remain with the Warriors in an advisory capacity; he has one year and $6 million remaining on his contract. It was that remaining money, more so than Nellie's pursuit of Wilkens' record, that kept him from stepping down last season and letting Smart take over. In fact, one person familiar with the awkward unwinding of Nelson's Golden State tenure joked Thursday night, "I wonder if Nellie knows?" It wasn't necessarily a joke.
Nelson will long be remembered for bringing Nellieball to Golden State, the zenith of which was a stirring upset of a 67-win Dallas team -- Nelson's former employer -- as the eighth seed in the 2007 playoffs. But that was followed by three seasons in the lottery, the constant distractions and speculation over how long Nelson would hang around.
At least it appears that Nelson's departure from Golden State won't end with the same acrimony that marred his removal as Mavericks coach in 2005 -- but never say never. Until the details of the transfer of power from Nelson to Smart are finalized, it would be wise to withhold judgment on how amicably this will end. As of now, reports such as this one from Marcus Thompson of the Contra Costa Times indicate that Nellie will be getting is full $6 million even though he's resigning.
Smart, who turned 46 this week, will always be remembered for his heroic, game-winning shot for Indiana against Syracuse in the 1987 NCAA championship game. In Golden State, he'll quickly become known as a coach who runs a structured offense -- something Nelson long eschewed -- and also believes in defense. What's that? Huh? Defense?
Smart's resume bears all the markings of a coach who has worked his way up through the ranks the hard way. From the Fort Wayne Fury to the Dominican Republic to the Latvian National team, Smart has earned this. And he'll have the respect of the locker room -- a locker room populated by some fairly talented players, such as Ellis, Stephen Curry, Andris Biedrins and David Lee -- from day one. And day one will be Monday.
Posted on: September 13, 2010 11:36 am
Free-agent forward Lou Amundson agreed to a two-year, $4.7 million deal with the Warriors Monday, choosing Golden State over the Hornets in a lengthy negotiation that took longer than agent Mark Bartelstein expected.
"It just came down to Golden State being the right fit," Bartelstein said.
Asked what made it the right fit, Bartelstein gave an answer that will no doubt intrigue all followers of the meandering, seemingly rudderless W's.
"Just the vision that [GM] Larry Riley kind of laid out with the change in ownership and the style they want to play," Bartelstein said.
No wonder the negotiation took so long. From the outside looking in, the Warriors look like a team with no vision, with an aging coach who won't go away, and with an uncertain future under incoming owners Joseph Lacob and Peter Guber.
The $450 million sale of the team from Chris Cohan to Lacob and Guber won't be approved by the NBA's Board of Governors until sometime next month. Training camps open at the end of September, so presumably Don Nelson will vacate his hammock in Maui to coach the team. According to Bartelstein, the pitch Riley made to Amundson did not address Nellie's future. "I think that's still something they're trying to work through," Bartelstein said.
There's no doubt Amundson will be a good fit in the Warriors' up-tempo style; he was part of an effective bench brigade in Phoenix that at times rattled the Lakers with their hectic pace during the Western Conference finals. But which coach will he be playing for in the Bay Area? Nellie or his presumed successor, Keith Smart? Or both, before all is said and done? Remains to be seen. Whatever the case, Amundson was sold on the vision enough to turn down the Hornets, who with a healthy and reasonably content Chris Paul would appear to be a far more likely playoff contender.
Posted on: July 15, 2010 3:08 pm
LAS VEGAS -- The Warriors going to Peter Guber and Joe Lacob instead of Oracle CEO Larry Ellison can certainly be viewed as an upset. But not nearly as upsetting to Warriors fans as something else that could result from the transfer of power from Chris Cohan: A decision by the new guys to leave bad enough alone and keep the decision-making tandem of Don Nelson and Larry Riley in place.
Immediately upon approval of the NBA's Board of Governors, the easiest and best decision Guber and Lacob could make would be cleaning out the Warriors' dysfunctional front office and starting over again. There are plenty of good candidates for both jobs available.
The coaching position would be easy to fill. The Warriors have been grooming assistant coach Keith Smart to replace Nelson for a while now, and he'd be the perfect choice to finally get the job.
As for GM, this summer has been open season on general managers in the NBA, so the list of qualified people to replace Riley is lengthy: Kevin Pritchard, Rod Thorn, Danny Ferry, Jeff Bower and David Griffin are all free agents. Jerry West, whose name has long been associated with a possible takeover of the Warriors, would be a home run -- if he's willing to get back into the grind. Even if he isn't, a tandem of West and Griffin, who worked together in Memphis, would be a solid 1-2 punch. West would restore class and vision to the organization, and Griffin -- who has a keen eye for talent and a deep understanding of the salary-cap and CBA, at least in its current form -- would be an ace in the day-to-day GM role.
Pritchard and Ferry haven't aggressively pursued any of the numerous GM openings to this point, leading to speculation that they're waiting for a more prestigious job to come along. Despite the aimless wandering of the Warriors in recent years under Nellie and Riley, there are few NBA locales more desirable than the Bay Area and few jobs with as much potential to make a meaningful imprint. From that standpoint, reviving the Warriors has West's name -- and logo -- written all over it. But it's not entirely clear if West, 72, wants to return to a front-office role. Sources familiar with Thorn's decision to step down in New Jersey said the longtime Nets boss was under the distinct impression that West, a relentless workaholic during his glory days as an NBA team executive, finally had come to enjoy retirement. Seeing West finally embrace being out of the spotlight appealed to Thorn, 69, on a certain level.
The other aspect of the Warriors' sale that warrants a mention in today's news cycle is the price: $450 million, a record for an NBA franchise that surpassed the previous mark of $401 million paid by Robert Sarver for the Suns in 2004. One of the key sticking points in the negotiations between owners and players on a new collective bargaining agreement is the escalating value of NBA franchises. If the league's financial system is so broken, the players argue, why would someone pay nearly a half-billion dollars to join the club?
But the disagreement runs deeper than that. In an interview with CBSSports.com Wednesday, NBPA executive director Billy Hunter said a point of contention in reconciling commissioner David Stern's latest assertion that the league lost $370 million during the 2009-10 season is the cost associated with buying and owning the teams. Hunter said the league's finances include such expenses as interest and depreciation, which he views as costs that should be borne by the owners and not the players. The Warriors' sale is the perfect example of why such costs shouldn't be used as an excuse to cut player salaries. Here is the simple reason why:
Cohan bought the Warriors for $119 million in 1995. His capital gain of $331 million, less expenses, is his to keep. If the owners want to count interest and depreciation expenses in the formula that determines player salaries, then the players should receive a cut of the profit when owners sell their teams. The owners, for obvious reasons, would never agree to such an arrangement. The players, for equally obvious reasons, should never allow the expenses associated with investing in the purchases of NBA teams to be taken out of their pockets at the bargaining table.
"You can't expect the players to pay for the damn franchise," Hunter sad. "You can't tell me we have obligation to pay for your franchise and then split the difference with you."
Just a couple of things to think about as you digest the news of the Golden State Warriors becoming the highest-priced franchise ever purchased in NBA history.
Posted on: December 20, 2008 7:49 pm
After a 115-99 loss to the Hawks Friday night, Warriors coach Don Nelson volunteered an obscure piece of information that has far more significance than most people realize. Acknowledging that coaching defense and being tough on players are weaknesses of his, Nelson announced that assistant coach Keith Smart was being elevated to a defensive coordinator role, and that Sidney Moncrief would be Smart's top assistant.
We've mentioned previously here that Nelson, 68, got a two-year extension in October but might not finish the contract on the bench. A person familiar with the Warriors' plans -- and those are few and far between, as it appears the Warriors have no plan -- told me that one option under consideration is Nelson moving upstairs to a full-time GM role at some point. Smart and Moncrief would be the favorites to succeed him on the bench.
Where does that leave Chris Mullin, you ask? Exactly where he is at the moment: With a contract that expires June 30 and little reason to expect he'll get a new one.
Nellie's announcement Friday night in Atlanta, thus, makes perfect sense. It's another step in the direction of Nellie handing the coaching reins to Smart or Moncrief. My prediction: When Nellie goes upstairs, Smart will be the head coach and Moncrief his lead assistant.