Posted on: October 13, 2009 8:56 am
Edited on: October 15, 2009 9:21 am
Upon a recent visit with a colleague who is involved in business dealings throughout the NBA, the subject of how a certain player on the Golden State Warriors was doing came up.
"Golden State," said my friend, shaking his head, "is a story in and of itself."
Indeed. And a pathetic story at that.
It's not just that the Warriors have suspended guard Stephen Jackson for two games due to conduct detrimental to the team. It's not that coach/emperor Don Nelson and GM Larry Riley sat down with Jackson Tuesday in an attempt to smooth things over. Everyone can see -- including Jackson -- that all they're up to is getting Jackson back on the court so they can trade him. Since that's what Jackson wants, he should be amenable.
UPDATE: Captain Jack relinquished his captaincy Tuesday, and he and Nelson came away from the meeting with very different demeanors. Nelson bordered on chipper afterward, while Jackson was described as bitter. Maybe that's because Jackson has realized that he might very well be stuck in Golden State. Nelson, perhaps, already is imagining himself luxuriating under a palm tree in Maui when this sad saga finally ends.
In a calm, matter-of-fact tone, Jackson eviscerates Nelson (he listens to him only because he's paid to), Kobe Bryant (he gets preferential treatment from the refs), and his teammates (who didn't come to his defense when he got ejected for complaining about the calls in the preseason game against the Lakers. Hang in there with this video ; it's worth your time.
But this story isn't about Jackson. He's merely the latest player who has been swallowed by the vortex of incompetent ownership and sad egotism, the combination of which have turned the Bay Area's NBA team -- one of the league's prime properties, by the way -- into such a joke that it makes Jim Dolan's regime in New York seem like a tranquil pool of efficiency by comparison.
This has been going on too long. The games Golden State management tried to play with Monta Ellis in the wake of his moped accident, the shameful treatment of Chris Mullin, and now the bungling of l'Affaire Jackson -- all of it is a steaming pile of obfuscation that is crying out for the nuclear option. If he hasn't already, David Stern should forcefully suggest that it's time for majority owner Chris Cohan to finally sell this franchise that has disintegrated on his watch.
But Cohan isn't the only problem, either. His problem is merely the only one that -- if solved -- would lead to the resolution of all the other problems. Namely, those problems are president Robert Rowell, Riley, and Nelson. Find me another NBA team with a triangle of stubbornness, petulance, and cluelessness that rivals this Warriors triumvirate and I'll send you a P.J. Carlesimo bobblehead doll.
Two members of this bungling trio were present at Las Vegas Summer League this past July. (And when it comes to Nellie, I should point out that he was present in the arena, not just the casino.) It was a sad commentary on what the Warriors have become: A disheveled Nelson sitting uncomfortably in the stands, a ball cap scrunched down on his unkempt coiffure. By his side at all times, like a pea-brained pug, was Riley -- whose ascent to the GM's chair came at the expense of Mullin and by the forceful hand of Nellie. One night, Nellie invited a couple of scribes out for dinner and cigars, a gesture he hoped would curry favor and mold the mushy contents of their skulls to Nellie's twisted brand of basketball management. One thing I have learned in this business: When a sports figure invites you to dinner for the sole purpose of showing you what a prince he is, he is up to no good.
The no-good has gone on in Golden State long enough.
Posted on: September 15, 2009 6:41 pm
Edited on: September 15, 2009 10:44 pm
Stephen Jackson's $25,000 fine for "public statements detrimental to the NBA" would be funny if it weren't so bogus in a fun police sort of way.
First, if $25,000 fines were assessed for all statements detrimental to the NBA, I'd be in trouble. Also, the world would be without poverty. All that fine money donated to good causes would be enough to feed everyone.
Second, I realize that technically players aren't allowed to publicly request trades. But really, what else would anyone write or talk about in the month leading up to the trade deadline if that rule were enforced in the strictest sense? The league's press release reminds us that Ron Artest was fined in 2005-06 for publicly requesting a trade. OK, that's one down and about 199 players to go.
I don't recall Kobe Bryant getting fined for his numerous public trade requests in the summer of 2007. (He wasn't.) Memory doesn't serve me on whether Allen Iverson was fined for demanding a trade in Philadelphia during the 2006-07 season. The league's thinking is that those players didn't directly, explicitly, and in so many words ask to be traded. But everyone knew what they were doing. (In Iverson's case, one theory is that he didn't go to the media with his trade demand; he went to the team and it leaked to the media. In Kobe's case, the official explanation for why he wasn't fined was that he recanted so quickly after making the trade demand.)
This is all kind of silly, anyway. Overall, I'm OK with the fine -- as long as we call this what it is. It seems to me that the NBA is fining Jackson so that coach Don Nelson doesn't have to. Nellie doesn't want to cross one of his best players, and this way, Jackson can be mad at the NBA and not his coach. Makes sense to me.
One more thing: I don't understand how publicly requesting to be traded is detrimental to the NBA. Isn't that part of what makes the NBA fun?
UPDATE: Upon further reflection, here's the other side of that argument: In the year leading up to the most recent collective bargaining agreement, which was ratified in 2005, whiny players making public trade demands had become somewhat of an epidemic. So the league warned the players' union that it was going to begin cracking down on such statements, arguing that they hurt the image of the league. A few selfish, bratty players were painting the entire league with that brush. Now, when Jackson's fine seems to come out of nowhere, maybe that's because the league has been successful in curbing the public sniping. Me? I still find it fun.
Posted on: June 26, 2009 1:14 am
NEW YORK -- Talks between the Suns and Warriors that would send Amare Stoudemire to Golden State picked up momentum during the NBA draft Thursday night, but stalled to the point where one executive familiar with the situation said it "likely won't happen."
The sticking point, however, was not Golden State's No. 7 pick, Stephen Curry, who was not involved in the trade as it was being constructed Thursday night, the executive said.
If the teams revisit the discussion, there is plenty of time. Andris Biedrins, who was included in the deal being discussed along with Marco Belinelli and Brandan Wright, can't be traded until July 1 because he is a base-year compensation player. Further complicating the Suns' efforts to move Stoudemire is a termination clause in his contract after next season that would require an extension with his new team for him to waive it.
Posted on: June 25, 2009 8:56 pm
Edited on: June 27, 2009 1:19 am
Discussions between the Suns and Warriors about a trade that would send Amare Stoudemire to Golden State were advancing Thursday night, two people familiar with the situation told CBSSports.com.
Posted on: June 25, 2009 4:16 pm
Edited on: June 25, 2009 7:21 pm
It's three hours and counting until the Clippers are on the clock, so here's another dose of buzz and other tidbits. A caveat: This late in the game is when some of the most scurrilous subterfuge is pawned off -- not only on reporters, but on the executives and other high-level people who provide information to reporters. It gets harder and harder to see through all the smoke, but here's the latest of what my sources are hearing:
Posted on: June 24, 2009 6:12 pm
Edited on: June 24, 2009 6:22 pm
Here’s your second cup of pre-draft trade buzz of the day. In case you missed it, the first cup is here. One more cup, and you will have consumed as many cups of trade buzz as I’ve consumed coffee today:
• The Trail Blazers, known to be seeking an upgrade at point guard, have expressed interest in the Bulls’ Kirk Hinrich. But a possible Portland-Chicago trade involving Hinrich has yet to enter the realm of serious discussion, according to a person familiar with the situation. While there has been speculation for months that the Bulls would be open to moving Tyrus Thomas, who has been linked to Hinrich in a possible Portland trade, Thomas has been told there’s “nothing at all” on the table involving him at this point, the person said.
• The Suns are hoping to pry Oklahoma City’s 25th overall pick, using a 2010 unprotected first-rounder as bait.
• The Knicks, convinced they cannot land Davidson guard Stephen Curry with the eighth pick, continue to actively explore ways to move up. New York also has engaged in talks with Minnesota about acquiring the 28th pick and Memphis about No. 27.
• We’ve already told you about the Atlanta-Golden State trade that would send Jamal Crawford to Atlanta – a trade I don’t really understand. Crawford is owed more than $19 million over the next two seasons and isn’t a natural point guard (and thus can’t be viewed as a reasonable replacement for unrestricted free agent Mike Bibby). Do the Hawks hate the $7.4 million owed to Speedy Claxton and Acie Law so much that they’re willing to try to force-fit Crawford into an offense already dominated by Joe Johnson and Josh Smith? There must be something more to this.
• Loyal BergerSphere readers also are aware that the Blazers and Mavericks have swapped the 24th and 22nd picks, respectively, with Portland giving up one of its four second-round picks -- 56th overall -- for the right to move up two spots.
Back with more -- and back to the coffee pot -- as needed.
Posted on: June 24, 2009 5:20 pm
Edited on: June 24, 2009 6:23 pm
The Hawks and Warriors are discussing a trade that would send shooting guard Jamal Crawford to Atlanta for a pair of point guards, Speedy Claxton and Acie Law, a person familiar with the talks confirmed to CBSSports.com.
Those are the key components of the deal, which has yet to be consummated, the person with knowledge of the dialogue said Wednesday. It is a curious move from the Warriors' standpoint, to say the least. With the seventh pick in Thursday's draft, Golden State was believed to have been targeting Davidson guard Stephen Curry. Like the Knicks, who hold the eighth pick, the Warriors must be privy to the rumblings that Curry won't get past Minnesota, which has the fifth and sixth picks -- if they keep them. So by trading Crawford, does Golden State believe it's making room for Curry? Or is Warriors GM Larry Riley trying to accumulate assets to be used in an attempt to trade up?
The Hawks would rid themselves of two sources of disappointment left over from the Billy Knight regime. Knight overpaid Claxton with a four-year, $25 million contract, only to see Claxton languish on the bench and serve little purpose. Law, the 11th overall pick by the Hawks in 2007, did little to convince the new regime, led by former Sonics GM Rick Sund, that he would develop into a viable replacement at point guard for Mike Bibby. Crawford is owed more than $19 million over the next two seasons and doesn't seem to fit.
"That tells you they're going to draft a point guard [Thursday]," one league source said. "They better, or they're in trouble."
More on this one as details become available.
Posted on: June 18, 2009 12:25 pm
Warriors coach Don Nelson and GM Larry Riley flew to Memphis recently for a damage-control meeting with Monta Ellis. The message? Golden State isn’t looking to trade Ellis, whom they signed to a six-year, $66 million extension last summer. Instead, they wanted to tell Ellis in person that they intend to make him a captain and build around him.
It was a tumultuous year for Ellis and the Warriors, who threatened to void Ellis’ contract over an offseason moped accident that resulted in a 30-game suspension costing Ellis about $3 million. In April, Golden State officials sent a letter to Ellis’ agent, Jeff Fried, relinquishing their rights to void the contract. That ended one controversy but left another one still brewing.
Ellis’ strongest supporter in the Golden State front office was former GM Chris Mullin, who has been told he is not wanted back after his contract expires June 30. Mullin has avoided official contact with any potential suitors until the contract expires. But Ellis’ concern about his standing with the franchise in Mullin’s absence needed to be addressed. So Nelson and Riley flew to Memphis, where Ellis has been with his first son – Monta Jr. – who was born June 5.
“The GM and the coach traveled to Memphis to further provide that assurance to Monta that this is his team and they’re looking to build this team around him for years to come,” Fried said in a phone interview Friday. “Monta’s response to them was that the most important component is winning. He wants to win and he wants to win with the Warriors.”
Golden State has the seventh pick in next Thursday’s draft and is deeply involved in trade talks involving the pick. But those talks, evidently, will not involve Ellis.