Warriorsworld.net: Is there a more inept Front office in the NBA? Maybe in all of professional sports? No clear cut person in charge, feels like different people taking turns making roster moves, who's to blame for this mess?
T.K: I can't believe I'm the one saying it, and I know my great pal Robert Rowell won't believe it either when he reads this, but when I look at the Raiders, Detroit Lions, San Diego Padres and, yes, the LA Clippers, I see teams with front-office foolishness that at least equals and possibly surpasses this recent spate of Warriors idiocy.
The Warriors' problems, more than the other teams I mentioned, stem more from irrationality and neuroses, which is different. The Raiders are messed up by Al Davis' ego/loopiness, the Lions and Padres are flat-out incompetent and the Clippers are a whole other demented dimension.
But that doesn't really matter for Warriors fans and it shouldn't. They're seeing the product of a long series of Warriors miscalculations and desperation moves, all dating to the start of the Cohan ownership.
There are three constants for the last 15 years: The team hasn't won except for a quick recent blip, top players have either been traded or haven't wanted to come here, and Cohan has been the owner. I think the last item is the reason for all of it.
I don't think it's a very fair comparison of personnel talent, but the way they're treating Chris Mullin now is not dissimilar than the way Rowell and Cohan put Garry St. Jean in limbo for two years–he was the GM, but not really the GM, as they lined up Mullin for the job.
Mullin is 1,000 times the GM that St. Jean was, with some weaknesses, but now he's the one serving out his time in limbo, while Rowell and Cohan bide their time and destroy whatever momentum Mullin had built.
It's a pattern. Rowell and Cohan and neuroses and losing. That's the pattern.
Warriorsworld.net: Is there any chance Cohan sells the team? Strips power from Rowell and allows a Basketball person make the basketball decisions rather than have power drunk Rowell play out his gm fantasies?
T.K: There are always rumors that Cohan could sell the team, but I've never heard anything serious–if he didn't sell the team back in the early-2000s, I don't know what would get him to sell now. Unless the attendance falls off. That's the fourth constant of the Warriors: INCREDIBLE FAN SUPPORT. As long as the arena is packed, there's no reason for Cohan to even think about selling (or firing Rowell). Especially in this economy. But if the attendance falls…
Then I think Rowell could be in jeopardy, or Cohan could start to contemplate selling off a majority chunk of the team, possibly to the group of investors who bought in a few years ago.
Warriorsworld.net: Does the Team feel the heat from having such a horrible series of moves since the "We Believe" playoff run or are they too oblivious to everything around them?
T.K: The Warriors' brass feels the heat from the fans and the local and national media, there is absolutely zero question about that. That's the thing about the Warriors–they're supremely sensitive to criticism, which is both good and bad. Good, because you want them to care about their great fans, and I think Cohan and Rowell respond to it with things like the Maggette signing after Baron left and the hiring of Don Nelson, at no minimal cost to Cohan.
But it's also bad–and I'd say it's MORE bad than good–because that sensitivity leads them to desperate, knee-jerk moves that can easily backfire–e.g., Maggette, Don Nelson's extension. Bill Belichick doesn't give a damn about the reaction, he just wants to win. Parcells, Jerry West, Popovich, whoever you want to name.
They don't tend to think things out. I'm mostly talking about Rowell and his group of loyal lieutenants. They just put out brushfires, convince themselves that the team will be better in some uncertain future date, that the officials are screwing them, that there's a conspiracy against the Warriors… It's about trying to put themselves in the best PR light, and if they win, it's going to be by accident.
Warriorsworld.net: Having one of the if not the most loyal fan bases in sports it seems that the team takes them for granted, what if anything can fans do to dictate or voice their displeasure? Does this franchise deserve such loyal fans?
T.K: I've touched on my answer earlier and in earlier columns, which infuriated the Warriors front office, but it's the only way I see: If there is a serious hit to the season-ticket base next year, something serious will have to happen to turn back the financial tide for the Warriors, to get the general fan to believe in them again.
Tickets. It's all about tickets.
That's the Warriors' only truth now: If the arena is filled, the Warriors think everything is OK, or at least they'll lie to themselves and say that it is. Cohan, losing, filled arena… until the last link is broken, I think the first two pieces remain constant.
Warriorsworld.net: Nellie recently voiced his displeasure with local media and bloggers, but aside from yourself and a handful of others, the bay area has relatively "soft" media, why don't we see more aggressive, critical or "harder" opinions vs the team or franchise in general?
T.K: I do wonder about that. If Nelson is so disgusted by the criticism he has received after undermining Mullin, his own former player, and leading the team to this terrible record, what would he be thinking if he was coaching a third year in New York or Boston and producing this dreck? He'd be fired, that's the answer.
The Bay Area is just not like New York, Boston or even LA. I grew up here and I respect the calmer attitude. Of course, I don't always (or ever) follow it, but oh well.
A great percentage of local sports fans just want to presume the best about their teams. The teams are used to that. They do take advantage of it. Right now, we're seeing the results.
Warriorsworld.net: Do you ever get criticism or backlash from the Organization in regards to your articles/Blog entries? If So, how do you take them? Do they influence you in any way?
T.K: Short answer: Yes, I get backlash. But that's not a terrible thing. It keeps me on my toes and I know people are going to mention the Monta Ellis-won't-ever-play-for-the-Warriors episode. That was something I said on the radio that did not turn out to be correct, though I am not going back down from the overview thought: The Ellis suspension/void possibility is a situation that could and maybe is likely to end up ugly.
I have to be ready to accept heat for that if I criticize a team. Don Nelson can go on and on about me on the radio. That's all fair. We're big boys here. If they want to say the Warriors are a wonderful happy place and that I'm a liar and a fool for saying it isn't quite so happy, then I'm fine with that.
Ask around the league. The people who know what's up aren't going agree with the Warriors, I'll tell you that.
Hey, if I'm a columnist following this team closely and Robert Rowell ISN'T mad at me and his ticket representatives aren't telling their customers to ignore me (which I guess they are), I think maybe I'm doing it wrong.
Warriorsworld.net: Mullin on the outs, Nellie in his own world, Rowell playing fantasy basketball with the roster, what will it take to turn this franchise around? Cohan hires you tomorrow and gives you power, what do you do to get this thing going in the right direction?
T.K: Well, first off, Cohan ain't hiring me and I ain't taking a job under Chris Cohan. Had to say that. OK, to the answer. In an ideal world, I'd say that Rowell and Nelson have to go: Wrong time for Nelson, who was tremendous for the first two years but cannot be trusted to develop a young power forward when the Warriors must develop a young power forward.
For a coach: Flip Saunders, Keith Smart or, if I wanted to go in a new direction, Jeff Van Gundy would intrigue me.
I was fairly obnoxiously campaigning for Mike D'Antoni right after he left Phoenix last season… Would you like him as your Warriors coach right now? Baron would've stayed, Harrington obviously, too, get some activity out of Randolph and Wright…
But never mind.
Oh, they need a point guard, too. I remember once talking to a Warriors exec years ago, a couple months before they got Baron Davis. He said that they had talent, but just needed a center and a point guard. "Of course," he said, "that's true about 99% of the teams in the league."
I'd say it's time to cut into that monster money commitment to Stephen Jackson, Andris Biedrins, Monta Ellis and, if he doesn't opt-out, Jamal Crawford. Don't know what's possible. But unless that is broken up, this team has a little shot at getting anywhere near the 50-win mark, and if you're in the NBA, that's what you have to shoot for.
The Warriors have talent. I always disagree when people say, look, NO TALENT! There is 35- to 38-win talent on this team, and if Randolph or Wright bloom, it could be 40- to 44-win talent in a year or two. But that's it.
And they're way too clogged up with those four guys I mentioned earlier to do much about manuevering above the 44-win plateau.
Warriorsworld.net: Worst move, signing Maggette or giving Jackson an extension when he still has 2 years left on his current deal?
T.K: Though Jackson is the Warriors' best player and I respect the hell out of him because he (usually) plays excelelnt defense, and though Maggette is a strange player, I think Jackson's extension was the poorer decision because there was NO reason to do it other than to stoke Rowell's ego as The Man. Jackson had two years left. Two years left.
If Jackson hadn't gotten that three-year extension, he'd be an incredibly valuable trade asset right now. With the new deal, his value is low, low, low.
Maggette can be a useful player. I don't particularly like his game, but defenses fear him. The Warriors paid way too much and for way too long, but they needed someone like him after Baron left. It's what happens when you get into trouble: You have to over-pay someone who doesn't actually make you that much better.
Warriorsworld.net: Who misses who more, Baron misses what he had here or the Warriors miss what they had in Baron?
T.K: I think it's equal. Baron is a declining player who got a necessary career boost from the perfect playing conditions he found here under Nelson and Mullin and beside Jackson, Harrington, Barnes, Ellis and Richardson (until J-Rich was traded). That situation will never be the same. For the Warriors or Baron
Warriorsworld.net: Any words for warriorsworld.net readers?
T.K: Nothing special or original other than: The passion. It's all about the passion. I salute the passion.
Specal Thanks to Tim Kawakami for spending time with Warriorsworld.net, Discuss HERE