‘Tis the Season
By: Jordan Ramirez
Never a dull moment for Warriors fans is there?
Whether the team is making trades, changing owners or hiring coaches with zero experience, the Warriors never fail to disappoint in the entertainment department.
It began last off-season when Chris Cohan sold the franchise to Joe Lacob and Peter Guber, finally letting loose the death grip he had on the throat of the franchise. As the season progressed it became a forgone conclusion that Keith Smart wouldn’t be retained as head coach, thus starting the all enjoyable Warriors coaching carousal we’ve become accustomed too. With a new coach on the way, a GM on the ropes, two guards every team wants and a new owner looking to make a “splash,” this off-season surely wasn’t going to be a quiet one.
The first domino to fall this off-season was the retaining of GM Larry Riley and the hiring of Bob Myers as assistant GM and future GM of the team. Larry Riley was on the ropes coming into the off-season simply by being a hire during the Don Nelson era. With a new owner brought the idea that Riley would be fired, bringing in a new mindset and outlook on the team, a non-Nellieball vision. But, Riley stayed and Myers joined him. The surprise wasn’t that Riley was retained but that Myers was hired to join him and essentially follow his shadow until he eventually takes Riley’s position. An interesting predicament and situation for both but a good move for the franchise nonetheless.
The second and largest domino to fall this off-season was the hiring of Jerry West as Executive Board Member and advisor to the franchise. Shocking on multiple levels, West joined the Warriors as Confucius…err…another voice in the front office. West’s pedigree in the NBA needs no explanation, but why the Warriors? A team so associated with losing attracted a man so associated with winning seemed like a dream scenario. Nevertheless, by a blessing from the NBA gods Joe Lacob managed to attract West to the better half of California. West hopes to use his vast knowledge of the game, relationships inside NBA circles and championship pedigree to turn the Warriors from NBA doormat into legitimate title contender.
The Warriors had their GM, a new assistant GM and an NBA legend in the front office but still no head coach. The coaching rumors started with everyone from Mike Brown to Jerry Sloan. As the search continued rumors began swirling of Mike Budenholzer, Lawrence Frank and Brian Shaw. It wasn’t until late in the search, and a David Aldridge report, did the name Mark Jackson ever come into the minds of fans. A team with so many young players needed a veteran coach to foster them right? Not for Joe Lacob and Co. Lacob hired Mark Jackson, a supposed players coach, a man with plenty of heart, energy and a commitment to defense. But one problem: he’s never been a head coach at any level. Lacob hopes Jackson can relate to players better than any other candidate; using his recent experience as a player as way of teaching. Time will only tell, but when you talk about risks, Jackson needs to make some grown man moves to earn the trust of his players, fellow coaches and loyal fans.
Even with the new owner and fresh, promising front office, there still lay one last stain on the franchise from the previous regime: Robert Rowell. With all these moves taking place, many fans wondered what Rowell’s status with the club was. Was his voice still being heard? How does he still have a job? Is he dead yet? Finally, on June 21, 2011, the news that many fans wanted to hear for so long: ROWELL WAS FIRED. Whether it was overruling Chris Mullin on the Baron Davis extension, the mishandling of the Monta moped incident, offering max contracts to Elton Brand and Gilbert Arenas, giving Stephen Jackson an unheralded three year extension or the slow plot to force Mullin out of town, Rowell’s dismissal was long overdue. Finally, the most corrupted figure of the Cohan era was shown the door. Hopefully the door hit him on the way out.
The Warriors made other moves as well: hired Mike Malone as Mark Jackson’s top assistant, purchased the Dakota Wizards of the D-League, drafted Klay Thompson, Jeremy Tyler and Charles Jenkins and even hired a new CFO. Yes these are important moves, but none as monumental as the previous moves mentioned.
This off-season was nothing short of colossal for the franchise. Retaining our previous GM, hiring our future GM, bringing in The Logo as an advisor and hiring Mark Jackson as head coach, the Warriors finally delivered on their promise of making a “splash.” Even with the lockout in progress, the franchise made big steps towards becoming a better team. When the NBA returns there are still be big moves to be made: the likely trade of either Stephen Curry or Monta Ellis and the pursuit of a quality center (Nene as the likeliest option) being the immediate issues. Nevertheless, the Warriors have made huge strides in improving the structure of the franchise, now it’s time for this structure to improve the on court product. Hopefully that time is sooner rather than later.