Warriors owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber made the decision swiftly, and the NBA approved of the plan with even quicker haste. Their desire to move into a state-of-the-art arena in the glamorous metropolis across the bay is fueled by the goal of strengthening the team’s overall brand and turning the franchise into one of the league’s more respected and reputable organizations.
Oh, and they also want the Warriors to win games, too.
Ever since Lacob and Guber swooped in and bought the franchise in 2010, grandiose visions of building up the Warriors brand and enhancing its profitability have been at the forefront of their executive summary. The Dubs have already climbed to No. 8 in the league in terms of team value, according to Forbes.com. That’s a 24 percent increase from last year, second-highest in the league behind only the Los Angeles Lakers.
Lacob and Guber have not been shy about putting their bottomless pockets to work, knowing their financial resources can certainly subsidize a successful business model. In today’s era of billionaire sports franchise ownership groups, nothing is more important than appreciating the value of that team, through bells-and-whistles arenas and stadiums. The Warriors are apparently following suit, moving out of the industrious Oakland cesspool and into the tech-rich corporate suite that is San Francisco.
But aside from the picturesque backdrop and the oohs and ahhs of the Warriors' projected fancy arena, what does this relocation really mean? Does this impending move equal team success on the court? Obviously, Warriors ownership believes so. However, it’s likely that they are dreaming too big. Or those dreams simply indicate the Warriors are out of their minds.
San Francisco does not necessarily equate winning success. Simply filling out a change of address form doesn’t make you smarter, better or more successful. You have to have the innate talent and promise already engrained in yourself. The other stuff only makes you appear greater than you are.
Just because you lied about your address so that you could attend that private high school out of your district doesn’t mean you’ll get straight "A"s. You need to have the brains and other resources to truly achieve success.
The Warriors so far do not appear to have either. I take that back: They have the resources (money), they just don’t have the brains (basketball acumen.)
Since their purchase of the organization in 2010, Warriors ownership has hired two head coaches; opted not to exercise an amnesty clause on their most difficult player contract (Andris Biedrins) and traded away its franchise player, Monta Ellis, for someone who was not healthy enough to suit up for the remainder of the season.
They've been sued in a sexual harassment suit involving Ellis; cut Jeremy Lin, the author of the greatest basketball epidemic, Linsanity and savior of the NBA season; and lost out on a bidding war for free-agent center DeAndre Jordan. Oh, and they have been booed at Chris Mullin’s jersey retirement ceremony.
Quite a lot of turmoil in less than 24 months of ownership. What makes them believe that this ship is turned around and headed in the right direction simply because they are hopping across the pond? Are potential free agents really that interested in the arena they play in? Or are they watching closely at the front office drama behind closed doors?
Maybe players don’t care about the business politics and they just want to get paid. Certainly, the Warriors have proved they have money to throw around and are willing to pay whatever the price in order to win now. Hell, they obviously don’t care about the ridiculously higher cost of living in San Francisco, the increased taxes and strained economy.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean that the more money you put in, the better the product—especially in professional sports. More specifically, in the NBA, a league in which an absurd 53 percent of the teams make the playoffs. Can the Dubs seriously make a title run even if they had one elite-level free agent join their team?
How important is market location for building a winning basketball team?
Moreover, as Monte Poole of the Bay Area New Group asks, does moving to larger market equal a title run? Wouldn’t New York, the Mecca of basketball, then already have at least one championship in the past 39 years? See, location is not everything.
In fact, the only thing that matters is an organization that is backed by solid management with a dedication to the product itself—the scouting, the coaching, the system. Look at San Antonio—they’re an incredibly small market, and the Spurs have four championships since 1999.
But Lacob and Guber are not about small-market sensibility. They care not about the grass-roots diehard fans, and are more interested in the corporate partnerships that make going to an NBA game the experience—not winning an NBA game.
Then it becomes like a CGI-laden movie—say, Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace. You can spend all the money you want on a big-time brand and fine-tune all the aesthetics; but if the storyline is crappy, nobody’s gonna care. It looks nice, but so what?
The Warriors in San Francisco look nice, but...
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