In the past 14 years (excluding the last two), the Golden State Warriors franchise has been marked with chaos, abominable management, potential hall-of-famers shown the door, and two filthy figures that could care less if Oracle Arena burned down in front of their money-filled eyes.
Webber averaged 17.5 points and 9.1 rebounds per game and won the NBA Rookie of the Year Award. The lanky 6’10’’ power forward/center, was also a crucial factor in getting the always-struggling Bay Area team into the playoffs.
However, Webber encountered some issues with the Don Nelson, head coach of the Warriors.
Nelson primarily desired to utilize Webber as a big-time post player for the Warriors, using Webber’s tremendous ball-handling and passing abilities to threaten opposing defenses. To balance out his great innovation of “small-ball,” Nelson moved Webber to center.
The skilled forward disliked the idea, obviously, and showed it. That sentiment by Webber forced the trade that sent Chris elsewhere, and left the Warriors without a player who could have pushed them deep into the playoffs over the coming years; and possibly gotten them a championship.
From then on, Nelson’s image and influence over the Warriors' players began to deteriorate. Those same notions about 'Nellie' have resurfaced over the last two years. When he landed in the Bay Area again and led the team into an electrifying playoff experience in 2007 they seemd to be tamped down. However, such derision doesn't die down easily.
The following year, the Warriors won 48 games, but missed the playoffs again. Fans weren't happy.
Prior to the start of last season, the second-winningest coach in NBA history made it extremely clear that his goal was for the team to make the playoffs—nothing more, nothing less.
The loyal fans and the media hyped up the situation and painted Nelson as the Warriors’ savior. However, he didn't come close to being their savior—not remotely close.
Nelson went with virtually an eight-player rotation, irritated the best power forward who could fit in his run & gun system (aside from Dirk Nowtizki) in Al Harrington, kept Brandan Wright on the sidelines, and wore out the Warriors Big 3 (Stephen Jackson, Baron Davis, and Monta Ellis), overplaying them to an average of 41.8 minutes per game.
In the previous off-season, the filthy Warriors’ executives, owner Chris Cohan and president Robert Rowell, vetoed Mullin’s contract extension to Baron Davis. Reports came out from various Bay Area news agencies that also linked Nelson with Davis’ departure to the Clippers—a move that destroyed both the Clippers and the Warriors. Why would management and the coach commit such a felony?
It is, after all, an NBA felony if you let go of a team’s superstar, unless he’s a franchise destroyer.It’s a reoccurring piece of Warriors’ history, isn’t it? The same way Nelson and management destroyed relations with Webber; they have done similarly with Davis. Cohan decided to support Nelson rather than Webber in the early ‘90s.
He decided to support him again by giving him a contract extension that takes its toll until the 2011-2012 season. All of this in favor of showing the vice president of basketball operations, Chris Mullin, the door in this upcoming off-season.
Rowell, along with Cohan’s approval, fired Pete D'Alessandro, Mullin’s right-hand man and respected capologist around the league. His replacement was Larry Riley, Nelson’s right-hand man.
By making that move, Rowell and Cohan have both virtually put Nelson into the team’s General Manager role. It is not hard to see. The evidence?
Nelson attempted to trade Anthony Randolph at the beginning of the season, and reportedly informed his former agent BJ Armstrong that Randolph’s services are no longer needed with this franchise.
When do coaches speak directly to player agents? Don’t they have to inform a team official first?
Next, he got into his cute little spat with Jackson, called him the worst player on the floor for the team, and forced Jackson to refute reports of the incident.
Right after the Warriors’ 2007 playoff run, he urged Mullin to trade Monta Ellis, but Mullin just let it go. Before the 2009 trade deadline, ESPN reported that Nelson wanted to trade Andris Biedrins and Randolph for Chris Bosh. Two days after the report came out; Nelson went on his infamous radio show and refuted all reports.
Recently, he told starting point guard Jamal Crawford that he has to opt-out or else trading him would be inevitable in the off season. Surprisingly, that’s after he said that he wants Crawford as a permanent Warrior right after he landed in the Bay Area.
Most importantly, when Nelson is asked about any kind of trades and off season dealings the team is willing to make, Mullin appears in the conversation.
However, Nelson doesn’t seem to comprehend that this “go talk to Mullin, I’m the coach” mofo is not effective with the media or the fans anymore. It’s becoming old, Sir Nelson. The damage has already been done.
In addition, Ellis has voiced his unhappiness with rumors the team is ready to terminate his contract at the end of the season. He doesn't need this looming over his head, and it might prevent him from ever returning as the 'Old' Ellis we know and love.
The 6’3’’ lightning-quick guard has not attended a team photo shoot, skipped some practices, and didn’t join the team on this current road trip.
Quite frankly, the loyal fans of this disoriented franchise do not desrve to be treated the way they are.
When the fans finally found their team in the playoffs and in the national spotlight in 2007, they were relieved that the 13-year playoff drought was over. However, the 2008-2009 campaign has all the makings of history repeating itself; and the Golden State Warriors and their fans losing out once again.