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Warriors Update – December 26, 2009

dan germanContributor IDecember 27, 2009

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 16:  Monta Ellis #8 of the Golden State Warriors shoots the ball during their game against the San Antonio Spurs at Oracle Arena on December 16, 2009 in Oakland, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Warriors Update – December 26, 2009

An Open Letter to the Warriors Brass

Gentlemen:

There’s no denying it.  Trouble is brewing in Warrior-land.  Losses are piling up early in the season.  Attendance is dropping off.  Fan interest is waning.  And yes, irrelevance has arrived, not even 1/3 into the season.

Chris, Li’l Bobby, Nellie, GM-in-training Larry, your enumerable, loud and very public problems are front and center:  your dysfunctional image; your slow but steady negative cash flow; your public lashings for turning the 2008 .585 winning club into a .250 losing team in the blink of an eye.

But, hey fellas, we have the answer you’re searching for.  It’s quick, it’s easy and it solves all your problems in one fell swoop.

To make it work, a number of breaks have to fall your way, and, interestingly, everything is working so far.  All that is needed is one last piece needs to fall in place:  The New Orleans Hornets have to lose games.  A bunch of them, and the sooner the better.

Look what’s happened so far: The Steph Curry and Anthony Randolph dress rehearsal well this week in Louisiana.  Hornets attendance is dropping faster than New Orleans levies, and ownership there is bleeding money with no end in sight.  

The quicker New Orleans is out of the playoff race, the faster a Hornets roster purge, rebuilding program and salary relief will seem logical and well, downright sensible.

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If it happens quickly, maybe you can steal another Hornets franchise point guard and no one will notice, a la Baron Davis, or Pau Gasol for a Big Mac and some frequent flier miles.

The deal works like this: Golden State acquires $89 million of salaries with

-       Chris Paul ($13m, 3 years)

-       Emeka Okafor ($10m, 5 years)

 

And New Orleans takes back $33.1 million of salaries with:

-       Stephan Curry ($2.7m, 4 years)

-       Anthony Randolph ($2m, 3 years)

-       Warriors 2010, 2012 #1 picks

-       Raja Bell ($5.1m, 1 year)

-       Speedy Claxton ($5m, 1 year)

-       Deavan George ($1.6m, 1 year)

-       Vlad Rad ($6m, 2 years)

Why does this make sense to New Orleans?  First, New Orleans has an 09-10 payroll of $73 million and a 10-11 payroll of $72 million.  They will owe $12 million in luxury tax to the league this season, and about the same next year.  Add to that a regularly half empty arena and you are staring at an untenable business model that loses money faster than the Warriors lose games.  The Hornets are a .500 club at best and the faster they realize it, the easier it will be to consummate this trade.  They just don’t have enough pieces to compete, and probably won’t make the playoffs this year or next.  Time to break up the dynasty. 

But the Hornets can sell it as a win-win: immediate luxury tax relief and expiring contracts (Raja, Speedy, George).  Shed $50+ million of salaries over the next few years and put together a promising nucleus that can compete in short order.  Curry, Collison, Randolph and Bobby Brown make up a reasonably good nucleus that can quickly become respectable.

  The Warriors have a multitude of reasons to do this:

1)    The flailing franchise is revived, and team becomes competitive again, almost immediately, maybe even playoff bound.  Lagging ticket sales pick up.

2)    Management gets a new face, a true superstar, to market.

3)    Monta gets on-court help.  Finally.

4)    The Warriors right away have the best backcourt in the NBA.

5)    The mortgaged future becomes less relevant as the front office markets George Allen’s “the future is now” mantra.

6)    All those power forwards who publicly - and emphatically - said no to Oakland reconsider.

7)    The franchise’s financial bleeding stops and a massive cash flow meltdown is averted.

8)    The value of the franchise improves enough for Larry Ellison to say yes to Chris Cohan’s price.

9)    Professional basketball returns to the Bay Area.

Come on, fellas.  It’s a way out.  It’s the way out.   It’s your only way out.

Just root for the Hornets to lose.  The sooner the better.

So, Li'l Bobby, right the sinking ship, repair your image, get back to the playoffs.  Trade the future and expiring contracts, and get Chris Paul.

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Warriors Notes and Thoughts:

The Ws are 7-21, and the next five games are against top 10 teams.  7-26 two weeks from now is likely, but don’t be surprised if one of these teams, on the road, is a bit tired, takes the Ws too lightly, maybe missing Paul Pierce, gets into a tight game and one or more of the Warriors’ non-shooting shooters (Morrow, Watson, Vlad Rad) starts finding the bottom of the net again.  Turiaf and Biedrins grab just enough rebounds to hold off the comeback and voila! The Ws beat a good team!  Nicely done, says management; it’ll give fans a touch more false hope, sell a few more tickets, and in the end, improve to 8-25...

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The “I-hate-to-think-of-it” thought of the day:  What happens to the Warriors if, after 46 minutes of a hard fought one on five game for Monta, Ellis’s fatigued calf muscles give out and he endures a high ankle sprain?  We shudder to think of the D-league team that tries to compete after that...

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As always, Go Warriors!