Chris Mullin's Make-Or-Break Summer

Jin WooContributor IJuly 2, 2008

The first week of the NBA off-season has been an exciting one for the Golden State Warriors and General Manager Chris Mullin has yet to make a move…well an attempted move that has proved to be fruitful. 

Just last week, rumors were flying that had the Warriors sending Baron Davis and Al Harrington to the Detroit Pistons for Chauncey Billups and Rasheed Wallace. Two days ago, the Warriors were content that team captain Baron Davis was staying put.

As that assumption blew up in the Warriors' face just hours before the deadline to opt-out, the Dubs are now left scrambling.

Mullie didn’t anticipate Davis leaving, but coughing up top dollar for BD after one iron man season didn’t make sense. Not knowing if Davis could hold-up for a second season of 82 games and limiting his playing time to account for his knee was a risk the Dubs couldn’t make, especially after just getting rid of Mike Dunleavy and Troy Murphy.

Mullin can now be seen firing max contracts to this year’s top free agents Gilbert Arenas and Elton Brand.

Agent Zero, originally drafted by the Warriors, would have stayed in Golden State but headed east when the Dubs couldn’t pay what the Warriors East, aka the Washington Wizards, offered.

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The Wizards, even with the re-signing of Antwan Jamison, are not a credible playoff team. And now that the Warriors have a better cap situation, a better supporting cast, a brighter outlook and the freedom of playing Nellie Ball, Agent Zero should think twice before turning down the chance to make the west coast home again.

But Brand should be the preferred choice as he averages a double-double, blocks shots, and can bang with the big boys in the West.

If he chooses to stay with the Clippers, Brand would be relegated to third fiddle in Los Angeles behind Baron Davis and Kobe Bryant.

Brand faces the risk of having to deal with Clippers owner Donald Sterling changing his profit-driven franchise on a whim back into the laughing stock of the NBA. Sterling’s never been committed to winning if it doesn’t mean profits and almost fired Head Coach Mike Dunleavy several times last year and was unable to pull the trigger on trades put into place like the deal to bring Andre Miller to town.

If he chooses to join the Warriors, Brand would be the best talent in Northern California on a team committed to staying away from another playoff drought. He’ll be in San Francisco, one of the top destinations in America, and know that Mullin would be committed to putting players on the court that will pay off.

The Warriors have gone after Kevin Garnett, Agent Zero, and even Brand in the last year and the law of averages says the Warriors will get their turn to land the big dog.

BD is on a different agenda as his hometown, alma mater and his movie business based in Southern California.

Although the uncertainty of who will be Nellie’s successor after the upcoming season may concern free agents, Mullie is in the hot seat to make the Warriors a contender and this off-season will be his defining moment.

With cap space, a hall-of-fame coach, and a young nucleus, you really can’t ask for more from a general manager perspective.

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