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News » Gary Peterson: Golden State Warriors are on the verge of another massive meltdown

Gary Peterson: Golden State Warriors are on the verge of another massive meltdown

Gary Peterson: Golden State Warriors are on the verge of another massive meltdown For Warriors fans, the 1997 NBA All-Star Game was a cruel joke. Eighteen months after the first Don Nelson era had begun to implode, they were still getting dust in their eyes.

The team had been gutted in a flurry of rash decisions and lousy judgment. Reeling after seasons of 56 and 46 losses, it sat 17-29 at the break under coach Rick Adelman.

Yes, the Warriors had a player on the Western Conference All-Star team Latrell Sprewell. When Sprewell showed up in Cleveland for the event, he found no fewer than five former Warriors there to greet him.

Chris Webber was there. Having struck the spark that burned down the house by refusing to play for Nelson, he'd been traded to Washington. A happy Wizard at 23, he appeared to have an unlimited future.

The guy the Warriors received for Webber, Tom Gugliotta, was there. Googs endured a mudstorm of fan unrest and roster upheaval during his brief time with Golden State. Then he was moved to Minnesota for Donyell Marshall, at the time the man with the worst contract in the NBA.

Tim Hardaway was there. Dismayed over the Webber trade, he was dealt with forward Chris Gatling to Miami in February 1996 for Bimbo Coles and Kevin Willis. Now Tim Bug was a point guard for the East.

Incredibly, Gatling was there as well. After a short stay in Miami, he'd found new life coming off the bench for Dallas.

And Mitch Richmond was an All-Star for the fifth time in six seasons since Nelson had traded him to Sacramento for Billy Owens.

The five ex- Warriors combined for 32 points, 20 rebounds and 10 assists in the game, which served as a three-hour infomercial on their former team's serial mismanagement. And the fun was just starting. Before 1997 was over, the Warriors would trade Chris Mullin to Indiana, fire Adelman, and Sprewell would choke Adelman's successor, P.J. Carlesimo.

We bring this up not to celebrate Tuesday's release of the NBA All-Star ballots, though we wish the best of luck to Monta Ellis, Stephen Jackson, Anthony Randolph and Andris Biedrins. History suggests they'll need it, given that Sprewell's 1997 All-Star appearance stands as the most recent by a Warriors player.

No, the point here is that the implosion of Nelson's second tenure with the Warriors , currently playing at an NBA arena near you, is almost certain to have the far-reaching effects of his first. Even if you could assemble a crisis team of top NBA professionals tonight and have them on the job tomorrow, Jackson still would want out. After Jackson's departure, Ellis would be anxious to follow. Without Jackson and Ellis, Randolph would have no reason to want to stay.

Nelson's inevitable departure before his current contract expires, it says here surely would be general manager Larry Riley's cue to turn in his key card. With team president Robert Rowell making the call on the next generation of Warriors management, well, we've depressed you enough already.

It's enough to inspire visions of another bittersweet All-Star Game for Warriors fans. Let's say 2011, then close our eyes and imagine the scene at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

There's Ellis, representing the New York Knicks. The Knicks couldn't lure LeBron James out of Cleveland in the summer of 2010, but they got center Chris Bosh, and had enough cap space left over to trade for Ellis when he threatened to boycott the Warriors' training camp. Now Monta is the toast of Madison Square Garden.

There's Jackson, averaging a near triple-double (14.2-8.5-9.7) as James' wingman in Cleveland. And counting the money from his Robert Rowell annuity, of course.

Randolph can't wait for the All-Star Game, having already won the slam dunk competition. The Warriors dumped him on the Clippers; now Randolph is having the time of his life playing with Baron Davis.

Who is starting for the West team.

The Warriors had to give up Biedrins to facilitate the three-way trade in which they dumped Jackson. "Goose" is a reserve center for the East, representing New Orleans.

And Anthony Morrow is on hand, averaging 20 off the bench for Portland where players know how to get him the ball.

Nelson? He's back in Maui, nestled in a leather sofa, puffing on a cigar the size of a Duraflame, his feet propped up on a huge pile of uncashed checks.

Who said these unseemly power struggles never have a winner?

Contact Gary Peterson at

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Author: Fox Sports
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Added: November 11, 2009


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