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News » Golden State Warriors Getting Inside 2009-05-15

Golden State Warriors Getting Inside 2009-05-15

Golden State Warriors Getting Inside 2009-05-15
It's happening quietly, but there's little doubt the transition to Larry Riley as the Warriors' new general manager is ongoing.

Chris Mullin almost surely will move on to retirement or another team when his contract is allowed to expire July 1. Some would say he's already gone -- figuratively if not literally -- from the Golden State organization.

Riley moved from the Warriors' bench to the front office during the 2008-09 season, replacing Mullin's right-hand man, Pete D'Alessandro, who was fired reportedly for supporting his immediate superior (Mullin) in his dispute with the boss (team president Bob Rowell). By season's end, it was Riley -- rather than Mullin -- who made himself available to be quoted when the media had questions that went beyond coach Don Nelson's authority.

The transition from Mullin, who is still under contract, to Riley currently is at its most awkward stage. The draft (June 25) will come up before Mullin technically will have left the organization, leaving Riley to organize the club's preparation while at the same time sidestepping questions as to why Mullin isn't doing it. The Warriors will enter the NBA Draft Lottery with the seventh-best chance of landing the No. 1 pick.

--In their first season post-Baron Davis, the Warriors slipped back to where they'd been in the last season pre-Davis: oblivion. They now must figure out a way to climb back out of the hole.

Acquiring another Baron Davis would be nice. Unlikely, but nice.

Fact is: The Warriors need to find a ball-distributing point guard. Even with more than ample firepower this season, they made it tough on themselves by playing without a true point guard most of the time.

Getting that point guard won't be easy. They'll have a lottery pick and the mid-level exception available to them, but they also have every key player under contract for next season, and those salaries might already exceed the luxury-tax threshold if it were to come down some this summer.

The player to watch this off-season is Jamal Crawford. He can opt out of the final two years of his contract, but that would mean throwing away $20 million. The chances of him doing that are somewhat remote.

That said, Crawford did average 19.7 points per game this season, so he should be able to get back most of that money in free agency. The Warriors, who already have a glut of scorers, already are pushing him in that direction.

If Crawford were to leave, the Warriors could then afford to go after both a classic point guard and classic power forward this off-season. Winning the draft lottery (they will enter it with the seventh-best odds of earning the No. 1 pick) would solve one of those problems with Oklahoma star Blake Griffin available.

SEASON HIGHLIGHT: For a 29-win team, the Warriors sure recorded their fair share of marquee wins, thumping the playoff-bound Trail Blazers, Hornets and Jazz twice apiece. But the single-biggest win had to be their 99-89 home shocker over the defending champion Celtics, who came to Oakland having won 19 of their previous 20 games and with all their big guns firing. Meanwhile, the Warriors were without Monta Ellis, Jamal Crawford and Corey Maggette, yet still pulled it off as Marco Belinelli and Ronny Turiaf introduced themselves to the Oakland fans and joined with Stephen Jackson to surprise the Celtics.

TURNING POINT: Some would say the turning point in the season occurred the day Monta Ellis crashed his motorized scooter in August, but in reality, the Warriors already had suffered an even bigger setback. When Warriors management elected not to meet Baron Davis' demands on a contract extension, the team's standout opted out of the final year of his deal and signed with the Clippers. The Warriors dropped out of playoff contention that day, then fell completely off the map when Ellis had to undergo surgery and miss the first half of the season.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: May 15, 2009


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