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News » Golden State Warriors Getting Inside 2009-05-28

Golden State Warriors Getting Inside 2009-05-28

Golden State Warriors Getting Inside 2009-05-28
Larry Riley is in and Chris Mullin is out. But to say Riley is replacing Mullin in the Warriors' front office isn't totally accurate.

Golden State president Bob Rowell announced May 12 the organization would not be giving Mullin an extension as the club's executive vice president of basketball operations, allowing him to walk as a front-office "free agent" even before his contract was to expire July 1.

At the same time, Riley was named the team's new general manager, a title that's technically one rung on the ladder below Mullin's old executive VP position.

Yes, Riley was put in a position of being the chief decision-maker on the basketball side of the operation, but the ultimate title of executive VP remains open.

The 64-year-old Riley's first order of business was to convince everyone he in fact would be making decisions, rather than serving as a "yes man" for Rowell and powerful coach Don Nelson.

"I know a lot of you," he addressed to the media, "are probably sitting there going, 'Well, geez, this is just Don Nelson's buddy. This is the guy who's put in a position to be Nellie's puppet.' Let's not fool anybody about that nonsense.

"Now, does Nellie dictate my life? No. Is he a good friend? Yes. Do I listen to him? Yes. If I have to make a counter-decision, I'll make it."

It was interesting to note Riley used the term "counter-decision," inferring someone else had already made an initial decision. The media left unconvinced.

Rowell said Mullin was let go because the team had made the playoffs just once in his five years running the basketball operation, and that wasn't acceptable.

"Our fans deserve better than that," boasted owner Chris Cohan's right-hand man, who won a power struggle over Mullin on two key issues last offseason: the club choosing not to re-sign Baron Davis and the 30-game suspension slapped onto Monta Ellis in the wake of his scooter accident.

Riley, who was a key decision-maker in the Vancouver Grizzlies' organization from 1994 to 2000, recognizes the bar is set high for his new assignment.

"We will have failed if we don't get to the playoffs before I'm done," he assured. "And if we don't get to the playoffs soon, I won't be here that long."

According to a report in the Bay Area News Group, Riley was given a three-year contract and will be the lowest-paid GM in the league.

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 28, 2009


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