Friday, November 7, 2008

Warriors take a trip to dysfunction junction

I didn’t really think it was possible, but the Warriors are making a move in the battle to become the Bay Area’s most dysfunctional professional sports franchise.

No, they’ll never overtake the Raiders as long as Al Davis is in charge of the NFL’s wackiest franchise. I mean, until Warriors owner Chris Cohan fires a coach and goes overhead projector on us, he can’t compete with wild and crazy Al.

The Warriors still have a ways to go to catch the 49ers and that brand of Yorkian dysfunction. But the Warriors are definitely gaining ground.

Hours before Friday night’s game against Memphis at Oracle Arena – soon to be renamed the Nut House? – the Warriors announced news that had leaked out a day earlier. They canned assistant general manager Pete D’Alessandro and promoted assistant coach Larry Riley to replace him.

This was the latest move by Warriors uber-president Robert Rowell to both punish and disrespect executive vice president Chris Mullin. D’Alessandro was Mullin’s right-hand man, someone he trusted and relied on. Now he’s gone, reportedly for insubordination, which translates to supporting Mullin.

Why don’t Rowell and team owner Chris Cohan just fire Mullin and be done with it? Mullin, one of the most respected players and executives in team history, doesn’t deserve this type of treatment.

Yeah, Mullin has made mistakes, handed too much money to some players who didn’t deserve it. But it was Mullin who traded for Baron Davis. It was Mullin who convinced Nelson to return to the Warriors. It was Mullin who landed Stephen Jackson and Al Harrington from Indiana for Troy Murphy and Mike Dunleavy, two players most Warriors fans were worth next to nothing.

Just two seasons ago, the Warriors made the playoffs and stunned the top-seeded Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the NBA playoffs. Talk about ancient history.

The team that made the playoffs has been destroyed. Last year the Warriors traded guard Jason Richardson to Charlotte in a draft-day deal for the rights to Brandan Wright in what now seems more like a move to save money than to actually get better.

If the Warriors had kept Richardson, they’d have made the playoffs last year, too. They’d have been a deeper team with more offensive firepower. Their tank wouldn’t have been bone dry in the final weeks of the season when they faded.

This year Rowell vetoed a tentative three-year contract extension that Mullin had reached with Davis. So Davis walked away, and the Warriors received nothing in return for their best player.

I can’t blame Rowell for Monta Ellis’ crashing his moped and seriously injury an ankle. But I can blame him for playing over-the-top hardball with Ellis to the point that Ellis, even if he does recover completely, might try to force the Warriors to trade him. To make matters worse, Rowell publicly ripped Mullin for being too soft on Ellis. Classy move.

Forward Al Harrington is as good as gone. He asked to be traded, and the Warriors apparently are trying to deal him. Harrington’s issues are with Nelson, not Rowell. But if he leaves, it will be just one more piece of the “We Believe” playoff team that’s been lost.

Add him to a list that includes Mickael Pietrus and Matt Barnes, who left after last season as free agents.

Ah, sweet dysfunction.


  1. The Warriors are solid and look fine to me.


    The Raiders and the Niners.

  2. Robert Rowell needs to mind his own business and stay within his duties at the Warriors front office.


    Al Davis