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    11

    Robert Rowell speaks…

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    [7:39 p.m. EDIT -- I added my one-on-one questions with Rowell at the bottom.]

    And we transcribe. Thanks to a joint effort of several media members here at Oracle Arena, we have a transcript of Warriors team president Bobby Rowell’s 10-minute discussion of the Monta Ellis affair. I’ll be adding my own story later — and my own followups to Rowell — but here’s the raw data for you to digest:

    (How did you get to 30 games?)
    We spent a lot of time trying to figure out the best way to make sure we had enough time for Monta to rehabilitate himself. We could have actually suspended him indefinitely but it was something that we didn’t want to do because I think our biggest concern is we want to make sure that Monta comes back and rehabilitates and focuses mentally on getting back onto the basketball floor. We felt that 30 games was an appropriate number based on that.
    (Is it an estimation of how many games he might miss, also?)
    No. I’m not a doctor so I think it’s hard to see but I think based on what we’ve been told and where we’re at, I think 30 games is something that allows Monta to get the opportunity to get back onto the floor and get himself ready. To us it’s something that will incent him to get back onto the floor. Obviously after 30 games he’ll start getting paid.
    (3 million dollars … is he happy?)
    You’d have to ask him if he’s happy with it. I’m mean I’m not happy that I have to give him a suspension for 30 games. I’d rather be anywhere but here and I would rather have been dealing with anything but this over the course of the last month.
    (What were the specifics that went into it?)
    Players operate under a Uniform Player Contract in our league and when you violate a provision of the contract you need to be accountable for your actions. This is something that doesn’t happen a lot in the NBA. We’re in somewhat uncharted waters with this. There’s only been a couple incidents where people were injured while participating in prohibited activities. To us this is big for the organization. We made a commitment to Monta for $66 million to be a great basketball player. We’re in a situation where he is now not with us. We’re going to do everything possible that we can obviously to get him back and to help him rehab and get back on the basketball floor but right now we felt that it was an appropriate consequence.
    (Is voiding out of the question now?)
    Our expectation is that Monta fully recovers, he’s back on the floor and he has a prosperous career as a Golden State Warrior. That’s our goal and that’s what our focus is.
    (If he doesn’t recover fully can you void?)
    I think that that is something that we obviously have our rights reserved but other than that, that’s something that really isn’t an issue at this moment. We feel that it’s an injury he’s going to fully recover from.
    (What rights are left?)
    What rights are left?
    (Do you have the ability to suspend him again?)
    Those are questions that I don’t have answers too today.
    (If he comes back in a lesser version of himself can you take another bite out of contract?)
    That’s something that we’ll review at that time but again our position right now is that that’s not what our goals and objectives are here. Our goals and objectives are to rehabilitate Monta.
    (Is his agent online with this?)
    You would have to speak with him but he’s not in complete alignment with us on this agreement.
    (Could you go further?)
    You’d have to speak with him.
    (Good luck)
    (Is this suspension based on violation of contract or lying?)
    Basically, we took everything into account when we made our decision as to what we were going to do. From our perspective the critical point here is that Monta was engaged in a prohibited activity and violated the provision of his contract and is injured and because of that is going to miss X number of games. I don’t know how many that’s going to be, but that’s really where we made our decision.
    (Have all your questions been answered?)
    Yes. In fact that’s one of the things. When we found out the injury didn’t occur on the basketball floor then we had questions to ask. And when we had questions to ask we needed them to get answered. And then the answering of one question begs the asking of another and then obviously we’ll want to sit down with the representatives and have conversations and discussions and have face to face conversations, interactions and then make our decision.
    (Do you feel like they gave you the runaround?)
    I don’t feel like they gave us the runaround. I think Jeff Fried was cooperative. It was just difficult to get some of the information. It was nothing but just kind of logistically difficult. It had nothing to do with him. He was very cooperative.
    (Was the nature of the injury as described?)
    It was a moped and it was a 250cc moped.
    (Does his status with this team as leader take a hit?)
    I don’t think so. I thought highly of Monta going into the decision that we had to make the other day and I think just as highly of him as a person. He’s a 22-year-old young man who has done a lot of great things to get himself into a position where he was to get a $66 million contract. We have faith in him that he’s going to continue to prosper and be a great player in this league. He’s got six years on his contract and he’s a Golden State Warrior and we’re going to work with him along the way. I think we can have a very positive relationship.
    (You said his agent wasn’t in alignment on this. Were others in your organization on board, like Mullin and Nelson?)
    They’re in agreement with what we’ve done because they know that’s where we’re at.
    (Did you give them input into the decision?)
    No, and in fact, Chris Mullin made it perfectly clear to both Mr. Cohan and myself that he didn’t think this was a big deal at the beginning. And we happen to think it’s a very big deal. We happen to think that it’s a big deal for our fans, it’s a big deal for our season ticket-holders, it’s a big deal for our business partners, it’s a big deal for the Warriors organization. I’ve had discussions with Don and Don realizes and understands this is a contractural issue that needs to be dealt with at our level. He’s hired to coach our basketball team and he’s done a great job of doing that. and he knows that these decisions need to be made by different people.
    (Was voiding the contract considered?)
    It wasn’t.
    (At all?)
    No.
    (Where does the $3M go, does it come off the salary cap?)
    It doesn’t come off the salary cap. It’s a suspension of the player and it actually will be a reduction in his salary for this season. It still sits on our cap for the year.
    (What will you do with the $3M?)
    I can tell you this: Our season ticket-holders will benefit from the entire amount next season in their renewals.

    One-on-one with 48minutes.net
    (What options do you have if he’s Anthony Roberson instead of Monta Ellis?)
    That’s a sticky scenario. Again, talk about being in uncharted waters. That’s never been done.
    (But you still have options?)
    I’ve given so little thought to that that I don’t even know if I can give you a real intelligent answer, other than preserving our rights and reserving our rights, which we have. We’ve asserted that. However, that’s a sentence. As far as how it gets done, that’s so far from – because I think this injury is one where he’s going to come back and he’s going to be a good player. Nobody wants that scenario to happen. If it happens, you’ve got to deal with it.
    (I’m sure you’re searched for precedents?)
    Jay Williams is the only one. And even in that instance, they sat down with the player and negotiated a buyout with that contract.
    (Are you afraid he’ll hold a grudge over the amount?)
    I’m hoping that he is professional and understands that we’re not doing this to punish him. This is being done because he violated his contract. And when I say punish him, it’s not vindictive at all, it’s not personal. This is a business decision that we made. We could have done an indefinite suspension, and what would that have done? That wouldn’t have given him any incentive to get back on the basketball floor. Then he would have put himself in a situation where he would have rushed back and all he would have been worried about is the money and getting paid, and then we could have a player that is screwed up forever. You could have a guy who never recovers.
    (How will it play in the locker room with his teammates? Do you care?)
    You always care. I think you always care what your players think. But I think what it also clearly does is it says, ‘Guys, you need to be accountable for your actions.’ There’s a reason why that’s a prohibited activity in the Uniform Player Contract.
    (Is Stephen Jackson still talking directly to you about an extension?)
    Stephen made it clear last year that he wants to retire as a Warrior. One of the things with Stephen, that’s really a testament to his growth and maturity, and kind of who he is. He’s embraced our organization, and we’ve embraced him. He is a guy full of energy that we’d love to have around here. And he doesn’t have an agent, which is unique as well. So he said, ‘Hey, can we have a conversation?’ and we’ve had a couple of conversations. My guys know about those conversations.
    (Do you feel like that undermines Chris at all?)
    I’m the president. Chris works for me. No, we have a good relationship.
    (I understand that, but all the other people who are dealing with contracts deal with him.)
    Not necessarily. I get involved in contract negotiations all the time.
    (But after they’ve been initiated through Mullin.)
    He (Jackson) doesn’t have an agent, though. And he wants to sit down. Do owners sit down and have meetings with players?
    (Absolutely, but this is the first time, I believe, someone has circumvented Mullin.)
    It’s funny, because my guys, we talked this summer and they were laughing. And they both said, ‘Hey, we both know Jack’s coming next to you, that’s for sure.’ We’re fine. It’s not an issue.

    – Geoff

18 Responses to “Robert Rowell speaks…”

  1. I have a bad feeling about this.

    I think Mullin’s with another organization after the season and we’re still dealing with having Cohan and Rowell steering the ship.

    Problem is, it feels like the name of that ship is the Titanic.

  2. absolutely correct. Rowell will take over next year and hire Garry St Jean

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