50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong, but how many Warriors does it take to reach the same critical mass on Don Nelson?
By Geoff Lepper
It’s hard to imagine things can come more unglued for a Warriors team that is universally derided as the NBA’s most dysfunctional, but there it is: star guard Monta Ellis and head coach Don Nelson got into it after practice Thursday in New York.
Blow-by-blow accounts by Rusty Simmons and Marcus Thompson II are already up and available for viewing. The distillation: Monta is aggrieved at being blamed for all the problems in Warriors-land, and Nelson, already dealing with an angry and benched (and allegedly “injured”) Stephen Jackson, doesn’t want to hear about it from another player.
Tim Kawakami, who has been the trailblazer on the Ellis-is-pissed-off-at-the-Warriors storyline, already weighed in with the assertion that “Ellis’ mood is at a boiling point” and that he’s just about to (if he hasn’t already) vented to management about his frustrations.
Tim mentions Anthony Randolph (who is proving once again that he can put up big numbers, if Nelson is forced by injury or foul trouble into letting him play through a mistake or two), Andris Biedrins (who didn’t do much at Media Day to hide how much would have enjoyed playing with Steve Nash this season) and Ronny Turiaf (one of a very select group of Warriors who consistently give 100 percent) as guys who are also getting close to the edge.
Let’s not forget some other names, players who are not going to speak out but still could benefit from change: Stephen Curry would undoubtedly welcome relocation to an organization where passing the ball to the open man is considered typical, rather than a once-a-week occurrence. C.J. Watson sees his future earnings vanishing into the distance with every game where he either doesn’t play or gets slotted as the fourth-string PG, behind Ellis, Curry and Acie Law.
Basically, the only guy who comes out of all the mess unscathed — like Cyrano Jones downing free drinks in the bar brawl during “The Trouble With Tribbles” — is Corey Maggette, whose role (and free pass when it comes to accountability) never seems to change.
Along with Nelson, of course.
Larry Riley is feverishly working the phones, trying to negotiate some acceptable way out of this logjam, but there is another option aside from simply dumping Jackson their best players for 10 cents on the dollar.
Check out this quote from Hornets VP of basketball Chad Shinn — son and heir apparent of team owner George — with regard to New Orleans’ firing of coach Byron Scott earlier today: “We talked about the fact that everyone on our staff is held to a certain standard of performance and we didn’t feel this was happening at the head coach level.”
(Can anyone imagine Chris Cohan or Bobby Rowell uttering such words?)
Certainly, it’s hard to argue that the Warriors are getting anywhere near an adequate level of performance from Nelson, who has looked dispirited and grouchy for the better part of a year and has sent out a team that almost constantly underwhelms with its lack of passion for the game.
Instead of trying to offload massive contracts in a financial climate that makes such moves nigh impossible, the Warriors could just eat the remainder of the $12 million, two-year deal Nelson is working on.
RCA Records once told us “50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong.” There is a similar tipping point on an NBA roster where the coach has so few allies among the players that it’s cheaper and easier to let him go.
If the Warriors haven’t already reached that point, it’s certainly approaching fast. The question is, what will Cohan and Rowell do about it?
Whatever they choose, the timeliness is paramount. Returning home from this road trip with the same roster (including coaches) intact should not be an option.
13 Responses to “50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong, but how many Warriors does it take to reach the same critical mass on Don Nelson?”
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michaeld November 12th, 2009 at 4:00 pm
“Returning home from this road trip with the same roster (including coaches) intact should not be an option.”
I couldn’t agree more.
If equal return for Jackson isn’t realistic, what might the market for Monta look like?
I would pay millions for a video of the conversation Rowell and Cohan had about giving Jack an extension last offseason.
Hey, this dude has two criminal convictions and is entirely erratic on and of the court, let’s market him as a team leader, all-star hopeful, and building block of the franchise! He’s almost as good as Lebron James!
Cohan, Rowell, and Nellie need to commit seppoku. Ellis and Jack should do it to, but I don’t think that erases their cap hit.
Sadly, this club’s problems go way beyond the head coach. Looking at the roster, can we even say that they are underachieving?
At this point, can anyone say that Don Nelson is effectively managing his roster? If he’s not, then why is he still the coach? I’ve been a fan of Nelson’s up-tempo coaching style for years, but as an outside looking in, it appears that he’s created many of the problems are now dealing with.
He’s starting to remind me of Al Davis of the past 7 years.
Fierce South November 12th, 2009 at 11:45 pm
>>At this point, can anyone say that Don Nelson is effectively managing his roster? If he’s not, then why is he still the coach?
Jason, sadly Nelson is still the coach because Bobby Rowell gave him a two year extension for no good reason.
They’re not going to release Nelson unless Nelson gives up a significant chunk of his remaining contract.
Of course, this is similar to Stack Jack’s situation. Jackson is still here only because Rowell had the stupidity to extend his contract.
My question is why is Robert Rowell still the team President? If Cohan had any brains, he would’ve fired Rowell years ago.
Cohan would only fire someone if it would save him money. That means the negatives have to be greater then the positives.
and the negatives show up on the balance sheet. Big time.
Cohan already lost the press so a new coach would only be done to salvage the season/revenue.
Firing Nelson is -12M Plus the cost of a replacement coach.
GSW could go for a new coach like a Vinny Del Negro; 4 M for two years.
It’s reaching the point where if Rowell and Riley do not sever Nellie,he drags them down with him. Not that that’s a bad idea….but I don’t think Rowell wants to lose his role on a low. At some point, Rowell cuts his losses and saves his own job. It could be sooner than you think.
In such a maddening context, is it abnormal for players to be frustrated,confused,even paranoid? The players are the ones exposed they want to play,they want to win,they have pride and a lot of money at stake and need to feel that the coach/management is a PLUS and not an obstacle to success.
cheesy poofs 5000 November 13th, 2009 at 2:12 pm
the ship be sunk.
Geoff Lepper November 13th, 2009 at 2:13 pm
@michaeld: The market for Monta is obviously more friendly, because Monta’s a better, younger player than Jack. But the size of that contract is still going to turn off a lot of teams. He would have to go to a team that’s going to make him their centerpiece, because he’s going to be pulling down centerpiece money.
Geoff Lepper November 13th, 2009 at 2:19 pm
@joesez: Well, the cost now is probably $10M plus the new coach, assuming Nelson spreads his payments out over the course of the season. But you’re right, and that’s why I assume if Nelson does not complete this season, it’ll be Keith Smart who takes them the rest of the way, with an interim tag.
Nyles Modem November 13th, 2009 at 5:40 pm
Memories… of 2007 have to be the reason for all the extended contracts. The only guy that didn’t get one was Baron, was the leader of the pack, the reason the chemistry worked. So much for that.
Smart could take them to the end of the season but it will be a disaser. Bulls let Scott Skiles go and had similar to Smart, head assistant Boylan finish out the season. It was a disaster and landed them into the lottery and jackpot Rose.
Boylan was let go for the unknown Vinny Del Negro. That was after D’Antoni went to NY (hey we beat NY).
Eventually Nelson and Cohan will be at each others throat in court. See StarTrek “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield.”
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TagsAcie Law Al Harrington Allen Iverson Andris Biedrins Anthony Morrow Anthony Randolph Baron Davis Brandan Wright C.J. Watson Chris Cohan Chris Hunter Chris Mullin Corey Maggette Dan Dickau DeMarcus Nelson Devean George Don Nelson Gilbert Arenas Jamal Crawford Jason Richardson Jeff Fried Jermareo Davidson Keith Smart Kelenna Azubuike Kevin Durant Kevin Garnett Kobe Bryant Larry Riley Marco Belinelli Marcus Williams Matt Barnes Mickael Pietrus Mikki Moore Monta Ellis Patrick O'Bryant Richard Hendrix Robert Rowell Rob Kurz Ronny Turiaf Stephen Curry Stephen Jackson Stephon Marbury Steve Nash Troy Murphy Vladimir Radmanovic
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