Tag:Don Nelson
Posted on: April 27, 2011 1:31 pm
Edited on: April 27, 2011 2:04 pm
 

Warriors not bringing back Smart

Warriors coach Keith Smart, who has been under evaluation since Golden State's season ended, will not be back next season, the team announced Wednesday.

Comcast SportsNet-Bay Area first reported the decision on Smart, who took over for Don Nelson last season and went 36-46. The Warriors' new front office, led by former agent Bob Myers, decided not to pick up Smart's team option for the 2011-12 season.

Golden State joins Houston on the coaching-search trail, with the Pistons (John Kuester) soon to follow once the ownership transfer to Tom Gores is completed. The Timberwolves' basketball staff is meeting later this week to discuss, among other things, the future of coach Kurt Rambis. Sources say Minnesota brass are in no rush to make a decision on Rambis, who is in danger and will be required to make some significant changes to his style and philosophy if asked to stay.

In Toronto, coach Jay Triano's future is tied to general manager Bryan Colangelo, who appears to be on his way out unless the majority owners from the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan are successful in selling their stake in the team, sources say. There are strong indications that Pacers coach Frank Vogel will be retained after taking over for Jim O'Brien and losing to the top-seeded Bulls 4-1 in the first round. It also is believed that team president Larry Bird, who has been contemplating retirement, will be back next season, sources with knowledge of the situation told CBSSports.com.

As CBSSports.com reported Monday, the Knicks are poised to retain team president Donnie Walsh with a two-year extension, pending Walsh becoming comfortable that he will have undisputed final say over basketball operations. It is Walsh's desire to retain coach Mike D'Antoni, who has one year left on his contract, sources say.

Speculation has surrounded Smart's future for weeks as new owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber seemed poised to put their own stamp on the franchise. The process began two weeks ago when Golden State hired Myers, an influential agent with Wasserman Media Group, as assistant GM, signaling that he will be groomed for the top job while GM Larry Riley remains with a contract extension. The decision not to retain Smart ultimately was ownership's call, according to a person familiar with the situation.

Posted on: November 29, 2010 6:42 pm
 

Four options for Riley

So there's trouble in paradise, but what happens next? Here's a look at Pat Riley's options as he tries to turn his Super Team into a team that can actually function:

* Fire Erik Spoelstra and take his job: As Phil Jackson said, it's SVG 2.0. The problem is, sources say Riley would only come downstairs as a last resort because A) he really doesn't want to coach anymore, and B) he knows that the same roster flaws that are sabotaging Spoelstra would do the same to him. Also, this isn't exactly Dwyane Wade's idea of a solution; Wade and Riley butted heads in the past. Personally, I think it would be eye-opening for LeBron James to be coached by someone with experience and championship rings -- someone who could put him in his place.

* Fire Spoelstra and hire someone else: This would be the ultimate sign of how wing-heavy and flawed this supposed dynasty really is: Riley fires Spoelstra, his handpicked protégé, and hands the job to ... Ron Rothstein? Well, that's not going to happen. But really, who's out there? Mike Brown? LeBron's been down that road in Cleveland, and the road ends in a spectacular, five-car pileup in the playoffs. Mike Woodson? For what, to run an even less creative offense? CBSSports.com's Matt Moore mentions two intriguing coaches who are currently unemployed: one credible (Jeff Van Gundy) and one straight out of Frankenstein (Don Nelson). I believe JVG is done coaching; he has a much easier and better job making fun of Mike Breen on TV. Plus, I can't imagine him doing that to his brother, Stan, in Orlando. Nellie? If someone could get him out of his hammock in Maui, they should make this happen tomorrow. Why? Not because it makes sense or the Heat would finally figure out how to play together and win a championship. Who cares about that? It should happen because the Earth would shift, the island would move, blinding lights and screeching noises would overwhelm us ... yes, it would be the basketball version of "Lost." Nellie, the connoisseur of ill-fitting basketball parts, chowing down on this disjointed beast of a team in Miami? It would be delicious on so many levels. If the Heat hired Nellie, I might move to Miami just so I wouldn't miss a minute of the hilarity.

* Stick with Spoelstra for the season and then score a coaching free-agent coup: Sadly, this is the most realistic of the options so far. If Riley really wants no part of this, then he could make it right with another offseason of roster tweaks and a chance to make a run at two very good coaches whose contracts will be up: Nate McMillan and Doc Rivers. McMillan is a fine coach, but I don't think he's the right fit for LeBron and Wade for the same reasons Spoelstra isn't the right fit: too upright and too averse to up-tempo offensive basketball. Speaking of which, Mike D'Antoni always seems to be a three-game losing streak away from being on the hot seat, even though he's spent the majority of his Knicks tenure coaching a D-League team. So if James Dolan ever has the urge to fire D'Antoni, I'd hire him in Miami in about three seconds. For one thing, D'Antoni would get to coach the two players he thought he'd be coaching in New York, only in a warmer climate. For another, I bet he'd enjoy paying no state income tax and saying good-bye to $7,000-a-month real estate tax bills in Westchester County. And finally, D'Antoni was the right coach for LeBron and Wade all along. He'd loosen the reins, let LeBron run the point and be Magic Johnson, and outscore everybody 130-117. But the most intriguing coach in this scenario, by far, is Rivers, who has the patience, presence, and pedigree to give LeBron and Wade just enough leeway while also commanding their respect. Plus, Florida is home for him, and any time you can trade an old Big Three for a younger version and cement your legacy as one of the most decorated coaches of all time, I'd say that would be a pretty good career move.

* Tell LeBron and Wade to quit whining, look in the mirror and figure it out: Of all the intriguing options, I like this one the best. To be fair, it isn't just the players who have to adjust; Spoelstra will have to change, too, by putting the ball in LeBron's hands and getting him in transition and in the open floor to create -- for Wade, for Eddie House and Mike Miller (once healthy). LeBron holds the key to this approach. He's the one player on the roster -- perhaps the only one in the league -- with the breadth of talents to adjust his game and make it fit with an elite scorer like Wade. I don't think Wade is built that way. He scores; that's what he does. LeBron can do it all, and he can do so much more than what he's doing now if he'd check his ego and if Spoelstra would be willing to give up some control. It's a slippery slope, but more promising than the one the Heat are currently sliding down.
Posted on: September 23, 2010 8:25 pm
Edited on: September 23, 2010 9:25 pm
 

Nellie out; Keith Smart in (UPDATE)

In a long-awaited changing of the guard, the Warriors are prepared to oust coach Don Nelson and replace him with assistant coach Keith Smart, a person with knowledge of the situation confirmed to CBSSports.com. The plan is to have Smart installed as the new coach in time for the Warriors' media day Monday.

The move has been contemplated within the organization since at least last November, when Nelson started what ended up being the season that saw him become the NBA's winningest coach with something that has become commonplace for him: feuds with two of his best players. Stephen Jackson eventually was traded, Monta Ellis was not, but Nellie stuck around long enough to eclipse Lenny Wilkens' record for wins. But his reign in Golden State appears to be over.

It took an ownership change -- from Chris Cohan to Joe Lacob and Peter Guber -- to finally persuade Nelson to step aside and let Smart, a respected assistant with a promising future as a head coach, take over. According to a person familiar with the team's plans, the new owners did not want to enter the season with Nelson again on the verge of retiring, re-signing or being fired. The details of Smart's contract are yet to be worked out, which is why no formal announcement is expected to come from the Warriors until they convene for media day Monday.

It is not clear whether Nelson, 70, will remain with the Warriors in an advisory capacity; he has one year and $6 million remaining on his contract. It was that remaining money, more so than Nellie's pursuit of Wilkens' record, that kept him from stepping down last season and letting Smart take over. In fact, one person familiar with the awkward unwinding of Nelson's Golden State tenure joked Thursday night, "I wonder if Nellie knows?" It wasn't necessarily a joke.

Nelson will long be remembered for bringing Nellieball to Golden State, the zenith of which was a stirring upset of a 67-win Dallas team -- Nelson's former employer -- as the eighth seed in the 2007 playoffs. But that was followed by three seasons in the lottery, the constant distractions and speculation over how long Nelson would hang around.

At least it appears that Nelson's departure from Golden State won't end with the same acrimony that marred his removal as Mavericks coach in 2005 -- but never say never. Until the details of the transfer of power from Nelson to Smart are finalized, it would be wise to withhold judgment on how amicably this will end. As of now, reports such as this one from Marcus Thompson of the Contra Costa Times indicate that Nellie will be getting is full $6 million even though he's resigning.

Smart, who turned 46 this week, will always be remembered for his heroic, game-winning shot for Indiana against Syracuse in the 1987 NCAA championship game. In Golden State, he'll quickly become known as a coach who runs a structured offense -- something Nelson long eschewed -- and also believes in defense. What's that? Huh? Defense?

Smart's resume bears all the markings of a coach who has worked his way up through the ranks the hard way. From the Fort Wayne Fury to the Dominican Republic to the Latvian National team, Smart has earned this. And he'll have the respect of the locker room -- a locker room populated by some fairly talented players, such as Ellis, Stephen Curry, Andris Biedrins and David Lee -- from day one. And day one will be Monday.



Posted on: September 13, 2010 11:36 am
 

Amundson chooses Warriors over Hornets

Free-agent forward Lou Amundson agreed to a two-year, $4.7 million deal with the Warriors Monday, choosing Golden State over the Hornets in a lengthy negotiation that took longer than agent Mark Bartelstein expected.

"It just came down to Golden State being the right fit," Bartelstein said.

Asked what made it the right fit, Bartelstein gave an answer that will no doubt intrigue all followers of the meandering, seemingly rudderless W's.

"Just the vision that [GM] Larry Riley kind of laid out with the change in ownership and the style they want to play," Bartelstein said.

No wonder the negotiation took so long. From the outside looking in, the Warriors look like a team with no vision, with an aging coach who won't go away, and with an uncertain future under incoming owners Joseph Lacob and Peter Guber.

The $450 million sale of the team from Chris Cohan to Lacob and Guber won't be approved by the NBA's Board of Governors until sometime next month. Training camps open at the end of September, so presumably Don Nelson will vacate his hammock in Maui to coach the team. According to Bartelstein, the pitch Riley made to Amundson did not address Nellie's future. "I think that's still something they're trying to work through," Bartelstein said.

There's no doubt Amundson will be a good fit in the Warriors' up-tempo style; he was part of an effective bench brigade in Phoenix that at times rattled the Lakers with their hectic pace during the Western Conference finals. But which coach will he be playing for in the Bay Area? Nellie or his presumed successor, Keith Smart? Or both, before all is said and done? Remains to be seen. Whatever the case, Amundson was sold on the vision enough to turn down the Hornets, who with a healthy and reasonably content Chris Paul would appear to be a far more likely playoff contender.



Posted on: July 15, 2010 3:08 pm
 

Two key questions about Warriors sale

LAS VEGAS -- The Warriors going to Peter Guber and Joe Lacob instead of Oracle CEO Larry Ellison can certainly be viewed as an upset. But not nearly as upsetting to Warriors fans as something else that could result from the transfer of power from Chris Cohan: A decision by the new guys to leave bad enough alone and keep the decision-making tandem of Don Nelson and Larry Riley in place.

Immediately upon approval of the NBA's Board of Governors, the easiest and best decision Guber and Lacob could make would be cleaning out the Warriors' dysfunctional front office and starting over again. There are plenty of good candidates for both jobs available.

The coaching position would be easy to fill. The Warriors have been grooming assistant coach Keith Smart to replace Nelson for a while now, and he'd be the perfect choice to finally get the job.

As for GM, this summer has been open season on general managers in the NBA, so the list of qualified people to replace Riley is lengthy: Kevin Pritchard, Rod Thorn, Danny Ferry, Jeff Bower and David Griffin are all free agents. Jerry West, whose name has long been associated with a possible takeover of the Warriors, would be a home run -- if he's willing to get back into the grind. Even if he isn't, a tandem of West and Griffin, who worked together in Memphis, would be a solid 1-2 punch. West would restore class and vision to the organization, and Griffin -- who has a keen eye for talent and a deep understanding of the salary-cap and CBA, at least in its current form -- would be an ace in the day-to-day GM role.

Pritchard and Ferry haven't aggressively pursued any of the numerous GM openings to this point, leading to speculation that they're waiting for a more prestigious job to come along. Despite the aimless wandering of the Warriors in recent years under Nellie and Riley, there are few NBA locales more desirable than the Bay Area and few jobs with as much potential to make a meaningful imprint. From that standpoint, reviving the Warriors has West's name -- and logo -- written all over it. But it's not entirely clear if West, 72, wants to return to a front-office role. Sources familiar with Thorn's decision to step down in New Jersey said the longtime Nets boss was under the distinct impression that West, a relentless workaholic during his glory days as an NBA team executive, finally had come to enjoy retirement. Seeing West finally embrace being out of the spotlight appealed to Thorn, 69, on a certain level.

The other aspect of the Warriors' sale that warrants a mention in today's news cycle is the price: $450 million, a record for an NBA franchise that surpassed the previous mark of $401 million paid by Robert Sarver for the Suns in 2004. One of the key sticking points in the negotiations between owners and players on a new collective bargaining agreement is the escalating value of NBA franchises. If the league's financial system is so broken, the players argue, why would someone pay nearly a half-billion dollars to join the club?

But the disagreement runs deeper than that. In an interview with CBSSports.com Wednesday, NBPA executive director Billy Hunter said a point of contention in reconciling commissioner David Stern's latest assertion that the league lost $370 million during the 2009-10 season is the cost associated with buying and owning the teams. Hunter said the league's finances include such expenses as interest and depreciation, which he views as costs that should be borne by the owners and not the players. The Warriors' sale is the perfect example of why such costs shouldn't be used as an excuse to cut player salaries. Here is the simple reason why:

Cohan bought the Warriors for $119 million in 1995. His capital gain of $331 million, less expenses, is his to keep. If the owners want to count interest and depreciation expenses in the formula that determines player salaries, then the players should receive a cut of the profit when owners sell their teams. The owners, for obvious reasons, would never agree to such an arrangement. The players, for equally obvious reasons, should never allow the expenses associated with investing in the purchases of NBA teams to be taken out of their pockets at the bargaining table.

"You can't expect the players to pay for the damn franchise," Hunter sad. "You can't tell me we have obligation to pay for your franchise and then split the difference with you."

Just a couple of things to think about as you digest the news of the Golden State Warriors becoming the highest-priced franchise ever purchased in NBA history.



Posted on: April 5, 2010 10:56 am
Edited on: April 5, 2010 11:52 am
 

On verge of record, Nelson snubbed for Hall

Don Nelson, one win away from breaking Lenny Wilkens' career record for NBA coaching victories, has once again been denied entry to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

The official announcement came Monday morning from the Final Four site in Indianapolis.

Nelson tied Wilkens' mark of 1,332 victories Sunday with a 113-112 victory over Toronto and can pass him Tuesday night against the Wizards in Washington. If not, he'll have five more chances before entering a summer of uncertainty. The Warriors are up for sale and a major front-office shakeup could follow. Nelson, 69, has one year and $6 million remaining on his contract and has expressed no desire to step down, or aside, or in any other direction. But depending on how the ownership change shakes out, it may not be Nellie's decision to make this time.

The inductees Monday were Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss, Cynthia Cooper, Bob Hurley, Sr., Karl Malone and Scottie Pippen, along with two celebrated teams: the 1960 USA Men’s Olympic team and the 1992 USA Basketball “Dream Team.” The Class of 2010 also includes three legendary players who will be enshrined postumously: Dennis Johnson, Gus Johnson and international star Maciel “Ubiratan” Pereira.

The enshrinement ceremony will be held Aug. 13 in Springfield, Mass.
Posted on: November 13, 2009 3:53 pm
 

Nellie addresses rifts with Jackson, Monta

NEW YORK -- The Warriors apparently made it through their shootaround Friday without any shouting matches. This qualifies as progress for a team cloaked in controversy. Afterward, coach Don Nelson was unapologetic about his verbal confrontation with Monta Ellis, which took place at practice a day earlier.

"I disciplined a player in practice, and that’s part of my job description," Nelson told CBSSports.com after the shootaround in preparation for Friday night's game against the Knicks. "I've done it before and I’ll do it again, and that’s all I’ve got to say about it."

Nelson confirmed that it was Ellis, his $66 million guard, who received the brunt of the discipline. "Yes, it was Monta," he said. "But I'm not going to go into it. I disciplined the player, it’s over, and that’s all I have to say about it."

Asked if he and Ellis were OK going forward, Nelson said, "You need to talk to Monta about that. I’m OK."

Ellis wasn't available for comment after shootaround.

The Ellis situation, which boiled over in full view of the team's beat writers and ended with Nelson waving his hands in disgust and Ellis barking at him, is hardly the only issue consuming the Warriors. Anthony Randolph's undefined role, the awkward attempt to pair Ellis and rookie Stephen Curry in the backcourt, and of course, Stephen Jackson's request to be traded have shadowed the team's every misstep on the way to a 2-5 start.

Nelson said Friday there were no developments in the team's attempt to oblige Jackson's trade request. As Nellie recently noted, Jackson is the definition of difficult to trade because of the three years and $28 million left on his contract after this season. But while other teams -- Indiana with Jamaal Tinsley, the Knicks with Stephon Marbury, and the Sixers with Allen Iverson -- have sent troublesome players home while attempting to trade them, Nelson said that's not an option with Jackson.

"Jack is a good player, and even though he may not be able to perform up to what he did a year ago because he doesn’t want to be here, he can still be a positive factor and help us win some games," Nelson said.

Speaking after shootaround, Jackson said he's still on speaking terms with Nelson, but added, "It's not what it used to be." No surprise there, considering Jackson's agent, Mark Stevens, recently ripped Nelson publicly by questioning his trustworthiness.

"I think at this point, I come out here and respect him as a coach and do my job and leave it at that," Jackson said. "I think that’s the best thing for me right now. Just give him the respect he deserves as a coach and do my job. And then once I leave the gym, I'm on my own."

Posted on: November 12, 2009 5:36 pm
 

Warriors in Chaos: Now it's Nellie vs. Monta

Things are so bad with the Warriors that they can't even get through a practice without an altercation between Don Nelson and name-that-player.

This time, it's Nellie and Monta Ellis butting heads. The two got into a brief but heated exchange after the team practiced in New York in advance of playing the Knicks Friday night at Madison Square Garden.

The whole thing unfolded in plain view -- and apparently within earshot -- of beat writers Marcus Thompson II and Rusty Simmons. Their skilled, detailed accounts of the latest Golden State blowup can be found here and here.

The condensed version is as follows: Ellis and guard Acie Law were sitting on the bench after practice when Nellie walked by. Ellis, known to be at his wit's end over the Warriors' dysfunction and his ill-fated pairing with Stephen Curry, asked Nelson, "Coach, why do I get blamed for everything?"

"What have I ever blamed you for?" Nelson responded, and away they went. The exchange ended with Nelson waving his hands in disgust and Ellis saying, "See, that's why I don't do it. I just won't do it."

More Friday from shootaround at MSG, where the Warriors will see if they can walk through their game plan -- assuming they have one -- without another hissy fit.
Category: NBA
 
 
 
 
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