Tag:Golden State Warriors
Posted on: September 5, 2011 1:14 pm
Edited on: September 5, 2011 1:42 pm
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Realigning the NBA

Posted by Royce Young



Conference realignment has sort of taken over the world the past few weeks. Texas A&M pretty much put the nail in the coffin for the Big 12 by bolting for the SEC and because of it, a whole new chain of events have tipped over. The landscape of college football could look a whole lot different in a few months. Or in a few weeks. Or even tomorrow.

But you know what else could use a little realigning? The NBA's divisions. They're kind of a mess. It's not going to be as a result of some $300 million network, recruiting ties or competitive advantages. Nope. For the NBA, it's more just about common sense. Geographically, the divisions are kind of a mess. In 2011 that's not as huge a deal as it was in 1981 because travel is much easier. You can go from Portland to Oklahoma City in just a few hours.

However, chartered travel is experience. Fuel is very pricey. And with the NBA and teams supposedly losing so much money, why not exhaust every option to cut costs and realign the divisions so they make a lot more sense? Why not group teams together that are hundreds, not thousands, of miles apart?

Plus, it just makes a lot more sense to have structured regions. Grouping teams together based on geography does more to forge rivalries, gives fans a chance to commute between games if the want to and gives the players less travel and more days of rest. All good, right?

So if you're going to spend all this time restructuring a new collective bargaining agreement, why not fix the divisions too? Here's how they should look:

WESTERN CONFERENCE

SOUTHWEST
Dallas
San Antonio
Houston
Phoenix
Oklahoma City

The NBA's new Southwest division is the American League East, the SEC West, of the league. It's a group of five teams that are all pretty good. Things change though and in 15 years, this could be the weakest division in the league. But for now, it'd be pretty good.

And it just makes sense. Dallas and Oklahoma City are about three hours via car away from each other. San Antonio, Dallas and Houston are in the same state. And OKC and the Texas teams and Phoenix just have one state separating them, which is a whole lot better than five.

MIDWEST
Memphis
Minnesota
Denver
Utah
Milwaukee

Clearly the division that needed the biggest overhaul is the Northwest, mainly because of the Sonics transformation into the Oklahoma City Thunder. When the team was in Seattle, the division made a lot more sense. Now it doesn't. That's why a midwestern division with makes a lot more sense.

That creates somewhat of a problem in the Northwest though. There's not a great fit. So for the sake of the argument, the Northwest has to make the Big 12 and peace out. No more Northwest, but instead the new Midwest.

The new Midwest is still a bit spread out, but all the teams are at least located somewhat centrally in the country. A trip from Utah to Milwaukee won't be quick, but the Jazz, Nuggets and Timerwolves have been oddballs in the Northwest. It's not an ideal division with teams right next door to each other, but it makes a lot more sense than the current setup.

PACIFIC
Los Angeles Lakers
Los Angeles Clippers
Sacramento
Golden State
Portland

Moving Phoenix away from the Lakers is a bummer, because those two teams are historical rivals that have always competed in the same division. But if A&M and Texas can separate, I think we can live with the Suns and Lakers moving apart.

The Pacific now features five teams that are actually next to the Pacific Ocean, which seems like it should count for something. Plus having the Blazers and Lakers together makes up for separating the Suns and Lakers.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

CENTRAL
Chicago
Detroit
Indiana
Cleveland
Toronto

Really, the new Central was the inspiration for this. Why aren't the Raptors in this division? Look at how close those teams are to each other. I think you could almost ride your bike between arenas. The old Central was really good too -- maybe better -- but the Bucks have to move. So it's the Raptors who replace them and the solid geographic setup remains.

ATLANTIC
Boston
New York
Philadelphia
Washington
New Jersey

Nothing too radical here. Five cities that you can transport between using a train. Old rivalries are preserved and the Wizards are added, which frankly, makes a lot of sense.

SOUTHEAST
Miami
Orlando
Atlanta
Charlotte
New Orleans

Two teams would swap conferences with the Bucks moving back to the West and the Hornets heading to the East. Not that this would upset the competitive balance of the league or anything, but it just makes a lot more sense for the Hornets to be placed in a division with Orlando, Charlotte, Atlanta and Miami.

And let me add this: If college football has no issue tossing tradition and historical rivalries out the window, why not just eliminate conferences all together? It would be a radical move, but what's the point of the East and West, other than just that's the structure of the playoffs? If it were one unified "super" conference, that would finally solve the issues of a 50-win Western team missing the postseason while a 37-win Eastern team slips into the eight-seed.

You could even just build the league into three 10-team divisions. Combine the Southwest and the Pacific, the Midwest and the Central, and the Atlantic and the Southeast. There are your super-divisions. Now you can keep teams playing more in their division than anything else and cut down on long road trips. It would make a West coast road trip for the Mavericks a whole heck of a lot more interesting.

Basically, we'd be looking at a league with three sub-conferences and once the playoffs started, seeding would just be based from that. Almost like the NCAA tournament, you could set two regions and seed from there. Head-to-head tiebreakers, division records and all that stuff would separate any identical records. Just an idea while we're brainstorming, you know?

(Note: I don't really love that idea, quite honestly. But I was just throwing it out there. One of those things that probably makes sense, but wouldn't ever happen. Much like Bill Simmons' terrific "Entertaining As Hell Tournament." Really, a unified conference makes it easier to implicate the tournament too.)

Let's face it: The West has kind of sort of dominated the past decade. Sports operate in cycles, but if there's a way to prevent that, should we? The West compiled a record of 2,257-1,643 against the East from 1999-2008 and over the last 13 seasons has represented 10 champions. That's pretty dominant. That'll change eventually, but what really is the point of the conferences, other than the standard, "that's just the way it's always been done" answer? 

All that is after the fact though: Divisional realignment is the start. Fixing the structure of the postseason would be the ideal next step. It's kind of like a plus-one for college football. Maybe a pipe dream, but something that's really in the best interest of the game. But if anything's to be done, it's to realign the divisions so they at least make a little more sense. Preserve rivalires, start new ones, save money, cut down on travel and hopefully, help the league grow a little bit more.

Picture via Jockpost
Posted on: September 3, 2011 5:45 pm
Edited on: September 3, 2011 5:49 pm
 

Report: Blazers begin GM interviews

Posted by Ben Golliverlarry-miller

It has been more than 100 days since the Portland Trail Blazers fired general manager Rich Cho in the weeks leading up to the 2011 NBA Draft. And, finally, it appears the Blazers are moving towards finding a full-time GM.

Yahoo Sports reports that Blazers president Larry Miller has begun assembling a list of candidates and interviewing them.
The Portland Trail Blazers have started the interview process for their vacant general manager’s job, meeting with Oklahoma City Thunder executive Troy Weaver in Portland on Thursday, NBA front-office sources told Yahoo! Sports.

Portland has also received permission to interview Spurs assistant GM Dennis Lindsey, league sources told Yahoo! Sports. Lindsey has spoken to Blazers officials by phone, but no formal face-to-face has yet been scheduled, a source said.

Blazers president Larry Miller has expressed a strong interest in former Golden State Warriors GM Chris Mullin, sources said. Mullin’s expected to talk with the Blazers too, sources said.

Cho's firing came less than one year after he was hired to replace former GM Kevin Pritchard and saw Portland's director of college scouting, Chad Buchanan, installed as the team's Acting GM. In August, Portland made the decision that Buchanan would not be given the job permanently, but the organization has dragged its feet during the process because of the ongoing lockout.

Cho has been hired by the Charlotte Bobcats to serve as GM while Pritchard was picked up by the Indiana Pacers to serve as the team's director of player personnel.

The Blazers still have Cho's hand-picked assistant GMs under contract -- Bill Branch and Steve Rosenberry -- and also retain Buchanan and director of pro scouting Mike Born in their basketball operations department, who report to Miller who in turn reports to owner Paul Allen. The staff's glaring weakness is a lack of salary cap and collective bargaining agreement expertise, as Cho filled those roles and the team's previous cap expert, vice president of basketball operations Tom Penn, was abruptly fired in 2010 and now works as a television analyst.

Candidates will likely approach the Portland job warily given Allen's erratic behavior recently. The roster is a mixed bag, with a potential perennial All-Star in LaMarcus Aldridge but also a burdensome contract in Brandon Roy and a giant enigman named Greg Oden. The team has qualified for the playoffs in three consecutive seasons, though, and has a solid coach in Nate McMillan locked into a multi-year extension. Internal expectations are always sky-high thanks to the demanding Allen, but he has shown a financial commitment to winning in recent years, giving a contract extension to center Marcus Camby, trading for Gerald Wallace and the remaining dollars on his contract, extending a qualifying offer to Greg Oden and bestowing lucrative extensions on both Aldridge and Roy.

Pointing Allen's pocketbook in the right direction -- while staying on his good side -- will be the name of this game.
Posted on: September 2, 2011 11:23 am
Edited on: September 2, 2011 11:25 am
 

Mark Jackson explains link to alleged drug lord

Posted by Royce Young

A few weeks ago, Warren Braithwaite was arrested. For what? Something about running a massive criminal organization specializing in a massive drug ring. No big.

Why is this important though? Well, because Braithwaite is friends with a lot of important people. Jamie Foxx, Lady Gaga and what makes this NBA news -- Warriors coach Mark Jackson. Such good friends that Braithwaite was a guest of honor at Jackson's introductory press conference with the Warriors.

Not that Jackson was involved in any of these shenanigans, but he's definitely linked to a drug lord. Finally, via the San Francisco Chronicle, Jackson explained his ties:

“At the end of the day, Brother Warren doesn’t have a relationship with Mark Jackson, the head coach of the Golden State Warriors,” Jackson said in a phone interview Wednesday. “He wouldn’t say, ‘Mark Jackson, my friend’ or ‘Mark Jackson, my coach.’

“He would say, ‘Pastor Mark, my spiritual father…’ “

“In fairness to me, as a pastor, I’m going to be linked to drug dealers, drug addicts, liars and fornicators,” Jackson said. “The church is a place for sick people to be healed. I’m going to help them, but I’m not going to co-sign on their troubles.”

Two things: I like that Mark Jackson refers to himself in third person and yes, if you didn't know by now, Jackson is a pastor.

And Jackson's comments are entirely spot on. As a pastor, it's his job to make acquaintances with everyone, no matter what their background is, no matter what they're doing. It's part of the job.

We've all seen "The Wire" and how the deacon associates with everyone around whether it be drug dealers, hitmen, crooked politicians or prostitutes. Part of the gig. No different for Jackson and while it's unfortunate his acquaintance is tied up in such an ugly mess, it doesn't have anything to do with him.

Via PBT
Posted on: August 25, 2011 11:05 am
Edited on: August 25, 2011 11:11 am
 

Mark Jackson linked to alleged drug kingpin

By Matt Moore

Warren Braithwaite is one of those people who is an "associate" to various celebrities. You know what I'm talking about. Those people who don't have an official capacity, but always hang around with well-known people and are always involved in various ventures with them. He's friends with Jamie Foxx, Lady Gaga, held a soiree for Magic Johnson, and generally hung out with the ritziest of the ritz, including one new head coach of the Golden State Warriors, Mark Jackson. 

Oh, and one more thing. He's currently being charged by federal authorities with running a massive criminal organization specializing in a massive drug ring. Along with 22 of his associates. 

So that's not good. 

Just how close were Jackson and Braithwaite? According to Star Magazine
In fact, Jackson took Braithwaite to a news conference on June 100 -- just 4 days before Braithwaite’s arrest -- when he announced his decision to leave broadcasting and accept the role.

Braithwaite was also involved at the True Love Worship Center International, in Van Nuys, Calif., a ministry helmed by Jackson and his wife.

While the Warriors had no comment, Jackson tells Star he has “not seen one piece of evidence that Brother Warren is the person police say he is. Our prayers, thoughts and love are for Warren and his family.”
via INVESTIGATION: Jamie Foxx, Lady Gaga & NBA Coach Mark Jackson Linked To Drug Kingpins | Radar Online.

(Side note: Jackson can preach. )

Jackson clearly wasn't the only one close with Braithwaite; he's a known commodity in celebrity circles. But especially for a coach who values traditional morals, the charges have to be a shock. What's more, Jackson must feel pretty strongly about Braithwaite in order to speak on his behalf to Star Magazine about him. The typical line is to not comment. Now Jackson's on record as speaking out in defense of an acccused drug kingpin. Then again, if Braithwaite is clear of all charges, Jackson will have stuck by his friend through the hardest of times. You can bet the Warriors are monitoring this situation pretty closely. 

(HT: PBT)
Posted on: August 14, 2011 3:55 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 3:55 pm
 

Report: Warriors sack top business executives

Posted by Ben Golliverlacob

Mama, there go those men to the unemployment line.

MercuryNews.com reports that the Golden State Warriors are taking another major step in an organizational overhaul under new owner Joe Lacob by replacing a number of top-level executives on the team's business operations side. 
In recent days, Lacob has, in his words, “relieved” most of the team’s existing VP- and senior-VP-level business-side executives. Basically, including team president Robert Rowell, most of the senior business side executives Lacob and Peter Guber inherited in November are now out. 

The only exceptions: The top staffers in the sales department. Lacob said that he is now searching specifically for a team president (until one is hired, Lacob is acting as president) and a VP for marketing.

“In the end, all senior positions are or are being replaced except for our sales area,” Lacob said.
It's been a very active year for the Warriors, who replaced coach Keith Smart with Mark Jackson, sacked Rowell, brought on Jerry West to serve as a basketball operations consultant and hired agent Bob Myers to serve as the team's assistant GM.

As with any internal matter, it's difficult to assess the decision-making and logic behind moves like these. However, the timing makes sense. That Lacob didn't completely clear house as soon as he took over was smart, as that impulse could have sunk the organization's ability to operate on and off the court last season.

Taking care of the basketball operations side first also makes sense. An NBA organization can survive with an average or slightly below average business side; without a strong basketball operations department, though, the organization's revenue-generating potential will never be reached. The sharpest accountant or the best budget-trimmer in the world is only going to be the lipstick on a pig for a perennial lottery team.

Now, with a year to have learned the ropes, a basketball operations department assembled in his mold and a lockout to buy him some time, it makes sense that Lacob and company would choose this summer to undertake a retooling or streamlining of the business side of his organization. 
Posted on: July 26, 2011 10:07 pm
Edited on: July 26, 2011 10:10 pm
 

2 NBA players caught in college investing scandal

Posted by Ben Golliverekpe-udoh

Last week, Gary Parrish and Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com reported that David Salinas, a Houston, Texas, AAU director and investment manager, committed suicide following an SEC investigation into his financial dealings.

In the week since that news broke, CBSSports.com has linked a number of big-time college coaches to Salinas, with some investing more than $1 million with him. 

On Tuesday, SI.com reported that it wasn't just college coaches who got taken for a ride by Salinas. Indeed, two NBA players reportedly invested money with him as well.  
Two NBA players, 2010 Warriors lottery pick Ekpe Udoh ($350,000) and former Wizards swingman Cartier Martin ($374,000), were confirmed to be clients by SI.
Talk about a horrible way to start your NBA career. Udoh was on the books for $3 million last season, his only year in the league, and is now locked out as a sophomore, waiting until the current CBA negotiations are resolved before he sees another paycheck.

$350,000 is an extremely significant portion of his career earnings, especially if that was the money he put aside for investing. Depending on how much he's sunk into taxes and the usual accoutrements like houses and automobiles, there's no question that this loss hurts. The only question is exactly how bad.

As for Martin, it's even worse. He's played in the NBA for portions of three seasons as a journyeman. His salary for the 2010-2011 was less the veteran's minimum: $854,389.  

Usually we think about NBA players being extravagantly wealthy with coaches making a fraction of what the professional players take home. In this case, however, it's very possible --- indeed, likely -- that the long tenured college coaches embroiled in this scandal will be better able to absorb the losses than the players.

Everyone involved, including the players, should have done their due diligence and known better than to invest such sums without more risk protection. It's almost unimaginably tragic to think about someone working their entire life to pursue their dream of playing professional sports only to see the rewards of those efforts evaporate in an alleged ponzi scheme. Udoh, as a lottery pick, should be able to take this less to heart and bounce back. Martin, however, with no guaranteed future in the NBA, has to deal with the fact that his best financial days could very well be behind him. At the ripe old age of 26.
Posted on: July 25, 2011 8:00 am
Edited on: July 25, 2011 3:08 pm
 

Warriors' Law plays the 'feed our families' card

By Matt Moore

It was going to happen eventually. Despite the NBPA's understanding of how it plays with the public, despite the advice from the NBPA to its members not to say it, someone, multiple "someones" actually, was inevitably going to drop it. A player will always wind up saying "we have to feed our families" in a lockout, as if they are barely getting by paycheck to paycheck. It doesn't look good on anyone. And it doesn't look good on Acie Law, a fringe player who spoke to ESPN over the weekend:
"I understand why a lot of guys are considering overseas," Law said. "I'm considering some options overseas. These are our livelihoods. This is how we feed our families, and guys want to play. If they're not going to negotiate a deal, life goes on. Bills still coming in, we still have to provide for our families, so hopefully they get something worked out."
via NBA players Jarrett Jack and Acie Law play in Dallas Fed X Pro-Am Basketball Classic - ESPN Dallas. 

Law's probably not the first to drop the line during the lockout, but he's as good a case as any to showcase why players should never say it. Law is as likely a candidate to have a right to say it as any NBA player. Law is a young player who hasn't gotten the big second contract, and was cut by the Grizzlies in December before signing with the Warriors for the rest of the year. 

But Law has made nearly $7.1 million dollars playing basketball over the past four seasons. It's certainly true that Law has financial obligations he arranged when he had a regular paycheck and that once those paychecks stop completely in the lockout this fall, he'll feel a significant pinch that may be severe depending on how he managed it leading up to the lockout. But the reality is this: he's part of a group of people whose every public statement is being considered in the light of the lockout, and that approach is never going to play with the general public. The owners have been the ones who have locked out the players, they're the ones who want more money, they're the ones asking for huge concessions. But still people reference the "greedy" players as if the players were the ones asking for a raise, as if this were a strike. Every PR mistake costs the union.

You're just not going to win any friends with the general working class by saying you're going to struggle to feed your family after making over $800,000 in a bad year. Not going to happen.
Posted on: July 18, 2011 8:39 pm
Edited on: July 18, 2011 8:49 pm
 

Celtics-Knicks, Bulls-Lakers on Christmas?

Two more Christmas Day NBA games have reportedly leaked. Posted by Ben Golliver.

derrick-rose-kobe-bryant

On Sunday, we noted that one of the five NBA games scheduled for Christmas Day had leaked in advance of Tuesday's unveiling. The Miami Heat will reportedly face the Dallas Mavericks in a rematch of the 2011 NBA Finals.

On Monday comes word that two more of the five games have leaked.

First, Newsday reports that the New York Knicks will host the Boston Celtics in Madison Square Garden.

Then, the Los Angeles Times reports that the Los Angeles Lakers will host the Chicago Bulls at the Staples Center. 

So far, no major surprises, as all six teams that have leaked were shoo-ins to play on Christmas due to either their major starpower, big market geography, or both. That the Bulls and Lakers face off in an inter-conference rivalry is a nice twist, but nothing to write home about.

The Orlando Magic -- led by Dwight Howard -- and Oklahoma City Thunder -- led by Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook -- are also virtual locks to play on Christmas Day, and both made it last season as well. The Los Angeles Clippers didn't play on Christmas last year but are a very likely candidate, thanks to the league's up-and-coming marketing monster, Blake Griffin.

That makes nine spots -- five from the Eastern Conference and four from the Western Conference. The big question remains who is the 10th team. If the Magic face the Thunder, then the last team will need to host the Clippers because the Lakers will be occupying the Staples Center. In recent years, the fifth and final Christmas Day game has been a Pacific time zone affair, meaning the Portland Trail Blazers, Golden State Warriors or Sacramento Kings could host the Clippers if Orlando and Oklahoma City do face off. Selecting any of those three teams would also provide a balance between teams from the Eastern and Western Conferences.

OK, OK, enough speculation. We'll know the full schedule tomorrow.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com