Warriors update: Sale unlikely to be finalized by July, so it’s Rowell-Riley-Nelson for a while longer
Posted by Tim Kawakami on March 23rd, 2010 at 3:20 pm | Categorized as NBA, Warriors
Given the large dollars and anticipated posturing involved, can the Warriors’ sale possibly be finalized by mid-July?
“I’d be stunned if this gets done (by then),” said one well-connected source.
Sure, there might be a prospective/likely buyer identified by then–if it’s quick, it’ll almost certainly be Larry Ellison, the man Chris Cohan is trying to lure into a $400M+ valuing.
But there’s still a process, and it usually isn’t a lightning-quick one.
Ellison’s last bid was with a $315M valuation. That was eight or nine months ago, and Ellison apparently hasn’t moved since then.
So let’s presume that the hiring of a firm to auction the team might not necesarily put Ellison into warp speed, unless there are other groups ready to blow past the $315M number. Maybe there are.
But even if there are several large bids, you have to figure there will be negotiations, delays, stare-downs, bluffs and all sorts of mega-poker performances in this situation.
We’re nearing the end of March. The “book”–written up sales proposal by Galatioto Sports Parnters–hasn’t even been composed yet. Bidders are emerging, but nothing formal is close to beginning.
Again: For this process to be finalized in three months… well,that’s pushing it. Cohan is not known as a “push it” kind of guy, if that means getting a nickel less than he wants.
Hmm. Let’s run through the timetable of known NBA dates…
-The NBA Draft is June 24, and the Warriors should have a top-5 pick.
-The player movement/free-agency period starts July 8, and teams can start talking to free agents July 1.
-The best coaching candidates probably will be gobbled up by mid-May.
And who will be calling the shots for the Warriors during this whole period–an incredibly important period, when decisions have to be made about Don Nelson, Monta Ellis, Anthony Randolph and Andris Biedrins?
You guessed it: Robert Rowell, Larry Riley and Don Nelson. The ol’ gang again!
Even if a likely buyer is identified, he couldn’t make personnel decisions or fire execs (even somebody who has committed 25 fire-able offenses) or hire anybody until he’s approved by the NBA.
So yep, the Warriors are likely to be in a holding pattern right in the middle of the movement period.
That would be strange. New Jersey went through a similar situation for most of this season–after the announcement that the team was for sale, then the tentative purchase, then the NBA Board of Governors approval–so it can be done.
But look at the Nets’ record. And that’s with an established front office, Rod Thorn and Kiki Vandeweghe.
What will Rowell, Riley and Nelson do during the limbo period?
My guess: They’ll have a decent idea about the prospective new owner and they will probably be under orders by Cohan to make sure they don’t do anything that worsens the financial situation.
That means nothing too creative, and probably no major deals. That probably means losing the chance to make some important changes this off-season.
But it also gives the new owner the chance to make his own decisions on Ellis, Biedrins and the rest.
* Earlier, I called a top NBA executive to discussing W’s sale options, which he was curious about, too.
But before we could get to the meaty stuff, the executive had to interject: “Tell me–why in the hell did the Warriors waive Raja Bell?”
He really wanted to know and his exasperation was palpable.
I told the exec that the Warriors are short-handed and figured they’d keep Devean George’s 6 minutes a game, and they had cut somebody else because Reggie Williams had to get a guaranteed deal.
Bell wasn’t playing and wasn’t going to play, so that’s who they dumped. I always feel dumb trying to explain dumb Warriors moves to other teams, but there ya go. I did it.
But after talking to the exec, this is what I gleaned from his thinking, which is definitely shared among NBA circles…
-Why would the Warriors wait to do this after March 1, when Bell is no longer eligible for a playoff roster?
-Sounds like W’s could’ve traded him (for something like a pair of 2s–not much, but still of some value) at the deadline, but turned down any offer because they decided they had to keep Bell around.
At least that’s what they told other teams.
“I thought they loved him and wanted him,” the exec said.
-Or at the least, the Warriors could’ve waived Bell before March 1 so he could be playoff-eligible.
That doesn’t mean Bell definitely would’ve been a rotation player on a playoff team… but I believe some teams would’ve strongly considered scooping him up as perimeter-defense insurance.
Bell recently said he probably wouldn’t have been available for the playoffs, but there’s no certainty in that and it’s moot, since he never got the chance, anyway.
-But in one of their traditional panics, because they needed George in this great thundering stretch drive, the Warriors waived Bell AFTER March 1.
By waiving Bell, the W’s also burned up his “Bird rights,” which might’ve been valuable in a sign-and-trade situation this summer.
Teams interested in acquiring him were also interested in Bell’s “Bird rights,” also for sign-and-trade purposes of their own in this epic summer of LeBron, but waiving Bell means his “Bird rights” go away.
-In summary, the Warriors didn’t get a draft pick or two for Bell at the trade deadline because they decided they couldn’t lose him, then they didn’t waive him in time to make him playoff-eligible, then they waived him anyway.
But they’re desperate to re-sign him in July and might use some of their valuable mid-level exception to do it.
Because they have nowhere else to turn. Because of repeated dumb stuff like this.
By the way, Adam Lauridsen was on this from the start.
As Rowell & Co. start to head out the door, this is just another typical moment when the Warriors wasted a player’s value.
Don’t worry. Only a few more months left of the ineptitude.