Warriors-Garnett deal fall apart due to communication?

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 10:55 am
Burning question: Did Warriors-Garnett deal fall apart due to communication problems?

By Tim Kawakami
Tuesday, July 17th, 2007 at 7:17 am in Warriors, NBA.

I don’t usually pass along unconfirmed NBA speculation, but this one comes from very high level sources–sources with big jobs on big NBA franchises who deal with every other team all of the time.

Not other writers. Not agents. These are a few of the actual movers and shakers–people who make trades–who, separately, have brought up this tale to me.

None of them were actually in the Warriors, Bobcats or Timberwolves’ war rooms on draft night, but they speak authoritatively about what they’ve heard happened in those rooms.

These are sources who say they know what happened on June 28, when most smart NBA execs believe the Warriors had a deal in place to land KG in a three-team extravaganza involving Jason Richardson… then it didn’t happen.

The gist, and again, I caution that this is speculation, rumor, gossip, but good gossip:

While the Warriors’ Chris Mullin and T-Wolves’ Kevin McHale scrambled to get this complicated deal done in the moments/minutes before Charlotte picked eighth, Charlotte never heard directly from either team who the pick should be, thus messing up everything, or so the tale goes.

Actually, there are apparently many fascinating branches of the Almost-Mega-Trade legend, and over the last few weeks I’ve heard enough about them to be convinced that I should try my hand at blending the tales into something that sort of makes sense.

You know, synthesize the similar anecdotes in the stories (that seem very logical), toss out the wilder pieces (that don’t), and try to stitch together an accepted, acceptable story.

Here are the bones of the tale, and some footnotes and analysis:


* The Warriors, Timberwolves and Bobcats had a tenative deal (or deals) in place–some sources lean hard on the tenative part–at some point during the early part of the first round that would’ve:

-Sent Garnett and Troy Hudson to the Warriors;

-Sent Richardson to Charlotte;

-Sent a whole bunch of stuff to Minnesota, including Al Harrington (probably), Monta Ellis (probably), future picks, and the rights to Al Thornton (selected with Charlotte’s No. 8 overall pick);

-Added in a bunch of other salary-cap fillers here and there to make sure the money worked.

——OK, I’m not so sure about Thornton. But one branch of the legend is particularly emphatic on that part: Minnesota wanted to team Thornton with Corey Brewer for a new front line.

I don’t get that part, because I think Thornton and Brewer are both small forwards and neither replaces Garnett. I think Brandan Wright fits Minnesota’s post-KG void much better, but oh well. I’m not part of this legend. I’m just documenting it.

You also have to understand how tricky these deals are. Mullin, Michael Jordan and McHale could’ve been bobbing and weaving with each other all draft night, so maybe nobody is really sure who was truly offering what–everything was a pump fake and a no-look offer.

That’s a big caveat. Maybe it’s all misty and my sources are just using their instincts to fill in the blanks, possibly slightly incorrectly, possibly not.

* The word-of-mouth coalesces on this part: Charlotte wasn’t sure what to do when it got down to picking time for the No. 8 selection…

Maybe the Warriors and T-Wolves were right at the deadline and weren’t sure if they could pull the trigger before Charlotte had to pick.

Maybe McHale thought Mullin would tell Charlotte what to do, maybe Mullin thought McHale would talk to Charlotte. (The McHale/Mullin thing is a big part of one side of the legend.)

One weird side of the legend stipulates that there were phone problems in either the Charlotte or Warriors draft room. That the Warriors wanted Charlotte to take Minnesota’s guy (Thornton or Noah or somebody else), but…

The two sides couldn’t talk to each other at the pivotal moment, when Charlotte had to take somebody… so Charlotte took Wright, and immediately the KG-to-GSW deal was done for the time being.

That’s a really weird side, but the weird stuff makes the legends even more legendary, no?

* Heading into the start of the draft, Charlotte had a pre-existing agreement with Mullin to select Brandan Wright (or Yi Jianlian, Mike Conley Jr., Corey Brewer, Jeff Green or any of the Obvious Top Three Guys) then trade his rights for Richardson. That’s the absolute confirmed truth.

I’m told publicly and privately that the Warriors figured they were getting Wright and indeed, did want Wright–though they would’ve taken Brewer, Yi or Green and been very happy, too, if any of those three had fallen to eight. As it was, it was Wright who fell to eight.

It’s very possible that Mullin had the initial Wright deal with Charlotte set up strictly as a place-holder for a Minnesota/Garnett addition at the last second.

That’d be smart–don’t pull the trigger with McHale until he’s at his greatest moment of pressure, and that’d be right when Charlotte is about to select and McHale had better decide if he wants the deal and who Charlotte should take if he’s making that deal.

And if Minnesota doesn’t do it after all, Mullin still peddles Richardson to Charlotte for the rights to Wright plus a $10M trade exception and know that he still had a chance to get back to a Garnett deal at a later date.

* A lot of this makes sense to me because:

1) I don’t believe Mullin wanted to move Richardson–his favorite Warrior–unless it would lead directly to KG, flat-out, immediately.

If Richardson had been traded in a simultaneous KG deal, Mullin would never have had to explain himself and his recent declarations that he’d never trade J-Rich.

Hey, it was for KG, no explanations necessary! But J-Rich for Wright and a $10M exception? Sure, smart people know it was a great deal for the Warriors’ future…

Still, it was Mullin trading a guy who had been loyal and had stood with him, after promising he wouldn’t trade J-Rich, and it temporarily/possibly made the Warriors worse for now, not better.

2) On draft night, Richardson believed he was being moved for KG outright. I don’t know if he was told that straight-up by Mullin, but that’s what Richardson believed.

(In fact, one reason I hit the KG button so hard on draft night was that I’d been led to understand that the only way Mullin traded Richardson would be if he had Garnett right in his sights. If it’s Richardson, it’s for KG, I’d been told. And only KG.)

3) Mullin and Nelson aren’t about the future–they’re about NOW. They’re about getting a power forward who can guard Carlos Boozer and Tim Duncan in April and May… not in 2009.

They’re also about cleaning out the salary-cap mess, but that’s only a sidelight to their bigger plans about bigger, more veteran players. Like Garnett.

4) The Warriors never held a private workout with Wright, which is strange (for a guy Mullin traded his favorite player to acquire). They explained that they had No. 18, and the top guys wouldn’t want to work out with a team picking 18.

But when Phoenix was trying to move into Charlotte’s spot, they got several top players to work out for them on a moment’s notice.

So… I’m not sure I buy the Warriors’ explanation for not working out Wright. (Last year, Mullin made an 11th-hour flight to New York I believe to check out Patrick O’Bryant before using the 10th 9th pick on him, and he didn’t trade J-Rich to acquire that pick. Just a for instance.)

I might lean towards the legend that says the Warriors were never that deeply interested in Wright, except as possible trade bait.

Might lean to that.

* The mythos says that Charlotte knew the Warriors originally told them to take Wright, and that Charlotte never got word that the deal was being officially altered because of the Garnett addition, so Charlotte… took Wright.

Which, supposedly, killed the Minnesota part of the deal because, supposedly, Minnesota wanted Thornton, period.

Hey, if most of this is true, and Charlotte was never explicitly told to draft Thornton, then the Bobcats had to take Wright–in order to make the Richardson deal, if that’s what they wanted.

One side of the legend says that, realizing the error, Mullin immediately started trying to trade to get a pick that would land Thornton, up until the point that Thornton was selected by the Clippers at No. 14, though that part doesn’t seem right to me.

Again, not my legend.

Again, I don’t buy all of this.

It’s possible that NONE of this is true, that the Warriors and Timberwolves never inched super-close to a KG deal and that Charlotte always knew it should take Wright and that the Warriors are blissfully happy it turned out like this.

And all of that? I buy it less readily than I buy the legend. So take it for what it’s worth, possibly zero, possibly a lot, and in the end, it’s just a legend.

It’s being passed around the top levels of the NBA, though.

Doesn’t mean the Warriors will end up frozen out of the KG sweepstakes. It doesn’t mean they’ll automatically get him if and when McHale decides finally to do this.

It’s just a story, told by smart people, and I’m listening. I always listen.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 12:09 pm
Another quality article from Tim Kawakami. :roll:

If Mullin told Charlotte to take Brandan Wright, it was for one of two reasons:

1) Because Wright is actually who Minnesota wanted, which makes more sense than Kawakami's BS 'legend' about Al Thornton, seeing as Wright's bigger than Thornton and better than Joakim Noah.

2) Because Wright is actually who Golden State wanted.


Sorry, Timmy K, but your BS logic doesn't impress me. Either Wright is getting dealt on August 6th for KG or Chris Mullin wanted him all along.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 12:20 pm
32 wrote:Another quality article from Tim Kawakami. :roll:

If Mullin told Charlotte to take Brandan Wright, it was for one of two reasons:

1) Because Wright is actually who Minnesota wanted, which makes more sense than Kawakami's BS 'legend' about Al Thornton, seeing as Wright's bigger than Thornton and better than Joakim Noah.

2) Because Wright is actually who Golden State wanted.


Sorry, Timmy K, but your BS logic doesn't impress me. Either Wright is getting dealt on August 6th for KG or Chris Mullin wanted him all along.


Thank You... :D

I am tired of listening to the media, who think they are perfect and think they know everything. That is a bunch of bull, and I am getting sick of it.

I am not talking about Tim in particular, but he just brought it back up. A lot of people, especially in newspapers, are so stuck up in their job.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 9:16 am
It is obvious that Mullin drafted BWright to trade him to Minnesota. He didn't even work him out!
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 9:53 am
migya wrote:It is obvious that Mullin drafted BWright to trade him to Minnesota. He didn't even work him out!


It wouldn't be the first time a player is drafted without having a workout for the team that took him... it's not usual, but it happens.

As for Wright, there was no reason to arrange a workout with him, as we had only the #18 pick... and doing so would have been a clear message to the rest of the league that there was a trade in place.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 12:05 pm
migya wrote:It is obvious that Mullin drafted BWright to trade him to Minnesota. He didn't even work him out!

We had the #18 pick.

Don't you think it would have seemed a LIIIIITTLE suspicious if Mullin started working out a bunch of players who were projected to be taken in the Top 10...? Chris Mullin was obviously trying not to show his hand.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 8:52 pm
Mullin obviously had a deal worked out with the Bobcats. It is a big risk to get a player that you haven't seen play in a workout. Mullin could have brought him in no problem. Phoenix certainly didn't hesitate to get some high draft picks in for a workout :wink:
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2007 1:53 am
migya wrote:Phoenix certainly didn't hesitate to get some high draft picks in for a workout :wink:


And everybody knew they were trying to trade up, which finally proved too costly for them...

btw, workouts doesn't mean as much as you think. POB had a workout last year for Mullin right before the draft... and he still sucks. :wink:
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2007 9:22 am
TMC wrote:
migya wrote:Phoenix certainly didn't hesitate to get some high draft picks in for a workout :wink:


And everybody knew they were trying to trade up, which finally proved too costly for them...

btw, workouts doesn't mean as much as you think. POB had a workout last year for Mullin right before the draft... and he still sucks. :wink:



But Mullin did go to see him, if only once. That is more Mullin's poor judge of O'bryant's talent than anything else. He seems to have really been quite clueless in last year's draft
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2007 10:50 am
TMC wrote:
migya wrote:Phoenix certainly didn't hesitate to get some high draft picks in for a workout :wink:


And everybody knew they were trying to trade up, which finally proved too costly for them...

:D Exactly. Phoenix let everybody know that they wanted to move up... and teams (like Atlanta) started demanding Amare, when the Suns clearly wanted to deal Shawn Marion, which is why the Suns bugged out.

When you show your hand, you're at the mercy of the other team. Which is why Mullin was smart to keep his agenda hidden until the last minute. You don't need to work out a player to see how he plays; I'm sure Mullin watched plenty of video footage on Brandan Wright (not only in high school and college, but also working out for other squads).
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2007 9:49 pm
32 wrote:
TMC wrote:
migya wrote:Phoenix certainly didn't hesitate to get some high draft picks in for a workout :wink:


And everybody knew they were trying to trade up, which finally proved too costly for them...

:D Exactly. Phoenix let everybody know that they wanted to move up... and teams (like Atlanta) started demanding Amare, when the Suns clearly wanted to deal Shawn Marion, which is why the Suns bugged out.

When you show your hand, you're at the mercy of the other team. Which is why Mullin was smart to keep his agenda hidden until the last minute. You don't need to work out a player to see how he plays; I'm sure Mullin watched plenty of video footage on Brandan Wright (not only in high school and college, but also working out for other squads).


Yep. Mullin's done his research without letting anyone other than probably Nelson know about it. We'll see teams like the Mavs and Suns get restless and backoff. There are too many teams out there that will pull the trigger just like that... but as time progresses and you stay patient, you'll get the right deal. And Mullin is setting up a deal that may not cost us as much as we thought.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2007 10:54 am
Exactly. Hell, in the end, we might be able to hang onto either Brandan Wright or Monta Ellis, if Mullin plays it right.
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