http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news;_ylt=A ... eam_report
General manager Chris Mullin probably wants to give Don Nelson a tongue-lashing right about now, but it’s hard to determine if the coach even knows the location of his boss’ office anymore.
After watching the Warriors run out of gas and fall two games short of the playoffs last season, Mullin called Nelson on the carpet and told him he’d have to coach differently in 2008-09. Like it or not, the NBA’s second-winningest coach of all-time would have to play his younger guys more, even if the short term had to be sacrificed a bit for the bigger picture.
Nelson nodded in approval but has yet to follow through this season. He’d burned his starters like last year and generally not gone more than eight deep before getting some garbage-time minutes for his ninth, 10th and 11th players in Monday’s blowout loss at Memphis.
What happened Monday to the Warriors was exactly what occurred to the team late last season. Playing for the third time in four days on the road and fourth time in six days overall, Nelson’s stars had nothing when facing an opponent against which usually even a little something has been good enough to register a win.
A trip to Mullin’s office might have been on Nelson’s to-do list Tuesday if not for the fact the club’s chief decision-maker of recent years clearly is losing his power. In fact, many believe Mullin won’t be back with the Warriors after his contract expires at season’s end.
Why? Because someone who had used financial restraint in recent years after a free-spending spree in his early days running the team’s basketball operations suddenly asked owner Chris Cohan to break the bank again last summer. He wanted to re-sign Monta Ellis and Andris Biedrins and give Baron Davis a contract extension to prevent him from opting out of the final year of his contract.
After approving about $120 million to retain Ellis and Biedrins, team president Bob Rowell said no to a long-term Davis deal and effectively wrestled away much of Mullin’s power. Not coincidentally, when Nelson recently received a two-year contract extension, Mullin did not.