By Lowell Cohn,
Published: Monday, May 11, 2009 at 6:52 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, May 11, 2009 at 6:52 p.m.
Does anyone in his right mind think the Warriors will be better now that Chris Mullin is officially gone?
The Warriors, for a short while an improved franchise under Mullin, now have regressed to the danger level, the bad level, and are bottom dwellers as organizations go, along with the Raiders and A’s.
I phoned Mullin on his super-secret cell a couple of weeks ago just to say hello. We’ve known each other since his first day in the league as a player and we grew up in the same neighborhood. We are familiar with each other and comfortable in each other’s company, and it struck me as odd that he didn’t call me back.
I thought something was up but let the thought go and got on with my life. Now I wish I had been more persistent.
Sometimes he and I have lunch at Barney’s, the burger joint on Piedmont Avenue in Oakland. It’s a Brooklyn kind of place and we feel at home there. The last time we ate at Barney’s, Mullin was surprisingly upbeat. I knew he was history with the Warriors and he knew he was history and he was smiling and chipper. I asked if he wanted to stay with the team and he said, no, that would be impossible. And then he said the most touching thing, and from my point of view, the saddest thing.
“It would not be good for me to stay there.”
I don’t have any special insight into human nature, but when he said it wouldn’t be good for him, I took him to mean it would not be good for his health and well-being.
Mullin, as you know, has battled personal issues and won. He is a model of propriety and he’s a gentleman and you can trust him and believe in him. And he was saying, I thought, the Warriors organization, the toxic culture that has evolved there, is harmful to a reasonable person’s health.
What an indictment. He also was saying, if I understood him correctly, it would be better for him and his family if he and the Warriors severed their connection.
He told me he would leave at the end of June when his contract expired.
“I’ll let it run out and then I’ll just go away,” he said.
So, for the Warriors to write a release Monday, stating they won’t renew Mullin’s contract, gives me a laugh. Mullin never wanted it renewed. He wanted out. He wanted his life back.
At that lunch — we both had burgers and I had a Coke and he had seltzer — I asked: “Do you hang around with Don Nelson?”
“No,” Mullin said. “He drinks and smokes. I can’t be around that.”
Mullin said those words and it was like I saw through them to the depth of his soul. He had brought back Nelson to the team — out of respect, Mullin still calls him “Coach” — because he has been a hell of a coach.
Nelson isn’t any more. But the idea that they were close, that they socialized, as outsiders like us might imagine, always was false. Nelson, just by his lifestyle, is harmful to Mullin’s health. Mullin brought him back, not to be with a friend, but because he admired Nelson’s ability and thought he was good for the team.
Maybe Nelson would have been good for the team. He would have been good if the team kept him under its thumb. Nelson needs to feel subservient and needy to perform.
Nelson asked for a contract extension before the 2008-2009 season and Mullin advised the Warriors not to grant it. Let Nelson finish the contract he already had. If the Warriors gave him another two years just like that, Nelson might not feel as hungry. And that’s exactly how it played out, lazy Nelson ceding defensive duties to assistant coach Keith Smart — outrageous.
Team president Robert Rowell — Bobby — granted the extension and it was an unwise business move. Rowell, I believe, gets manipulated by people who kiss up to him. He is a silly executive. Nelson charmed him, charmed him over Mullin’s head, and look where that led.
Stephen Jackson charmed him and got a whopping extension that Mullin didn’t like. And look where that led.
Mullin wanted to extend Baron Davis, but Rowell dithered and delayed and lost Davis because, I believe, Rowell thought Davis didn’t like him. In other words, did not kiss up. And look where that led.
The principal complaint the Warriors had against Mullin was this. They saw him as a players’ executive. He always would see things from the players’ point of view, not from management’s. This is not true, never was.
Mullin was a great player and understands players. The Warriors believed he wanted to be soft on Monta Ellis after the moped accident. This always was a lie. Mullin wanted to dock part of his salary and discipline him. But he didn’t want to levy one of the largest fines in league history. He advised proportion. This infuriated Rowell so much he called out Mullin to the media one Saturday night last preseason, called him out when no one even had asked about Mullin, called Mullin out when Mullin wasn’t there to defend himself. The Warriors portrayed Mullin as weak, as having the wrong priorities, but Rowell is the weak one with the wrong priorities.
In the past year, the Warriors treated Mullin shabbily. They ignored his advice, marginalized him and embarrassed him. Mullin took all this without lashing out. Rowell runs the show now with no opposition. He is shortsighted and he takes things personally, a tragic flaw in a businessman. Look where Rowell’s stewardship has led. It has led the Warriors to a place called No Hope.
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The Broe Knows Dont Hate....
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It's really sad to see this happen. I mean, we talk about wanting a real GM better than Mullin, but after this, how the HELL are we going to land one that will want to work in this environment after all that happened? Do you think they want to be treated the way they treated Mullin? Hell no. They ditched the best we had in a long time. Why? Because he had different views of handling certain situations? That's stupid. The ultimate disrespect. They couldn't just let Mullin do his job. If this franchise ever recovers, it starts with getting rid of Rowell, Nelson, and Cohan.
Plain and simple.
Last edited by xbay on Wed May 13, 2009 1:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Don't hate yourself in the morning... sleep 'til noon.
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Mullin sees the ownership/management of this team as the incredible dysfunctional joke that it is.
Sad day for the Warriors, and a wise move for Mullin personally.
As a fan, I cannot blindly follow them off a cliff and at the same time, I can't just abandon my support either. Perhaps good old fashioned Bay Area protesting is a way to show your support for the team and your disgust for the ownership/management at the same time. Some kind of push for new ownership is in order. Get Dellums on it!!
oh, and thanks OG for the only quoted words of Mullin's I've seen in print for months!!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3pIsA0Q ... re=related
Steph Curry fakin Chris Anderson out of his jock: awesome!
look on Turiaf's face: priceless
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