By ridding the team of his earlier signings (Murphy, Dunleavy), Mullin truly may have saved his job. Those two, plus an undersized Ike (all Mullin signings or draft pick), did not fit in, style-wise, with this team.
There was no way that Nelson was going down to visit Davey Jones's locker with a cast of players that he did not want.
Other than Houston and San Antonio, two teams with good center/inside play, this Warrior team can now match up well with all of the Western Conference playoff bound teams...and win, too!
The good thing about having Nelson coaching this team vs. Montgomery is that veterans love to play for Nelson. Although still young, Harrington and Jackson, are veterans and should thrive here with an athletic and uptempo style of basketball.
From Tim K:
http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercuryn ... 486226.htm
Kawakami: For Mullin, trade may be a career saver
By Tim Kawakami
How did Chris Mullin do it? I'm imagining a swaying gold watch, soothing words and a soft trip into suggestive hypnosis for the Indiana Pacers brain trust.
I'm thinking Donnie Walsh and Larry Bird will open their sleepy eyes soon and scream in unison: We traded Al Harrington to the Warriors for what?
There isn't a better explanation, because the much-maligned Mullin did more than just pull a fast one by shoveling Mike Dunleavy, Troy Murphy and Ike Diogu to his heartland peers.
At the purposeful prodding of Coach Don Nelson, Mullin did much more than win a NBA poker game, though that's a lot by itself.
Mullin doesn't want to say it and probably won't ever admit it. But Wednesday's lightning-strike trade saved an era of Warriors basketball from imminent, precipitous doom.
It didn't make the Warriors a guaranteed playoff team -- we know better than to make those kinds of predictions. But this trade makes them much more athletic and much more relevant, just when they were dipping into concrete boringness.
And Mullin saved himself, too, in the process.
From the bite of Nelson's running (and brutally honest) commentary. From recent critics like me. From the rising tide of anxiety. From letting his early bad contract decisions continue to haunt him and cripple the Warriors.
Before we go further, let's quickly run through the pluses and super-pluses of this deal, which:
• Ended the franchise's strained, over-optimistic dreams about Dunleavy, Murphy and (to a lesser extent) Diogu. The cords had to be cut, probably should've been cut last year, and the Warriors weren't going anywhere until they did the snipping.
Mullin loved Dunleavy's game, especially, and probably still does, but Mullin had to start acting like a boss, not a buddy-teammate, at some point. He finally had to listen to Nelson.
Let me repeat one last time: Neither Murphy nor Dunleavy can create a shot or play a speck of defense. That is not winning basketball -- in fact, in Murphy's case, it was provably losing basketball. (Worst plus/minus player on the team this season and last.)
• Dumped the bad deals he gave Murphy (owed $42.3 million after this season) and Dunleavy ($37.5 million after this season) without having to give up Monta Ellis or Patrick O'Bryant as enticement.
Unbelievable. The Warriors still will have a luxury-tax crush this summer when Andris Biedrins must be paid and they have to make a decision on Mickael Pietrus. But it's a lot easier after bouncing two useless players who will make a combined $17.4 million next season.
After Nelson's tart comments, I thought the jig was up on Dunleavy and Murphy as valued NBA players. Wrong. Is there a Pacers explanation? Only that they were just as weary of Stephen Jackson and Sarunas Jasikevicius (now Baron Davis' backup) as the Warriors were of Murphy and Dunleavy, and maybe they can flip one or both to the Clippers for Corey Maggette, who'll make Jermaine O'Neal feel better about remaining a Pacer.
But I'll guarantee, if the trade ends up as a wash except Harrington for Diogu, the Warriors win all day and all decade.
• Added Harrington, a combo-forward who fits Nelson's style and the Warriors' needs nicely, and Jackson, an aggressive wing player who fits Nelson's style -- though he carries massive behavioral baggage.
Plus neither has a terrible contract. Huge point there.
Think of Davis (happiest guy on earth right now) dribbling, dribbling, defenders all over him at the end of a close game because, heck, why would they concentrate on anybody else?
Now add Harrington (yes, the same guy I thought the Warriors would acquire last summer) and Jackson, and suddenly the defense is torn -- double-teaming Davis opens up Harrington, swooping on Harrington frees Jackson, over-focus on both means Davis has a path to the rim . . .
Now add Jason Richardson, if he returns this season at full form . . .
In summation, the Warriors save $30 million in long-term money, get better and faster immediately, break up the Murphy-Dunleavy doldrums, keep the Ellis-Biedrins kiddie corps together, make Nelson happy and recommit the Warrior Nation.
Warriors fans are remembering that Mullin was the guy who traded for Davis not too long ago -- and forgetting he's the guy who hired Mike Montgomery and emptied the bank for Murphy, Dunleavy and Adonal Foyle.
``I think what this says is we saw a deal that we thought was going to make us better, and we went and did it,'' Mullin said Wednesday.
I don't know if the slight slump in ticket sales was a factor. I don't know if he cared about the booing of Dunleavy or listened to the shreddings by Nelson.
But he answered all of those burning issues, with a burst of magic. This was a Houdini trade for Mullin and the Warriors, a franchise-reviving sleight of hand that no one could have foreseen except the man who had the gold watch and performed the hypnosis.
Check out Tim Kawakami's Talking Points blog at www.mercextra.com/blogs/ kawakami. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or (408) 920-5442.
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The trade proves that Mullin will be aggressive in seeking trades to upgrade the roster. It also proves that Nellie is a straight shooter, he will not talk up players that are in the doghouse and the trading block. Mullin was simply changing the roster based on a new coaching philosophy and had the fortune of a desperate Indy trying to cut ties with the cancerous Jackson. For long time Warrior fans, Nellie ball is about getting fading NBA stars to perform (Mullie, BD) and building around a band of CBA misfits (Mario Ellie, Mr. Jennings, Matt Barnes) who will hustle and outperform journeymen (Dunleavy, Murphy, Foyle) with big fat contracts. Somewhat like Phil in Fakertown, Nellie will make players fit his system or make them sit on the bench while he provide valuable playing minutes to CBA all-stars. On other hand, we have major dilema with our shooting guard position. (Pietrus is underperforming and injury prone and desires a big contract, Richardson could be the next Grant Hill or Allen Houston, and Jackson can't stay out of troube with the law).
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