Last year I was ready to enslave myself to billionaire Larry Ellison, because I thought he’d be the best option as the Warriors owner since he had money to spend, and could go into the luxury tax without thinking twice. What I didn’t really think about was how much time he’d actually spend on this team to improve them. Granted we haven’t seen what Lacob-Gruber ownership group can really do, but one thing I’m positive on so far is that they care about winning. They answer questions from bloggers, they go to most of the games, and they explain why they signed or released player X. I think these guys understand the business of basketball, and what it takes to build a winner. Whether that will actually happen remains to be seen, but it does feel like they have a REAL plan opposed to every other year that didn’t involve Mullen as our GM. Would Ellison have been as accessible as the new group we have? Would he have been sitting courtside? I can’t really say he wouldn’t, but if your worth a billion dollars you probably are more busy than millionaires.
What got me thinking about this was Mikhail Prokhorov’s rambling last night about how they were going to get out of the Carmelo trade talks. Not really shocking since there was no way Melo was going to sign his three year extension to play in NJ. Like Cali4Dre said Melo’s probably pussy whooped, and he’ll follow his ladies demands and make the move to NY when he’s a free agent. I honestly think the Russian was just trying to save his team from a little embarrassment since he had to know deep down if he flew his billion dollar ass to Denver, Melo would just let him down, and he’d look weaker than ever. Something I’m sure no billionaire is used to. What if Jay-Z went with him? The only thing I could see Jay-Z contributing is if he said he’d only rap about Melo for any basketball reference in his songs… Can’t say that’s a deal maker.
In Prokhorov’s first offseason he saw all the superstars pass on his team (Lebron, Bosh, Wade, Gay, Johnson, Stoudemire, and Boozer). He saw the option B players pass on his team, and ended up with some C-list guys like Jordan Farmar, Travis Outlaw, and Anthony Morrow. Not exactly blockbuster names in the biggest/best free agency class of all time when they had a ton of cap room.
Yesterday he also killed his GM, Billy King. It was sad to hear he didn’t even let his own GM know that he was cutting off the trade talks before his news conference. You’d think Prokhorov would want King to at least be able to tell the Pistons president, Joe Dumars, and Nuggets GM, Masai Ujiri that the deal was off before he made his public address. It pretty much undermined King as a decision maker. Prokhorov wants instant gratification in his investment, but won’t get it unless he builds something that a star would want to come to. Keeping their draft picks would be an easy way to achieve that, especially without really knowing what the new CBA will be. Who knows, maybe the lottery picks will be protected for longer making guys stay with the team that drafted them for 10 years. I’m not an expert on what the negotiations are, but we know the owners want new ways to keep their stars in place, and that will happen in one way or another. If I’m Prokhorov, I’d like to get Anthony, but not at the expense of lots of draft picks and my #3 pick from last years draft. As Chris Ross said, what ever happened to good ol rebuilding.
All this brings me back to wondering; were the Warriors much better off not having a billionaire owner that could get full of himself and think he’s invincible like most billionaires think they are? Prokohorov’s decisions aren’t making a ton of sense on any level, and I’d rather have a basketball mind in the ownership role. If you hire a staff, let them do their jobs, and step in privately. Don’t jump into a press conference just to try and look like the almighty billionaire with all the answers. This new NJ regime seems to have no direction, and is looking for that quick fix when we all know that it’s a long process to build a contender. His five year plan to a championship has no rhyme or reason. No offense to Avery, but if his phone hadn’t rang in two years for a coaching job, he must not be that highly sought after. Selling all his assets for a extensionless Anthony would’ve doomed the franchise even more. Maybe one day Prokhorov will learn the ways of the NBA, but as of now, he should let the men he hired do their thing, and observe from Moscow until he figures it out…