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…
January 20th, 2011 at 8:02 pm
Good posts and it was mind boggling how Prokhorov handled this trade. Certainly he should have informed the other teams an GM’s the deal was off before going public. However, I don’t think it was a stupid move on the Nets part. Melo was not going to resign and giving up the number of picks and Favors is not worth the likely rental player it in my opinion.
The team that will probably get screwed is Denver. They should have jumped at the deal with NJ. Now they may not be able to make a deal close and get stuck with letting Melo walk.
January 21st, 2011 at 10:35 am
Yeah, Denver is in the worst position. They have a big bargaining chip, but it’s only going to be a rental unless they somehow get the Knicks to make a nice package for him. If you were the Knicks though, why would you want to give up much when you know he wants to be there when he’s a free agent. Tough to be a Nuggets fan. I wonder if Coach Karl wishes he didn’t come back this season after beating his cancer…
January 20th, 2011 at 8:06 pm
I never thought ‘Melo was going anywhere, particularly New Jersey, which is why I made that Denver-makes-the-playoffs bet with you to begin with.
I heard the ATH guys laud Prokhorov for his hard stance but I have a feeling it just might backfire on him. Think about it, man. How many of these guys are going to want to sell their soul to this guy? They can make millions anywhere. They don’t have to do it for a tyrant.
I’m not saying he IS one. I’m just saying it could be perceived as such.
January 21st, 2011 at 10:33 am
Well, I still think he has a chance of going somewhere, but don’t think it’s as likely as before. I’m not sure what kind of package the Nuggets could really get for him since it’s a rental situation at this point.
I fully agree, his hard stance will backfire, and taking away power from his decision makers isn’t going to help them in the long run. At first I totally thought that players would want to go there, but the way the league is structured, he can’t really make them that much more. Endorsements will be there whether they are in the US or Russia…
January 21st, 2011 at 8:58 am
The problem isn’t with the Nets and Prokhorov but the front office of the Nuggets . Masai Ujiri the Nuggets’ GM has repateadly upped the stakes in what he’s looking for from the Nets and that’s why Prokhorov essentially told them to take a hike !
The team has a $65 million contract extension (3yr deal) which ‘melo has yet to sign and that if anything should tell you all you need to know about the situation. They want to trade him rather than losing him as a free agent in the offseason.
This isn’t Prokhorov’s fault but it all has to do with the Nuggets ownership and the ineptitude that they’ve shown in the matter ! Stanley Kroenke the team owner and a member of the Walton family by way of marriage to one of Sam Walton’s daughters is an ass and so too is Ujiri !
January 21st, 2011 at 10:49 am
Yeah Ujiri isn’t a fan or player favorite from what I’ve read. I’m sure he was asking for too much, but I think it was a little early to call everything off. I mean, we aren’t even in February, so there is still over a month to try and get him. I feel like Prokhorov didn’t make the biggest mistake pulling out of the deal, but more the way he did it. It showed he doesn’t give his staff the power to make decisions, and ultimately just undermined them…
January 21st, 2011 at 11:22 am
Ujiri is the NBA’s answer to ‘ Larry The Cable Guy’ …….. dumb as a box of rocks !
As for Stanley Kroenke and his alleged business acumen he’s not fit to run a lemonade stand much less an NBA franchise !
This is all going to end up badly more so for the Nuggets than it will for the Nets .
January 22nd, 2011 at 4:50 pm
Not Even Billionaires Get Everything They Want… « Doin Work…
Here at World Spinner we are debating the same thing……