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News » As only they can, Warriors put the 'free' in free falling


As only they can, Warriors put the 'free' in free falling


As only they can, Warriors put the 'free' in free falling The Warriors have reached a fascinating stage in their development, one you rarely see in even the most enfeebled sporting franchises:

They are renouncing their worldly goods, one bit of bric-a-brac at a time, with the apparent goal being to have no earthly encumbrances to prevent them from their ethereal reward.

Well, OK. There's the money. But players? Pfah! A mere trifle.

The truck has been backed up and parked, flashers on, and the onloading has begun. Stephen Jackson is gone, in exchange for Vladimir Radmanovic and Raja Bell's medical bills. Monta Ellis might be next, and if the Warriors are as eager to shed him as he is to be shed of them, that would happen within a week, two at the most. And after that, the line forms by the Gatorade dispenser.

Corey Maggette. Anthony Randolph. Andris Biedrins. Anyone who wants to show enough displeasure in the regime apparently will be granted his freedom - except maybe Anthony Morrow, who, as an accomplished spot-up shooter, becomes the new object of the franchise's affections. Maybe by default.

We have here the slow-motion end cycle of the Warriors as we knew them. This is not merely because Jackson has forced their hands and Ellis gives every indication of wanting to do the same, but because the franchise has dead-ended in its present state. As many times as its image has been dented in the past, this is the first time it has gone fully viral.

In the past, they could hide behind their general irrelevance, a team with a very distant past, an unpleasant present and an uncertain future - but then they screwed up and made the playoffs in 2007. Worse yet, they beat Dallas in the first round. Worst of all, they did it with a sense of 21st century panache, one which suckered the casual fans from across the country to take a better look at this little engine that could.

And boy, did they get it.

In short, this is the worst Warriors implosion of the half dozen or so we've endured since the mid-1970s, because it is so raw, so free of pretense or disingenuousness. The hatreds are all out there for us to see because nobody is even bothering to hide them any longer.

Worse, there is no fallback position. It's the owner. No, it's his right-hand man. No, it's the coach. No, it's the players. No wait, it's the media.

Actually, it no longer matters. The process is already a year and change along, and like soil erosion, melting glaciers and the Sarah Palin book tour, it will not be detoured or prevented.

First, it was Baron Davis. Then, it was executive vice president Chris Mullin. Now, it's back to the players - Jackson, and then Ellis. Then maybe Maggette, or Biedrins, or maybe Radmanovic as part of another dead-money/cap-room deal down the road. And on and on through Don Nelson, and finally Chris Cohan and Bobby Rowell. They all go down, sooner or later. Two, three years max. Nobody gets out better off than he was, except for the money.

See, we told you this would be slow-motion.

Slow, though, isn't the same as hopeful. There is no intermediate step involved, where you take away this component or that one and say, "Aha! The diamond within!" The Warriors do not create "We Re-Believe!" around Morrow, Stephen Curry and some as-yet-unnamed 7-foot Uzbek 18-year-old. This is not a playoff team that simply needed to weed out its malcontents to find its inner San Antonio.

These are the end times, and the rebuild that started a year ago June ends when the team is sold, in a year, or two, or three. Now it might be sold to a brilliant, non-meddlesome, well-appointed billionaire with a heart of gold and an ego of zinc, or it might be sold to a consortium of egomaniacal dopes who all think their year of freshman Basketball in prep school trained them properly to be the next Mitch Kupchak.

In other words, there is no such thing as, "It can't get any worse." It can. There's always some level of worse that simply hasn't been imagined yet. After all, how many of you watched the Lane Kiffin thing and said, "It can't get any worse" and discovered that within a year, you'd be so spectacularly wrong?

And don't think of it in terms of blame. Think of it as an evolutionary rather than a revolutionary process, and understand there are no positive or negative steps along the way. There is no quick fix, just as there are no more tragic missteps. There is only what is - the Warriors as seen by a deconstructionist.

If this seems unduly grim, or so predetermined that there is no fun left to be had in this season or next, well, so? Who's having fun with this now? Cohan isn't. Rowell isn't. Nelson isn't. The players aren't. The fans aren't. Even those among us in the media who don't mind the odd train wreck now and then are pretty well spent by the crushing sameness of it all.

Thus, our advice to you is to sit back, relax, and check back in a year from Thursday. We can't guarantee you the job will be complete, but it still will be going. If this helps, think of it the way you would think of the Bay Bridge project. And then sit back down again. This won't be a very enjoyable drive for some time to come.


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Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: November 18, 2009

 

 
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