What now for the Warriors?

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Thumbnail image for New Warriors Logo.jpgIt’s a new day for Golden State.

Nothing was going to change for the struggling franchise until the ownership changed.

Now that’s done — Joseph Lacob and Peter Guber are out in front of a group that has agreed to terms to buy team. They paid a record $450 million and that was enough to edge out what Larry Ellison was willing to pay (and he had $450 million in the glove box of his car).

Warriors fans, this is a good thing — Lacob is a minority owner of the Celtics. (A share he has to sell.) He has seen how good ownership works first hand. Ownership that has won a title. That experience matters. Winning franchises start with ownership

So now what?

First lets get the rumor out of the way — the team isn’t going anywhere. There are those that saw Guber is the chairman of Mandalay Entertainment, and saw the story about a team possibly moving to Las Vegas, and made a leap. Mandalay Entertainment is not the people that own the Vegas hotel. Totally different companies.

Plus, nobody sane is moving the Warriors out of the Bay Area — that is one of the wealthiest areas of the nation. It is a large and basketball-loving market. Las Vegas is smaller and is still being stung deeply by the recession. It’s more likely the new owners will partner with the Giants and others to build a new arena that could generate more revenue.

After that, it’s time to get the on-the-court product improved. That means time to clean house in the front office. The Warriors need a change direction. Out goes Don Nelson and his right hand, GM Larry Riley. Their team building methods have alienated talented rookies.

This cannot happen until the sale is finalized and the papers signed, likely August or later. Which is close to the start of camps and the season, when it may be hard to find the best candidates. But I still think you need to be decisive with a change and start making contacts now so a change can be swift when it happens.

There are some great GMs now available — Kevin Pritchard and Jeff Bower are two. Plus some other guys whose names you may not know but who could do the job, like Rich Cho, the number two man in Oklahoma City.

Get a GM, who gets a coach. It doesn’t matter so much what the exact direction of the team is on the court, just that a direction is chosen and talent built to fit it. Right now the patterns are hard to figure (which is being kind to a team that let Morrow walk).

The passionate Warriors fan base has been waiting. Now is the first day of the rest of their franchise

Reggie Jackson to return to Pistons lineup Sunday vs. Orlando

AUBURN HILLS, MI - APRIL 24: Reggie Jackson #1 of the Detroit Pistons tries to get around the first quarter defense of Kyrie Irving #2 of the Cleveland Cavaliers in game four of the NBA Eastern Conference quarterfinals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at the Palace of Auburn Hills on April 24, 2016 in Auburn Hills, Michigan. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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The Detroit Pistons’ playoff dreams hinged on them being able to hang around until point guard Reggie Jackson got back from this thumb and knee injuries. They have done just that — the Pistons are 11-10 and would be the eighth seed if the playoffs started today.

And now they get Jackson back. Stan Van Gundy made the announcement Sunday at shootaround, before the team takes on the Orlando Magic.

It will take a few games to get his conditioning back, but this is huge for Detroit. Jackson running the pick-and-roll with Andre Drummond is at the heart of Detroit’s offense – the Pistons were 2.3 points per 100 possessions better with the ball in his hands. Ish Smith played well for the Pistons in his absence — 10.8 points per game, 6.4 assists, and he’s been solid. Move his playmaking to the second unit and suddenly the Pistons become a lot more dangerous.

Jakob Poeltl with huge poster dunk for Raptors. Yes, Jakob Poeltl. (VIDEO)

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The scouting report on Jakob Poeltl coming out of Utah said he could run the floor well and he was a good finisher around the rim.

But we didn’t expect this.

During the Raptors win Sunday against the stumbling Hawks, Poeltl filled the lane on the break, got the rock, and nobody was going to stop that finish. Least of all Tim Hardaway Jr., he just ends up in the poster.

Hassan Whiteside: “Portland was my second option”

MIAMI, FL - OCTOBER 28: Hassan Whiteside #21 of the Miami Heat looks on during a game against the Charlotte Hornets at American Airlines Arena on October 28, 2016 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
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Entering free agency last July, Hassan Whiteside said his first choice was to stay in Miami — then Pat Riley gave him 98 million reasons to stick around. While the Heat have been up and down this season, Whiteside has thrived as the franchise player in Miami.

Last July he also met with Dallas, but it turns out that was not his second choice. Here is what Whiteside told Erik Gunderson of the Miami Herald before his team fell to the Blazers on Saturday.

“Portland was my second option,” Whiteside said at the team’s Saturday shootaround in Portland. “I would have came here.”

Interesting. There were reports the Blazers chased Whiteside, but it didn’t seem that serious. Apparently, it was. If The Blazers got Whiteside, would they still have spent $70 million on Evan Turner? Probably not. And suddenly a lot of things look better in Portland.

For Blazers fans, watching their team try to outscore opponents while playing terrible defense this season — in part because of a lack of rim protection behind their undersized guards — it’s easy to imagine how much Whiteside would have changed the picture in the Northwest. But at this point, that’s just fan fiction.

JaVale McGee tries to inbound ball for wrong team, Warriors bench cracks up (VIDEO)

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JaVale McGree has become a solid contributor for the Warriors off the bench, giving them a needed shot blocking presence. He’s not getting a ton of run (seven minutes a night), but he’s efficient when he’s out there.

Still, there is his reputation as the guy most likely to end up on Shaqtin’ a Fool. He hasn’t done anything like that for a while… until Saturday night, when after a made free throw he tried to inbound the ball for the Suns for a second.

The Warriors bench was laughing under their shirts and towels.