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

Aaron Gordon both legs over the mascot, ball-under-the-legs dunk (VIDEO)

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TORONTO — Zach LaVine won the NBA All-Star Saturday Dunk Contest, but in an epic night for my money this was the single best dunk.

Orlando’s Aaron Gordon broke ground with this one — guys have jumped over mascots and other players before (and a Kia hood), but by splitting their legs apart. Gordon just put both legs over Stuff (that’s the mascot’s name, Stuff the Magic Dragon, I don’t make this up) — and took the ball off the mascot’s head, went under his legs, and threw it down.

Insane.

Gordon deserved a trophy for his performance in this dunk contest.

Zach LaVine edges Aaron Gordon in epic, insane Dunk Contest

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TORONTO — That. Was. Amazing.

In a dunk contest that will go down with the all-time greats — Jordan vs. Dominique, Dr. J from the free throw line — Minnesota’s Zach LaVine defended his dunk contest title. Barely. Because Orlando’s Aaron Gordon was doing dunks nobody had ever seen before.

And LaVine was bringing it just as hard.

The two men advanced to the finals — dismissing Will Barton and Andre Drummond, each of whom had good dunks — and that was when it got wild.

There were four second-round dunks, and four perfect scores of 50. (That was in spite of Shaq, who wanted to give nines for second attempts.)

“I was prepared for four (second round dunks),” LaVine said. “To tell the truth, he came with something that no one else has done. He did two dunks that were just crazy with the mascots, jumping over them. We just kept pushing each other until the last dunk. I’ve got to give it up to my boy Will “The Thrill” Barton. It’s because of him I think I won. Because he said try to go from the free-throw line. I’d never done that before, and I just tried it. So I guess it was a great dunk. I think it was the best one ever.”

The Air Canada Centre crowd was exploding with every dunk. The two men went to a dunk-off — and got two more 50s.

“If I knew it was going to be like that, I would have prepared better and we would have been here dunking all night, going back 50 after 50 after 50 after 50,” Gordon said. “We would have been here all night. I didn’t know it was going to be like that. I was just hoping Zach was going to miss, and it wasn’t going to happen. You could see as my facial expressions when Zach dunks it, it’s like okay, that’s a 50. Like I know we’re going to have to dunk again.”

So they went to a second-round of overtime, where LaVine put up another 50 and won the contest.

Gordon was close to perfect.

Zach LaVine can flat-out fly.

Magic’s Aaron Gordon with the over-the-mascot mad dunk

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TORONTO — Aaron Gordon was giving Zach LaVine all he could handle in the Dunk Contest.

He blew the lid off the Air Canada Centre with this dunk in the first round — and it wasn’t even his best dunk of the night. Never seen this before.

This dunk contest was awesome, so much more video to come.

Zach LaVine opens Slam Dunk Contest title defense with spectacular behind-the-back slam (VIDEO)

during the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge 2016 at Air Canada Centre on February 12, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. 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.
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TORONTO — Zach LaVine clearly heard all the talk that Aaron Gordon or Will Barton had a chance to upset him in the Slam Dunk Contest. He came out ready to prove his superiority right off the bat. This behind-the-back slam was his first attempt of the night:

Even better was the reaction, both from Andre Drummond and from LaVine’s Minnesota teammates: