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

Report: Joakim Noah tells teammates he’s leaving Bulls

CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 15:  Joakim Noah #13 of the Chicago Bulls runs off of the court after dislocating his left shoulder against the Dallas Mavericks at the United Center on January 15, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The Mavericks defeated the Bulls 83-77. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using the photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
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Joakim Noah said in January he wanted to re-sign with the Bulls. Chicago reportedly wants to keep him.

A perfect match?

Not quite.

Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times:

According to a Bulls player, Noah has been telling teammates the last few weeks that he was done with the organization once free agency begins, and “has no trust in the front office getting this in the right direction.’’

The player was asked if Noah’s feelings had anything to do with first-year coach Fred Hoiberg and the he said, he said that went on early in the season when Noah lost his starting job, and insisted that Noah didn’t offer up that as an explanation.

What was offered up, however, was the fact that there seems to be a complete mistrust that multiple players have toward general manager Gar Forman, with Noah leading the way.

Noah and Hoiberg publicly disagreed about whose choice it was for Noah to come off the bench. Hoiberg said it was Noah’s. Noah said it was Hoiberg’s.

That looked like a petty problem, one both sides could – and maybe did – get over. But it seems Noah has deeper concerns.

This has been a rough year for the Bulls, who missed the playoffs for the first time in eight seasons. That unexpected downturn takes a toll on chemistry and brings buried problems to the surface. That’s especially true considering Chicago fired Tom Thibodeau – a coach who looks better in hindsight. If players miss Thibodeau, that opens the door for them to turn on Forman, who forced out Thibodeau.

That said, the Bulls are probably better off letting Noah walk. He’s 31 and has been banged up the last couple years. I wouldn’t commit big money to him with Taj Gibson, Nikola Mirotic and Bobby Portis under contract and the need for faster players to run Hoiberg’s system. Chicago can’t quickly solve its Jimmy ButlerDerrick Rose issue, because Butler is worth keeping and Rose is under contract another year on a difficult-to-trade deal. But shedding Noah and using the resulting cap flexibility elsewhere gets the team headed in the right direction.

For his part, Noah can seek a fresh start – how about with Thibodeau in Minnesota? – and find a team that suits him, either a win-now squad or a younger group seeking veteran leadership.

Report: Indiana junior Troy Williams staying in NBA draft

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 25:  Troy Williams #5 of the Indiana Hoosiers reacts in the second half against the North Carolina Tar Heels during the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament East Regional at Wells Fargo Center on March 25, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
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An Indiana player – Thomas Bryant – who likely would’ve been a first-round pick didn’t even declare for the draft without an agent.

Another Indiana player – Troy Williams – who might not even get picked will stay in the draft.

Gregg Doyel of The Indianapolis Star:

Williams, a 6-foot-7 small forward, is an excellent athlete. He’s not strong enough and hasn’t shown enough awareness to project him defending well in the NBA yet. But his length, quickness and leaping ability give him potential on that end. That and transition offense will have to carry him for now, because his outside shot is unimpressive.

There are players like Williams in every draft. It’s on him to convince a team that he has the work ethic and intelligence to refine his game.

Klay Thompson gives most depressing interview answer (video)

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The Warriors are taking a beating on the court, but their turmoil reached heartbreaking levels in Klay Thompson‘s press conference after Game 4.

Thompson, scanning the box score for any semblance of hope, applauded Golden State’s “40 assists” – which would have been the most in a playoff game since 1994. But he quickly realized that couldn’t be right, looked again and sadly announced Golden State had just 15 assists.

Thompson was probably looking at the Warriors’ rebounding total (which was 16 below the Thunder’s).

Report: Steven Adams suffered testicular contusion

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When Draymond Green kicked Steven Adams in the groin, it did more than create mass debate about the appropriate punishment.

Green hurt Adams badly, it sounds like.

John E. Hoover of The Franchise Tulsa:

Once you finish wincing, take a moment to appreciate how tough Adams is. He kept playing in the game and then came out in Game 4 throwing bullet passes.