Chris Mullin is a Golden State Warriors icon. A star player, five-time All-Star and part of Run TMC, the golden years for Golden State. It was those years that helped him get elected to the Hall of Fame. He then went on to the front office and was the GM the one time this franchise made the playoffs in the last 15 years.
But the divorce was ugly and public. Under former owner Chris Cohen Mullin was marginalized as team president Robert Rowell and coach Don Nelson asserted their control. Rowell ripped Mullin publicly (regarding the Monta Ellis moped injury and subsequent fine and suspension). The franchise icon was kicked to the curb.
No longer. Among the things new owner Joe Lacob tried to do was reconcile that relationship, and as Mullin enters the Hall of Fame it appears the bridge is back between the two sides, Matt Steinmetz tells us at CSNBayArea.com.
Owner Joe Lacob, who assumed control of the team in November, has tried to repair the damaged relationship, and Mullin has been receptive to that. Things between Lacob and Mullin started with a little bit of a hiccup — when Lacob questioned Mullin’s GM strategy during his introductory press conference in November to announce his ownership — but since then progress has been made.
In April, after Mullin had been named to the 2011 Hall of Fame class, Lacob said he wanted to retire Mullin’s No. 17 Warriors jersey and indicated he hadn’t even realized it wasn’t retired…
Now, with Mullin a little more than a week away from enshrinement, it’s become clear Lacob has done more in terms of extending the olive branch. For one, the Warriors’ public relations department is in charge of handling Mullin’s media requests leading up to the event…. In addition, three representatives of the team — ambassador Alvin Attles, general manager Larry Riley and coach Mark Jackson — will be in attendance at the enshrinement in Springfield, Mass., on Aug. 12.
This is good to see. Mullin is an iconic Warrior and needs to be part of that franchise — or at least on good terms with it — in some way.
Tristan Thompson is a man without a contract. By not signing the qualifying offer with the Cleveland Cavaliers he put himself in limbo, the rare NBA holdout. Right now his options are to sign the deal on the table (the Cavs still have the five-year, $80 million offer out there), get the Sixers or Blazers to offer him a max contract (which neither team has shown any interest in doing), or hold out and hope the Cavaliers make a better offer. If he holds out for the entire season he becomes a restricted free agent again next summer — exactly like he is right now.
Without signing the qualifying offer and the threat of leaving, Thompson hurt his leverage.
But he has a little leverage. He and his agent Rich Paul had one other card, and it got played Saturday.
LeBron James and Thompson share an agent in Paul. LeBron has largely remained silent through this process but if he wants something in the Cleveland organization, he usually gets it. And he wants Thompson back at practices.
LeBron’s leverage is going to be put to the test. The Cavaliers have let it leak they are not that concerned about LeBron leaving them next summer over this — and they’re right. The damage to LeBron’s brand if he broke the hearts of Cleveland fans again would be crushing, unless he leaves for a very good reason. Overpaying Thompson is not that reason.
However, LeBron’s comment could push the Cavaliers to try to find a compromise.
For the Cavaliers, a lot of how they view all this comes down to their tax bill. The Cavaliers already have $94.9 million in guaranteed salary on the books, putting them $10.2 million over the luxury tax line, at a cost of more than $16.25 million. What this means if (or when) they sign Thompson is his first $10 million in salary would cost them $28.75 million in tax and every dollar above that for the next $5 million costs them $3.75-to-$1. Look at it this way, by my count $14 million this year to Thompson would cost $43.75 million in tax — the total for Thompson at that price is $58 million. While that’s not all on Thompson it’s a lot of cash, and Thompson wants a max deal that starts at more than $16 million a year.
Owner Dan Gilbert is already going to pay the highest tax bill in the NBA this season, but if he balks at those figures it’s hard to blame him.
Mario Hezonja, the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft, has never lacked for confidence. The Croatian guard made his pro debut in the Magic’s preseason game against the Hornets on Saturday and did this:
Between Hezonja, Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon, the Magic have a nucleus of young players that has the potential to be a lot of fun. Even if they’re still a few years away from contending, they’re definitely going to be a League Pass favorite this year.