Tag: Chris Cohan

Joe Lacob, Peter Guber

New Warriors owners not sure how they outbid Larry Ellison either

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There was a given going into the sale of the Warriors — if he wanted the team, Silicon Valley mogul Larry Ellison could win the auction. Easy. You know how rich Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov is? Trail Blazer owner Paul Allen (he of the ground floor of Microsoft)? Ellison is worth more than both of them combined.

And it was assumed Larry Ellison wanted the Warriors, he had expressed interest before.

But at the end of the bidding, Joseph Lacob and Peter Guber came out with the team after a $450 million bid. NBA.com’s Scott Howard Cooper asked them how that happened, and, well, they don’t know either.

“We heard all that too, and we even thought that,” Lacob admitted, laughing. “I remember Peter and I talking about this during the process. We said, ‘We can’t really worry about him. We just have to do what we think is right. We have to do our homework, we have to bid at the appropriate time, we have to bid the right amount, we have to do our due diligence properly, and we just stay in the game because you never know what’s going to happen….”

“The truth is, in the end, who’s to say why. Larry could have had the team probably at any time by just writing a bigger check. And he certainly could afford to do that. I really don’t know why he didn’t do that. Maybe it’s one of these things where you just don’t think the other guys are real in a bidding process. We were a little bit under the radar. We just stayed in there and did our thing. I guess the one thing I would say is that when it came down to it and we knew we had it, or were very close to having it, we did do one thing that was rather unusual. We signed a letter of intent. Then it usually takes a couple months to do what’s called a complete purchase-and-sale agreement. We went and did that in a period of about 72 hours. Completely. Nonstop. Without sleeping. With our lawyers. We knew that they, or he, or whoever – we didn’t know who the competitor was – would try to come in over the top at the end. It’s an auction process. We just said, ‘We’re going to be done before they ever get there.’

Ellison did try to come in with a bigger offer after the bidding process ended, but that didn’t work. Selling owner Chris Cohan stuck with his process. And there you go.

We don’t know how good Lacob and Guber will turn out to be as owners. Better than Cohan, one could hope (one playoff appearance in 16 years). Owners who stuck with a plan and beat the big gun out sound like just the perfect guys to take over in the Bay Area.

Warriors sale approved, becomes official

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In practice, the changes were already underway with the Warriors — Don Nelson was out, Keith Smart was in. A lineup of only shooters was being replaced by grittier, more physical players.

But now the change in ownership that precipitated all of that is official — Joseph Lacob and Peter Guber have been unanimously approved as owners of Golden State by the 29 other owners the league announced. Meaning the Chris Cohan era is over. All over the Bay Area, champagne corks just popped.

“We are delighted to welcome Joe Lacob and Peter Guber as majority owners of the Warriors,” said NBA Commissioner David Stern in a released statement. “Their commitment to the community, strong ownership group and business acumen will benefit the Warriors and their passionate fans both on and off the court.”

Lacob had been a minority owner with the Celtics but sold those shares to get the Warriors.

Lacob and Guber promise to be more hands-on than Cohan, and more committed to winning — the Warriors have been to the playoffs once in the last 16 years. The Clippers have been more (twice, but still). It is a franchise in need of a change of culture, and now that can begin in earnest.

NBA Season Preview: Golden State Warriors

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Last season: 26-56, which is kind of the record you end up with when you don’t play much defense. And Don Nelson had stopped caring about defense, or seemingly coaching half the time. But as much as that, it was an injury-ravaged season that kept the win total that low.

Head Coach: Keith Smart, who still wants this team running as fast as anyone in the league, but has set up some flex (think Jazz) half court sets. And he is going to hold guys accountable on defense. (Note to Warriors fans, defense is the thing played on the other half of the court where your team is not shooting. Just wanted to give you a reminder as you hadn’t seen it in years.)

Key Departures: Owner Chris Cohan — no player move the Warriors could have made is as big as this. Cohan had owned the Warriors 16 seasons and the team made it to the playoffs just once. Front office power plays took place while he watched seemingly uninterested. He was one of the few owners in the league you could compare to Donald Sterling (of the Clippers). Just him being out gives hope to Golden State fans.

Anthony Randolph seemed like a guy that should blow up in Don Nelson’s system — the Warriors hyped him like he would — but it never really happened. So he goes to the Knicks along with Kelenna Azubuike and Ronny Turiaf as part of the David Lee deal. It’s not a bad deal in that Lee brings some needed skills across the country with him, but giving up Randolph and Azubuike is a lot of potential out the door. But it’s time for a little of the old coaching axiom in Golden State — potential will get you fired. With Lee, you know what you get every night.

The real head scratcher of a summer move was sending Anthony Morrow to the Nets for a second round pick. Morrow is a lights-out shooter at an affordable price. How does that not fit in any system?

Also gone are Anthony Tolliver and Corey Maggette.

Key Additions: New owners Peter Guber and Joe Lacob (Lacob will be the front man). They may or may not be great owners — Lacob was part owner of the Celtics and saw how a first class organization works first hand, but he also said the Warriors would not spend over the luxury tax. Already they are making changes — Nellie is out, while they bring in gritty players that will actually rebound the ball (David Lee, Lou Amundson) which alone will bring a needed change to the roster. Bottom line — the new owners bring hope to a fan base that has wanted desperately to believe. Now, we all believe.

On the court, there is David Lee. The Warriors were a terrible, terrible rebounding team last season and David Lee will change that. Parts of his game may have gotten overhyped in New York, but not his work on the boards, where last season he grabbed 17.9 percent of the available rebounds when he was on the floor. He is particularly a beast on the defensive glass. Now, as for his defense, that will be a fun challenge for Smart.

Also in the door in Golden State are draft picks Ekpe Udoh (No. 6 overall) and Jeremy Lin (the fan favorite), plus Dorell Wright, Amundson, Rodney Carney, and even Dan Gadzuric.

Oh, and cool new uniforms.

Best case scenario: The Warriors start to figure out who they want to be, who fits with that, and the second half of the season they make a run at a playoff spot while keeping the cap space and flexibility they have to build in the future.

For that to happen: The Warriors just need to be smart about it. What that last paragraph really says is there is true hope for the future now, because the Warriors have some good pieces to start building around. And just watching something with a chance to grow that ownership will not uproot too early for no good reasons will go over huge with the loyal Warriors faithful.

Golden State has a lot of potential in the Stephen Curry/David Lee pick and roll. Lee is a very good roll-man — he sets a quality pick and last season shot 64 percent when he got the ball in that spot. He also picks up a fair amount of and-ones in that spot as he is strong enough to get off a good shot while rolling even if hit. Meanwhile Curry is an improving ball-handler on the pick-and-roll. You have to fight over the top of the pick or show hard on Curry — you have to respect his shot and cannot just let him get a clean look — and Curry is figuring out how to use that attention to set up others.

Like Monta Ellis, who is another great scorer and also a ball-handler that is solid as a pick-and-roll ball handler. Ellis just puts points on the board — not terribly efficiently last season, but he was asked to carry a lot of the Warriors offense.

There are questions if Ellis and Curry can play together, but two ball-handlers who can both be fantastic catch-and-shoot guys can work very well together — if they want to. It’s more about desire and ego than fit.

The Warriors also have a nice collection of role players. Reggie Williams is a personal favorite to watch and Smart will give him quality minutes. Andris Biedrins could be a strong center if he can stay healthy. Dorell Wright gives Golden State some nice athleticism on the wing. It’s just a matter of finding the direction for the team then seeing who fits.

More likely the Warriors will: Be better with flashes of really good, but struggle to win a lot in a very deep Western Conference. However, what is different is this time they will not self-destruct and rip apart whatever future there might have been. They will learn and build. In a year or two, they will be the team that makes the big leap forward, just not this season.

Prediction: 33-49, and by the end of the season a formed identity. That or Smart will be gone and a coach with an identity will be brought in.