The local Warriors media confirmed for Lacob & co. that, truly, they can do anything they want to this fan base, and they will never lose business.
The copious disposable income leaking out of the Softest Market in the League was treated to a rousing show of meanie-pants by team mouthpiece Rusty Simmons, replete with "bombshell" this and "Bogut frustrated with team" that. Read that again: you're not people, you're dollar signs, as the "True Fan," "Season Ticket Holders Only" quotes from Lacob back when he was so, so public and accountable showed. Better be from San Francisco now, too.
But even with Rusty's admirable turn as team critic (each local beat voice takes a turn before returning to gladhanding team apologism and outright player fraternizing and rooting interests), the story died quickly as the league ignored it rather than smear the latest Big Sale hype machine or distract from its latest attack on the single most successful, disciplined organization in the league, the San Antonio Spurs.
Local team $upporter Adam Lauridsen, so adamantly convinced the Bogut trade was the Best Thing Ever and that intentional losing was great (where is the Warriors fine, by the way?), said nothing of consequence about a carefully orchestrated player gag order and team lying campaign. Marcus Thompson, churchgoer with the stars, quickly posted a "Myers apologizes" headline when, in fact Bob Myers barely mentioned apologies but did take the opportunity to deflect the story to Stephen Curry's apparently healthy ankle (not remotely the same medical issue, mind you, but HEY! ANKLE! LOOK OVER THERE!) and blame the fans for having a crankytimeparty. On top of that, he said something that, in a court of law, he might go to prison for: He said the team did NOT intentionally mislead fans, while all information coming out shows that was PRECISELY what they did. The only real question is, why?
Was Joe Lacob, now revealed as a paranoid ghost to rival Chris Cohan when the shit hits the fan (silence), scared of MORE fan backlash after the lusty booing he received when he crapped all over Chris Mullin's Hall of Fame career and jersey retirement? Yes.
Was Vice President Ray Ridder, AKA Flunkster Dude and a promoted key cultural director of the Chris Cohan era, trying to keep ticket sales brisk with his lackey, Chris Gilbert? Yes.
Are the team and its local fan media and mainstream media appendages trying to fasttrack a Bad Idea cash and land grab in San Francisco arena plans that might be put at risk by premature revelations of just how little they respect their fanbase and local community? Yes.
Is Bob Myers terrible at his job and has Jerry West gone silent after supposedly being the big brains behind the Bogut trade disaster? Yes.
Is it yet another sign that true stars do NOT want to be involved with Warriors management like Travis Schlenk, Ray Ridder, and Cohan's crony Joe Lacob (though Stephen Curry will play Good PR Soldier forever because he's a whipped company man) and that the chance to attract major talent into their lair of micromanagerial lameness may be gone for good as Bogut responds to the bullshit the team pulled on him and continues to as they blame him for spilling the beans? Yes.
Is it the usual cluster fuck of personal agendas, paranoia, cover up and message control, and simple cash flow spreadsheeting in Warriorland that Cohan so deftly oversaw before handpicking his successor and allowing the controlling local bitter parties to rake Larry Ellison's name over the coals for shits and giggles in the process? You bet.
In short: Same old Warriors.
The team's current record is 10-6. It will be 11-6 after tomorrow's boat racing of the road back-to-backing Orlando Real, and the team ought to have between 18 and 20 wins before January turns ugly. They just feasted on a road back-to-backed Indiana Pacers, and currently lead the league on such kind matchups. In general, the team has had a VERY favorable schedule of missing team stars and road-wearied opponents, besides the usual early season home win grabs customary of storyline-centric Warriors teams past and a few close shaves they might have lost without a few things going mysteriously their way to turn the tide.
But they'll tell you they've had it pretty rough. Give them that. They're under fire in their own paranoid minds as the walls of their deception close in around them even though no real consequences ever will. You'll continue shelling out the cash you apparently don't really need and don't want to donate to better causes.
The league and local media will continue to prop up a sham sale that changed nothing of the actual team operations. Their fancy new public young GM tactic is completely backfiring as the former agent Bob Myers tries to give his former clients big cash (Jeremy Tyler, DeAndre Jordan, Brandon Roy) and brings in contract year vets who will bolt for the payday the Warriors can't POSSIBLY give them (Carl Landry is about to get a multi-year deal out of the Warriors' price range unless he stops being productive and motivated) in the offseason. The big name Jerry West and the oh-so-accountable-and-accessible-Joe Lacob, Owner have finished last year's public ticket sales campaign of Change and are now dormant again. The coaching continues to be nonexistent, but the stat pushing and PR hyping is the same as it ever was (Robert Rowell was there for the Jackson and Malone hires, by the way). The young players who really aren't anything special get the usual Warriors hype jobs on minor statistical performance or one decent defensive play or highlight dunk.
The team looks at present committed to "Told You So!" luxury tax spending that will only be necessary because of several competing PR agendas:
1. They have to justify the millions spent on acquiring Jeremy Tyler to pimp Bob Myers' early role and to show that they are "players" buying second round picks like they were Portland or [insert name of rumored exciting Business Management Outfit here], which now costs them nearly a million in salary space. They're pimping Festus Ezeli, EZ-F, HARD right now for the same reason and because he's not yet a total waste of space (it's coming), but say little about Charles Jenkins these days, etc.
2. They ran a loud Kent Bazemore PR campaign after I noted that they couldn't keep him- or offer any other players any relevant invites to try out for an already-full roster- unless they were going to cancel out their "Dominic McGuire is a brilliant GM move of economical elite defense acquiring" plot. Not keeping Bazemore was going to cost them on future Summer League and D League invites. The team routinely stuffs its roster with irrelevance like this and has to cut last minute corners to maintain storyline, time and again. Now Bazemore, whom they COULD have cut to get under the luxury tax line, is in not contributing to the team as anything but a PR prop for their Big D League plans. The team, meawhile, ran a lengthy PR campaign this week trying to suggest that anyone BUT Kent Bazemore cost them Dominic McGuire. Thankfully, the Raptors- the fucking RAPTORS- just cut McGuire to sign Mickael Pietrus, so the Warriors' Big Talk on Super McGuire last year is put to an easy death and it doesn't matter that Super Bazemore cost them that plotline. NO recent mentions of Richard Jefferson though, right?
3. They've pushed this roster as a playoff-bound construction and they've claimed to be about winning, not about bottom line, so any roster cuts or money shaves will ruin the last talk point Ray Ridder has going for Cohan's pal Joe Lacob: "We're Not Cohan!" Cutting anyone now would draw attention to the general Salary Protection strategy on their most important current pieces (one year rentals on Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry, same approach to Brandon Rush's contract push) and this owership is DEATHLY AFRAID of any suggestion that they have the same mentality as they had with Cohan at the Silent Helm. Their entire ownership, in fact, has been a series of VERY public "We're not Cohan!' gestures but little substantive change where it matters, and the San Francisco arena and New Scoreboard distractions, while certainly grander and crazier than Cohan's Arena remodel durnig his tenure, are still "Game Experience" sideshows that would NEVER be headline integrity ruses for championship caliber organizations, merely a logical infrastructure update. it reminds you of when li'l Kirk Lacob and his buddy li'l Patty Sund got all hyped about some new game track cameras some of the league's teams have started implementing: " Hey! Look over there! It's... a thing you can look at! We don't suck because CAMERAS!"
Buying out a nothing like Jefferson to sneak under the tax line would be an even bigger sign that the Bogut deal was about anti-Ellis sentiment. He was their focal point scapegoat for the endemic Sexual Harrassment issues the Softest Market didn't care at all about. And don't get me started on Mark Jackson's fake preacher, drug dealer crony, adulterer act because I don't care, either. But then again, I didn't try to sell Jackson's godly leadership as compensation for his exactly ZERO days of coaching experience. The Bogut (Bogus, as another local blogger nicely coined it) trade was Big Talk more than anything having to do with real team building. Buying out Andris Biedrins would remind everyone that the team went full Rowell Salary Protection when it exercised its one-time amnesty to cut Warriorsworld pimp and disastrous sideshow-drunk-adulterer Charlie Bell instead of Biedrins or the grossly overpaid David Lee. The team hasn't even asked for an injury exception on Brandon Rush but doesn't play Bazemore. They're winning with Draymond Green playing a few minutes a night for now, so this is no big deal. The real story is that, even with an exception (Mickael Pietrus would improve the team, as might other acquisitions), the team would not pick a player up because then they would certainly be over the tax line at season end. That's right, I'm still thinking they'll find a way to get under it this season. And I think that is the right decision, if they do. So they'll get some Brownie points from me if they do the competent, reasonable thing and drop a silly PR talkpoint or three to do it. "Pivot" time again, right?
Look, this team SHOULDN'T pay tax on this roster. It's simply foolish pride costing this massive clusterfuck of 20-some-odd owners some real money in tax distribution. It would be simple to get just under the line and get some important additional operational capital into the team. That would be great management, since they can win games they should with their current active roster. They ought to be proud of this. They ought to be bragging about it. But they're committed to PR before substantive team building and they're going to go another season driving stupid trade rumor PR games on their fans instead of dumping dead weight and cleaning up shop. Now they're so zonked out by their failed PR gambling, they're trying to compare Amar'e Stoudemire to David Lee instead of acknowledging that the only talent swap they've executed in recent years is a complete failure as Bogut may simply retire if this Microfracture Surgery doesn't take.
There is a lusty band of cynical Caveat Emptor businessmen in the Bay Area whispering sweet nothings into the ears of longterm Warriors decision-makers and advisors. The one play this management had was on mercenary middle tier veteran talent giving contract year effort. Teams like the Spurs, Lakers, and HEAT get professional veteran winners on minimum deals instead, while the Warriors milk outlier results in manufactured competition scenarios. Now Rush is done, Landry is beasting but not starting for the terrible David Lee, and Jarrett Jack is already looking for more playing time and a starting gig as Klay Thompson chucks and loafs into oblivion. This group of longterm corporate partners and ticket holders would LOVE it if Bogut retired: roster spot, cap space, potential law suits (they still routinely hang with Cohan, by the way). They still got rid of Team Demon Monta Ellis, who you couldn't take anywhere in decent company. Too black, too southern. No fancy corporate event know-how. Stephen Curry and David Lee, on the other hand, talk real pretty. Very presentable. Class acts. Fine young men. Big money in this sort of irrelevant bullshit in today's NBA shell game.
Ellis, to be fair, was not progressing further in Oakland once Sidney Moncrief and the players, for better or worse, he looked up to departed. But he had also lost all respect for now-team Vice Presidents Ray Ridder and Travis Schlenk and was not at all fooled by the "New" ownership tack. He knew, as Stephen Jackson before him knew, that there was no major talent coming to help the team and that the coaching carousel was spinning but not operating, if you catch my drift. He wouldn't play ball on the Curry/Ellis problem, which Curry himself recently revealed ("vs. Monta," he said) WAS the huge problem everyone knew it was even as PR said Everything's Fine, and he didn't respect an ownership group with Kirk Lacob at the helm sexually harrassing to his heart's content while Ellis was the public whipping boy they sent packing to appease the Good Old Boys Club that still remains in Warriorland. He needed to move on. Ironically, he might be a fine trade chip this offseason as an expiring contract or, better yet, as a sign-and-trade candidate if he opts out as he is rumored to be planning. So far, he's been pretty good in Milwaukee despite a clear roster role backup there, too.
You ought to have wised up by now, Softest Market in the League, but here's yet another Big Talk, Wait and See apologism for you: If Ellis becomes an All Star OR a valuble trade chip this season or next, that ought to REALLY be the final final nail in the No Sale, Culture Unchanged coffin here in Oakland (and in future San Francisco) after more promises to the on-the-phone potential ticket package purchasers and corporate partners of immediate playoffs (and now we know why they toned down the rhetoric a little bit from the louder 2011-12 version: they were covering up a big Bogut problem). But it won't be.
Truthfully, ditching Ellis as part of the ongoing Blame Mullin! game was a dream come true for the longterm talk pointers, including Adam Lauridsen, frankly, who continue to push Warriors fan spending and apologist forgiveness in the wake of, truly, an egregious and cynical lie to the public. The organization has effectively been a corporate money receptacle scheme for twenty years now, and this will not change. Creepy vultures like Joe Lacob and Peter Guber don't overspend at record rates in shady deals on a team just because it has Stephen Curry. This is a FAT market and the cash machine is in fine order. They're moving in on an opportunity to milk even more Disposable Income out of San Francisco and any broader Bay Area corporate and individual suckers who write off bad faith and bad behavior as "Just Business."
Ticket sales are just fine. Merchandise is flying off the shelves. New hip designs! This is the softest market in the league, it has LOTS of disposable income, and it still thinks going to basketball games and wearing team merchandise is fun. That may change if the team falls off in the new year, but this market is very well trained for THAT game, too. The trade deadline and draft day rumor mills will churn, the capped out hell will be painted dreamy, and the nonchalant, hopes-and-dreams cash cows will pony up for their season tickets all over again, right on schedule.
In many ways, none of this is the team's fault: the league works like this on all its fanbases. But this team does not get benefit of the doubt if it wishes to claim that it is something special and better than status quo. Unfortunately, none of this ongoing Warriors ownership debacle ever matters. In the words of Margie Thatcher, "There is no such thing as society." Except if there is.