Posts Tagged ‘Peter Guber’

Against All Odds, Warriors Rise Again


HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — The sellout crowd, the standing ovation at the end and the playoff chants were all fitting for a team and franchise that achieved against all odds this season.

Late Tuesday night in Oakland, one of the NBA’s most rabid fan bases was rewarded when the Golden State Warriors clinched the franchise’s second playoff berth in the past 19 years. Nobody celebrates these things better than the Warriors, who cashed in on their last playoff appearance in 2007 by shocking the Dallas Mavericks in the first round.

Warriors coach Mark Jackson has been a believer in his team all season and that faith has been realized now in the form of a team that won six of its past eight games to strut into the playoffs, as opposed to slipping through the back door.

“We celebrated, and rightfully so,” Jackson told reporters afterwards, fighting back the tears that flowed in a reportedly emotional and raucous postgame locker room celebration. “People questioned us, and they should have. People doubted us, and they should have. But they underestimated the heart, the desire, the work ethic, the determination, the willingness to put in the time and then the favor of God.”

Much like fellow Tuesday night playoff clincher Houston, the Warriors have arrived to the surprise of many. They’ve done it without the hype-train that has accompanied the Rockets’ rise. There’s no James Harden or Jeremy Lin headliner on this Warriors team (although an All-Star like David Lee and shooting star like Stephen Curry certainly deserve whatever plaudits come their way).

The Warriors’ front office doesn’t have a figure like Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, the Wizard of Advanced Metrics Oz, to point to. Warriors general manager Bob Myers has gone about his business without a ton of fanfare. He’s plotting the course properly. The Warriors roster is sound. And they are built not just for a momentary playoff flash this time, but for a sustained period of playoff contention that Warriors fans have not experienced before.

It’s the vision that Warriors owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber have talked about non-stop since taking over the franchise. They have a long-range plan, one that includes being a playoff regular and eventually a contender. When you’re a lottery tea, it’s just fantasy basketball … pipe dreaming, if you will. But when you are a playoff team, the vision is tangible.

“We should enjoy this,” Lacob said after Tuesday’s playoff-clinching win. “We’ve got to celebrate the little moments, too. Every step counts. This is an important first step for this franchise and this ownership group and for all of these guys and the coaches.”

How soon the Warriors take that second step remains to be seen. The playoffs provide all sort of opportunities for upstarts to attempt to “shock the world.”

One thing seems certain, though, and that is the Warriors shouldn’t have to endure another six-year wait between playoff trips.

Warriors Headed Back To San Francisco

HANG TIME PLAYOFF HEADQUARTERS — One of the greatest cities on the planet and one of the greatest fan bases in all of sports moved one step closer to reuniting today with the unveiling of the Golden State Warriors’ plans to move back to San Francisco and into a new arena by 2017, when the team can maneuver out of its lease at Oakland’s Oracle Arena.

The new arena site is near the waterfront in downtown San Francisco on Piers 30-32 close to the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, a picturesque location that will provide some stunning views of the Bay Area. This is the latest effort by Warriors ownership, Joe Lacob and Peter Guber, to breathe new life into the franchise and give their fans hope for the future by diving back into their storied past.

Some of the greatest success the Warriors have experienced came during their time in San Francisco. In the nine seasons they called San Francisco home, from 1962-63 to 1970-71, the Warriors had five winning seasons, made the playoffs five times and went to The Finals twice.

This news didn’t shock the fervent fan base that has stuck with the team through the good and bad of the past 50 years, the last 41 in Oakland. When Lacob and Guber took over in 2010, they made it clear that they had plans to shake things up for an organization that has reached the playoffs just once since 1994, and that included a move back to the City by the Bay.

Not only will the new arena be the Warriors’ new home, they’ll be using private funds to build and complete the $500 million project. And it will bring a state of the art facility to downtown San Francisco when almost every other professional sports team in the area resides outside of the city limits.

“This is more than just a basketball arena,” Lacob said at the news conference attended by the likes of NBA Commissioner David Stern, California’s Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom and Warriors greats Al Attles and Nate Thurmond, among others. “This is a live entertainment arena.”

Said Guber: “We had one mission today; a world-class venue.”

Warriors executive and the NBA logo himself, Jerry West, made sure to mention that he’d seen new arenas built in Los Angeles, twice.  There is an energy and excitement that’s associated with these sorts of projects, he said, one that attracts fans and also players that want to enjoy the latest and greatest facilities the game has to offer.

“If I were a player,” West said, making his best pitch while trying to avoid the wrath of the commissioner, “this would be my resting place if I were a free agent.”

If the final result looks anything like the artist renderings, there will be no need for a hard sell from any Warriors executives. The Warriors will have the most breathtaking venue in the league. And if Lacob and Guber have their way, they’ll also have a team to match up with that venue.

Dodgers Get A Magical Energy Boost

OAKLAND – The news broke a little before halftime Tuesday night as the Lakers played the Warriors in a fitting bit of coincidence: A group that includes Magic Johnson and Golden State part-owner Peter Guber bought the Los Angeles Dodgers for a reported $2.15 billion, a record sales price for a U.S. sports franchise.

Mark R. Walter, CEO of financial-services firm Guggenheim Capital, will be the controlling partner and have the biggest voice, but the biggest names are from the NBA. Johnson, of course, is the former Lakers star and minority owner and current vice president. Gube has the second-largest ownership stake in the Warriors. And there’s also Stan Kasten, the former Hawks executive who more recently was president of the Washington Nationals.

Showing he has a sense of humor to match the bank account, Johnson released a statement that “I am thrilled to be part of the historic Dodger franchise and intend to build on the fantastic foundation laid by Frank McCourt as we drive the Dodgers back to the front page of the sports section in our wonderful community of Los Angeles.”

Johnson probably pulled a hamstring being gracious. He knows the truth: that McCourt dismantled a proud tradition and is historically unpopular in Los Angeles, but this is what Magic does as a beloved figure in town who will reach new heights with this deal. He energizes.


They’re Not Here to Screw Around

OAKLAND – The latest was announcing Tuesday they had purchased control of basketball operations of the NBA Development League team in Bismarck, N.D., which came after they spent $2 million during the draft to acquire the second-round pick that became Jeremy Tyler, which came after foiled attempts to spend $3 million to get an additional first-rounder, which came after all the spending of the previous months. Paying David Lee some $80 million to come, paying Don Nelson another $6 million to stay away, giving up an unknown ownership share to get Jerry West to join the front office, and – oh, yeah – heading the group that paid a league-record $450 million to get the Warriors in the first place.

Joe Lacob and Peter Guber promised a serious financial commitment upon taking control last November, and they have delivered. In a time of economic hardship for many around them, the Warriors have signed huge contracts, fired a high-paid coach with a year left on his contract, handed over a portion of the team to land West, and made a bold strike in the draft. All in less than a year, with the understanding that Lacob and Guber were far enough along in buying the franchise last summer that they probably could have scuttled the Lee sign-and-trade that officially went down on the watch of predecessor Chris Cohan.

Golden State was in such buyer’s mode Thursday that the $2 million sent to the Bobcats for Tyler as the No. 39 pick was actually the fallback. The Warriors, Lacob said, had tried to get another pick in the second half of the first round, likely at the going-rate cost of $3 million, which would have meant a second guaranteed contract after drafting Klay Thompson at 11. Nothing materialized, Lacob told, because potential trade partners wanted players in return, not money.


The Art of the Deal

SAN FRANCISCO – A few days after the transaction had been finalized with the expected approval from the NBA’s Board of Governors, Joe Lacob and Peter Guber were in a hotel suite downtown, discussing what will always be one of their most stunning victories, even if wins start coming in June.

They didn’t just buy the Warriors. They beat Larry Ellison to buy the Warriors.

It is nothing less than one of the great upsets of this or any other season. No exaggeration. Lacob and Guber had deep roots in sports ownership, and Lacob had an NBA tie with a minority stake in the Celtics, and both obviously have major spending power. But Larry Ellison is Larry Ellison. The software tycoon, a Bay Area resident, reportedly spent an estimated $100 million on his America’s Cup victory in February. A month later, Forbes listed him as the sixth-richest person in the world, with a net worth of $28 billion.

Put it this way:

Paul Allen in Portland and Mikhail Prokhorov in New Jersey are the ridiculously wealthy among NBA owners. Ellison is worth more than both combined.

In the end, Lacob and Guber headed the group that delivered the winning bid of $450 million, a record for an NBA franchise, while Ellison put out a statement claiming that he, in fact, made a higher offer. The company that handled the sale for Chris Cohan indicated the Ellison offer came late. Lacob, the managing partner with a venture-capital firm, and Guber, the chairman of Mandalay Entertainment Group, claimed the long-shot victory that became official last week and led them to a round of interviews in the hotel suite with sweeping views.

“We didn’t beat Larry Ellison,” Guber said. “That’s too much of a headline. We didn’t beat Larry Ellison. That’s why they play the game, so to speak. You go in there and do the things you need to do to win, you follow the strategy, you execute a business deal, a transaction at the highest possible level, paying attention to the right details. And then, [stuff] happens. You get fortunate. We’ve been close on a couple of transactions that felt extraordinarily close, right at the wire, both together and individually. This one connected.”


Nellie out in Golden State


Don Nelson entered the NBA in the 1962 as a rookie with the Chicago Zephyrs. Nearly five decades later he departs, according to a flood of stories hitting cyberspace tonight led off by Marc Stein’s report at Nellie is out as Golden State’s coach on the eve of training camp next week.

Trusted assistant Keith Smart is taking over as coach and receiving a multi-year contract, new owner Joe Lacob told Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News. Lacob and Peter Guber bought the Warriors in July, with their ownership expected to be formerly approved sometime in October.

Obviously, they’re already acting as owners and putting their stamp on the franchise. The Warriors have been busy this offseason, with general manager and close Nellie friend Larry Riley rebuilding the roster around Rookie of the Year runner-up Stephen Curry and new power forward David Lee.

Nellie, 70, appeared genuinely excited about the prospects of coaching one last season and finishing out his contract in conversations with this summer. But he was also rational, openly discussing the real possibility of not coming back this season with Riley on several occasions. So, Nellie exits as the league’s all-time leader in wins (1,335-1,063) in 31 memorable years on the job.

And perhaps just as important, at least to Nellie, he’ll collect every penny of the $6 million he’s owed for this season. Never mind the semantics — whether Nellie resigned or was fired or agreed to a buyout — the way this changing of the guard was handled appears to take into account Nellie’s many contributions to the game and Golden State.

He led two resurrections with the Warriors, the first in the 1990s at the height of Run-TMC. The second may been more impressive, as Nellie surfaced again in the Bay Area four years ago after falling out of favor in Dallas. The Warriors made history in 2007 becoming the first eighth seed to beat a top seed in a best-of-7 playoff series. That top seed happened to be the 67-win Mavericks, making the upset that much sweeter for Nellie.

Nellie never won a title as a coach or even reached The Finals, a fact that critics routinely point to when downplaying his contributions to the sport. (He did win five rings as a player with Boston and has his number retired by the Celtics.) Nellie’s departures from previous coaching stops — Milwaukee, Golden State the first time, New York and Dallas — have usually been less-than-ideal and often included litigation. He’s also not in the Hall of Fame.

There’s also a sense he went through the motions at times, focusing more on the next contract than the job at hand. Nellie once told me he didn’t start to make “real money” in this league until the last 10 years of his career and that meant something to a son of an Illinois farmer.

I covered Nellie’s run in Dallas and have followed his escapades since, profiling the three-time Coach of the Year back in April as he stood on the verge of breaking Lenny Wilkins’ record. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, one of Nellie’s many former assistants and still a close friend, once roasted Nellie at a “retirement” party in Dallas in 2005.

Pop wasn’t sure what Nellie would do without the game.

“We all think of him as a lifer. He’s been doing it for so many years. You just wonder what he’s going to do when he’s not doing basketball.”

Nellie has long made his offseason home in Maui, returning each fall for the start of training camp. He liked to joke about leaving paradise to coach. He doesn’t have to leave anymore.


California Love?


HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — For a team that didn’t pile up many wins last season, the Golden State Warriors certainly racked up their share of highlight plays.

When you start with the dynamite backcourt tandem of Monta Ellis and Steph Curry, that should be expected.

But much has changed for this team since we saw them last.

New owners, new uniforms, plenty of new faces and maybe some renewed vigor for a team that has never had to worry about the passion of its immense fan base.

With training camp just days away, we’re still trying to figure out how coach Don Nelson is going to integrate eight new faces — All-Star forward David Lee, Dorrell Wright, Louis Amundson, Rodney Carney, Charlie Bell, Dan Gadzuric and rookies Ekpe Udoh and Jeremy Lin — into the Warriors’ mix.

But Nelson is the league’s resident mad scientist, so if anyone is capable of cooking up something, it should be him. And he’ll be coaching (for as long as the new ownership group will have him) the sort of motley crew that should be easy to show some California love for all those Warriors diehards in the Bay Area.

Whether or not this team will inspire any reaction beyond their home base, however, remains to be seen.


Changes possible in G-State

Posted by Art Garcia

LAS VEGAS — Golden State general manager Larry Riley isn’t worried about his job status or that of coach Don Nelson after Thursday’s announcement of the franchise’s sale. A group led by Joe Lacob and Peter Guber bought the Warriors for a record $450 million from Christopher Cohan.
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Riley expects the evaluation process of the front office to take place soon. Nelson is entering the last year of his contract and the league’s all-time winningest coach has talked about finally retiring after this season.

Nelson could also step aside this summer, but that’s highly unlikely with $6 million left on his contract. He said earlier this week he’s excited about the upcoming season.

“He will now have some decisions to make himself,” Riley said of Nelson. “I had some consultations with him. I don’t know where all that will go, but I think he has energy where he can coach the team.”

It’s a very real possibility Riley and Nelson aren’t retained by the new ownership group. Riley had spent more than 20 years in the NBA and understands the nature of the business.

“Twenty years ago it would have kept me up at night and it would have been on my mind all the time,” he said. “Fortunately for me I’ve been so busy, even since this whole [ownership change] began that I haven’t had time to really deal with it much, so that’s a good thing.

“I think I have enough maturity to understand what you can control and what you can’t, and you better work on the things that you can do something about. And that’s the way I approach it. it really hasn’t kept me up at night. It’s something that the decision will be made one way or the other on a lot of things in the franchise. There won’t be much I can do about it. I will continue to do my job until I’m told otherwise.”

Riley feels good about the direction of the team, adding the moves made this summer leave the Warriors deeper and more experience without getting older. The Warriors completed a sign-and-trade for David Lee, moving the disappointing Anthony Randolph in the deal. The Warriors expect the former New York power forward to anchor the frontline for years to come.

“I don’t know where Anthony Randolph’s career is going, but I know where David Lee is,” Riley said. “That was a bigger basis for making the deal than anything else.”

Golden State also signed Dorell Wright, is high on rookie lottery pick Ekpe Udoh, even though the power forward is out for at least six months. Hard-working gunner Anthony Morrow was lost to New Jersey and Corey Maggette was traded to Milwaukee.

Cohan approved all the moves up to this point, Riley said, with the new ownership group not having input on any of the transactions. The sale is pending league approval.