Hopefully we won't see anymore of this
When Chris Mullin took over Warriors' personnel decisions in 2004, I wasn't sure what to expect. All I knew was that he was a great player for the Warriors and had many strong ties to the Bay Area. But none of that meant he was going to be a great or even good GM. I was skeptical and he made a few blunders in the beginning, but now it's looking more and more like he's going to be one of the better GM's in the league (with a little help of course).
He's made a lot of changes to this team and now he can really call it his own. With Adonal Foyle and Jason Richardson unloaded this offseason and Mike Dunleavy Jr and Troy Murphy traded during the season, Garry St. Jean's influence on the team is officially over. Chris Mullin has now replaced all of the players who were on the team before he got there with his players. The Warriors' longest tenured player currently on the roster is Mullin's first draft pick, Andris Biedrins who has been on the team all of 3 years.
Say goodbye to Garry St. Jean regime and say hello to CME, the Chris Mullin Era. More thoughts after the jump.
Learning From His Mistakes
I didn't expect Mullin to make all the right moves, after all he didn't have any experience in his current role. But I have liked watching his progress as a GM. The mistakes he made in the past are not repeated. For instance, the old Mullin re-signed Murphy, Dunleavy, and Foyle to ridiculous contracts and basically outbid himself. He could have let the market dictate the price instead of their agents. Those were 3 of the worst contracts in the league at the time. So what does he do now with two more valuable pieces, Pietrus and Barnes, to re-sign? He lets the market dictate the value. He let Barnes test the waters and saw Barnes come back cheaper than many might have predicted. Pietrus still hasn't signed with a team and I'm glad to see Mullin holding firm on what he believes MP2's value is. He's not going to make the same mistake of overpaying for his own players.
Hey that guy we just signed for $45mil, we need to get rid of him
Admitting He Was Wrong
A lot of GM's might hold onto players they believed in a year or two ago, but are not performing up to par. Chris Mullin has shown his ability to let go of his emotional ties and more importantly, let go of his pride and admit he was wrong on some players. No GM is going to be right on every player he acquires. The good GM's realize this underperforming players and can get rid of them at a fair price. In Mullin's case, he was wrong about Dunleavy and Murphy. He signed them to big deals and they clearly underperformed. So instead of forcing them into playing time so that they could put up numbers to justify their contracts, Mullin unloaded them on an unsuspecting victim. He was also wrong about Ike Diogu and Patrick O'Bryant. He's shown no hesitation in banishing guys if they deserve it. Ike couldn't play in Nellie's system and POB just can't play in any system, so he admits he made a mistake in drafting them and boom, they're gone. To me, POB is all but gone even though it's not official.
So I lied about Monty coaching the team next season...
And one of the most important admits of mistake came when he fired Mike Montgomery and hired Don Nelson to be coach. Just a couple months before he fired Monty, Mullin reaffirmed his belief in Monty by saying that Monty was going to continue to be the coach into next season. Uh uh. Didn't happen because Mullin evaluated the situation, knew Monty was not the right man for the job. Glad to see Mullin able to admit he was wrong and get rid of the players and coaches he once thought were valuable, but have turned out otherwise.
Making a Splash
Mullin doesn't seem to like minor deals. He's got to always be involved in big deals every year to make a big splash. He wants people to know the Warriors are here and willing to deal big name players. He traded for Baron Davis giving up some salary cap space and Speedy Claxton. Baron breathed new life into the franchise when he arrived at the end of '04-'05 season. The next year, the Ron Artest rumors were flying, but Mullin wasn't willing to part with Ike Diogu. We were this close to a Baron, JRich, Artest trio. Rewind to January '07 and Mullin again is involved in rumors all over the place. To top it all off, he makes one of the biggest trades in the league which helps catapult the Warriors into the playoffs. And we all know what happened after. But a GM's job is never done. Throughout the offseason, he had all of us at GSoM and the rest of Warrior Nation on the edge of our seats with the latest Kevin Garnett news. It's once again fun to be a Warrior fan during the trade deadline. Mullin may or may not actually pull off a blockbuster trade but he'll definitely stick his nose in there and get us fans excited about the possibilities of acquiring another big name player.
What does the future hold?
I'm looking forward to the Warriors' future in Mullin's hands. He's able to take emotion out of the process as he traded one of his favorite players, JRich, for what might have been KG and for what he feels will help this ballclub. He's had up and down drafts but if Marco Belinelli turns out to be something special Mullin will look like a genius. I think a lot of people will say that most of the moves this year were because of Nellie, not Mullin. I can't say I know one way or the other, but I do know that both of them had significant influence on the process. If Mullin can continue to learn from the mistakes and successes he's had, I have no doubt he'll continue to make good moves and lead this franchise towards the promised land. Expect him to continue to keep us Warrior fans excited with wild rumors flying about. And lastly, plan on Mullin being with the team for awhile, he'll continue to push this franchise back to respectability.
Is Mullin the right man for the job? How long do you think he'll be around?