UPDATE (6:59 pm): A page with the audio clips of the phone conference is now up over at Warriors.com.
As you already know the Golden State Warriors just held a phone conference with season ticket holders and team president Robert Rowell and GM Larry Riley with play-by-play man Bob Fitzgerald moderating. There were 1,000 season ticket holders on the call and as you can imagine not all questions were answered. For instance my critical question wasn't answered even though it was an obvious softball:
I know the new OKC team is named the Thunder, but can the Warriors please bring back Thunder? It's just not the same without him, inflatable Thunder, and mini Thunder! If not, are there plans to bring in a new mascot?
As you can see Rowell really dodged the tough questions.
Just kidding. We appreciate the invitation to the call.
After the jump we've got some rough (repeat: ROUGH) notes from the call.
DISCLAIMER: I guarantee no accuracy in what follows because 1) these notes were taken while the call was going on, 2) I'm a terible typr, and 3) I'm a terrible typer. Still it's the golden web and GSoMers want and expect things fast. I'll update this post with a link to the actual audio file from Warriors.com when available. Until then enjoy these rough notes- that is if you can make any sense of my digital chicken scratch.
Jump for notes from the 1st Warriors Conference Call with Season Ticket Holders-- UNCUT!
Fitz: Warrior fans get info that is "filtered". Get the "best and most accurate information" to Warriors information.
Rowell: Suspension for 3 million dollars- actually total of 6 million to reduce season ticket prices. Reduced pricing by 4 million dollars and ammenties
Most important thing for them is to put together a good atmosphere for players.
Fitz: Youngest team in the league, lots of injuries
Rowell: Focus on product. This team needs to win basketball games. Need to hold players accountable.
Fitz: View around league on Warriors players. What do other GMs think?
Larry RIley: Great deal of interest in players. We like them too. We aren't far from being a good team. We will probably make changes in team. Doesn't see making changes and putting out an unrecognizable
Young players still have growth.
Riley: Thinks crop is weaker than last year, but you just have to get 1 player. He sees that in the #7 pick.
What can you learn in workout?
Riley: Coaches get a chance to see the players.
Can you tell us short of LeBron James you're going to hold onto Anthony Randolph?
RIley: I like him. We don't have plans other than let him grow.
Is Rowell's job in jeopardy?
Rowell: Good question and fair question. 6th season as president. Under as much pressure as anyone else. Commited to making this a winning franchise and organization. In 1998 he took over buisiness of Warriors. 30th in season ticket sales and sponsorship. His focus is to make sure product is in the top 10 in NBA as well. Has to make sure product is good for fans. All of energy and focus should be on court. Pressue- tremendous pressure. More pressure under fans.
What's the goal of the team? Trying to win now?
Riley: Feel like they can be in the playoff hunt with tweak. Winning is what they're interested in now.
Rowell: We have one of the best coaches in the NBA. We want to win and we want to win now. And we want to win to 5 years from now.
Riley: We like MOnta as a PG. It wouldn't hurt to add a PG. We like CJ Watson as well. WIll look into improving it over the summer. Monta is one of the main focuses.
Better team defense.
Riley: Probably a better defensive team than given credit for. Better way to judge is point differential between two teams than points allowed. A great deal more emphasis on D from coaches and players.
Don Nelson retiring soon
Rowell: Focus is on this season to give Don Nelson help this season.
Fitz: Thinks rebounding and FG% defense.
Riley: FG% defense is what it's all about and rebounding quickness. Style of play is something they want to continue with. Exciting play is important, but winning is more important.
Chris Mullin situation- a lot of fans have a bad taste.
Fitz: (angrily) Do you have a question?
Rowell inserting himself in the Baron Davis situation. How much of a role has Rowell had in the basketball decisions?
Rowell: I don't think you should believe everything you read. The facts are a lot different than the misinformation out there. I actually went out on got Mullin. Worked closely with Chris on a lot of contractual decisions. 3.5-4 years been involved in negotiations with agents. Has a degree in business. Has the experience. Doesn't claim to be an expert of basketball. A big basketball fan. When you're sitting across from a lawyer-agent, you need business people.
We're a big man away from next level. Is there a possible way to get a big man via trade or draft?
Riley: Everyone in NBA is in search for a big man. We're looking to make some change. I would like some "beef" around basket. Need strength and power around basket. Our fans know the game as well.
Fitz: Got a lot of length with Biedrins, Turiaf, AR, Wright. Where do you find this guy?
RIley: Looking at guys on other squads and trades. Young guy with beef is good, but a young guy with experience is good.
Warriors BBQ was great. Nice to hear from Warriors more periodically, not just through the media.
Rowell: Beginning of new era. More outreach. This is an introductory press conference. So much speculation out there. Newspaper business in trouble. A lot of people trying to position themselves for next gigs.
Riley: We can't stop media from speculating. Robert and I are willng to have more press conferences with media and talk to fans more.
Fitz: Player agents haven't had agendas like they do now.
Riley: Bottom line. WHen you win a lot of problems aren't problems. When you lose a lot of things get magnified.
What is the future with Jamal Crawford?
Riley: Jamal has been ultimate professional. Will be evaluated like every other player. Won't be shipped off for nothing.
Customer relations- any changes to concessions, so fans can bring their own food?
Rowell: The arena subcontracts with Levvy restaurants and part of the deal. Had a 2 day meeting in Chicago about changing the menus. We've got to be able to charge for food to operate and to get players for Riley. Maybe we need to create more affordable food options.
Why the rush to sign Stephen Jackson?
Rowell: Need to get facts straight. We sat down last summer with the entire basketball staff and everyone was in agreement to extend. At the time of the extension there were 96 players in the NBA who were paid more than him. He's a player our coaches, front office, and basketball people wanted. If they want to move him later, it's a movable contract.
Riley: Stephen Jackson is worth this much. We don't talk specifically about players for them and us.
NBA is about closing games which you need an All-Star caliber guy. What's the plan in having more success in attracting free agents?
Riley: You're astute in noting we don't have a guy who can close games. We want Monta Ellis and Anthony Randolph to grow into those roles. Chris Bosh couldn't do that his rookie year, but he can do that now. If there's a free agent or trade that can do this, we'll go after him.
PG- Arenas, Parker, Brooks, vs. Monta
Riley: Not a whole lot of difference between them. Parker runs the pick and roll a lot better than Monta. Hard to find a John Stockton type guy. You don't need one to be successful.
When Mullin's contract expired, were there other GMs considered besides Riley?
Don Nelson's friend.
Caller said something to the effect of "Don Nelson has never won anything... He ruined team before and he's ruining it again."
-- Seems like caller got cut off --
Rowell: Nelson won a bunch of championships as a player. Don can be a pain. We need someone in this organization who can understand and manage Nellie. Riley's done it for the past 6 years. RIley is an excellent communicator. Bottom line- it's about players.
Riley: I'm being challenged and I understand. What matters is we have to go to work.
How will you guys get season ticket holders more interactive with players? Pics, autographs, hang out, etc.
Rowell: More access planned..
Been going to Warriors games since 1965 and season ticket holder for past 10 years. Last year was the most frustrating. After 45 years, really dissapointed what is our direction?
Riley: Take young players and develop them and add pieces and get into the playoffs.
Playoffs next year isn't realistic. Everyone's top 2 players are better. Hopefully Monta grows. Isn't better to angle for 2 guys?
Riley: I'll go one step further. It isn't 2. It's 3. We're in a position where we need to add a guy and grow. We need to have a go to guy at the end of the game. Very difficult to go from 29 to playoffs, but he's about setting high goals. Next year you'll see more balance in West. If we can get into the range of 40-42, that might do it. With a healthy roster, we're better than the 29 win total. It isn't fool's gold to say let's be one of those teams that gets into the playoffs.
Financial problems for NBA teams. How are the Warriors here?
Rowell: Fiscal health in leu of economy is pretty good. A lot of it is being in the 5th largest market in the country. Closing in on 70% renewal of season tickets. This will rank in the top 12 in league. Our players feed off energy from crowd. Other cities have no one watching. You guys are the best. We need you back. One of things you're going to see is that the salary cap and luxury tax actually go down. Have to be creative through free agency, sign and trades, etc.
Riley: Not automatic to lose close games. It's on us to make changes. We need to play a better brand of basketball on the road- be close to .500.
Trade front. Would you say Warriors are more likely to package youth or more likely to take experience and go young, like OKC did?
Riley: What I'd like to see is be like Boston- get KG and Ray Allen. We have enough young players, getting another young player doesn't get much. Getting as establish veteran and leader is better. No question that economy has gotten ahold of all but 4 or 5 teams in the NBA. A lot of teams will be looking to cut costs.
PG is important. Monta has a 2-guard mentality, not a point guard mentality.
Riley: He does not have a 1-guard mentality. Doesn't run a team. He's going to have to do it a different way. He can't run a pick and roll. Will he there at that Chauncy Billups level? Probably not year. Our passing skills need to improve. We use a lot of people at the point guard, they just aren't called point guards. Better to have a true point guard. We've got to find a different way to do it. We are looking for an established player, but he needs to be a passer. It is likely Don Nelson finishes a game in a smaller lineup. You put the other teams in a bind, also yourselves with rebounding. You have a PF who has to guard a guard. You usually have better free throw shooters, etc.
So m any players with amazing potential, but we have to rebuild year after year and because we don't keep them.
Riley: Morrow and Randolph played big minutes. We want to keep players 2-5 years and build off of them. I fully believe in college seniors of today. Josh Howard taught me that. I have nothing wrong with drafting a senior player. We have had discussions with Monta. Spoke with Monta two days ago to see how Monta feels mentally. He's a guy they want to see develop. If you put Anthony Randolph in this year's draft, he might go #1. He'd be 1 or 2.
Rowell: Randolph averaged 17.9 minutes. More than TMac, Kobe, and Jermaine O'Neal as rookies. Agrees we do need to build on young guys and keep them together.
Accountability. Organization has made playoffs 1 in 15 years. Where is your acountability? Why should fans believe organization will be different? How serious is this organization in going farther than just 1st round?
Rowell: 100% there. We are accountable. Our focus is to create an exciting environment. Over the course of the last decade, I'll put our building against any in the league. Hope you were exciting this past season and saw promise. I'm not happy with 1 in 15 playoff appearances. We barely made it 3 years back. Next year we finished with 9th record- went 10-12 at the end of the season. Part of accountability and management. We have to do a job and win basketball games.
Call finished off with this Fan Poll: This fan poll has been helpful in my decision to renew season tickets.
For some proof that we actually value grammar and complete sentences around these parts see: Warriors Conference Call with Season Ticket Holders: What would you ask Robert Rowell and Larry Riley?
UPDATE (3:04 pm): Loyal GSoMer RayAlmeda also has some notes- far superior to my digital chicken scratch- in the FanPost: Recap of the 2009 Warriors Fan Forum. phiLthyphiL also has a nice transcription in the comments of the announcement piece.
Seriously are we not the biggest bunch of losers for: 1) caring about the Warriors, 2) actually being a season ticket holders of this sorry organization, 3) participating in this call, and 4) actually risking serious carpal tunnel to type out what basically amounted to the status quo company line?
I must say the passion around these parts is quite Unstoppable Baby!