Mike Dunleavy sucked. He was too afraid to do anything in big moments, and somehow his fundamentals brokedown at critical times. He was boo'ed when he was with the Warriors, and deserves the continued ire of the Warriors fans. But what about StackJack, Baron and Big Al? Their arrival immediately turned around 13 terrible seasons. In the past 17 seasons, we've really only had two good seasons, one resulting in the second round elimination to the Jazz, and the other a record for wins without making the playoffs. These guys may have driven us mad with the number of terrible three's taken with less than 8 seconds off the shotclock, but their attitude and energy gave us the identity we sorely needed, and gave the fans something to believe in. Yes, the pun is intended. That movement, despite being highjacked by the Warriors management, was a fan movement that flew in defiance to everything we had witnessed in the Cohan/St. Jean/Twardzic era. The players and the fans teaming up to feed off each other and overthrow a losing culture that had permeated the organization and became league known when Sprewell put his hands around PJ Carlisimo's neck.
Apparently everybody is upset with the way these guys left the organization. Stackjack demanded to be traded, Baron opted out and snuck away to the Clippers, and Al bitched and moaned his way into a trade. All extremely selfish behavior that deserves hostility from the jilted fans.. or does it? Look at Stackjack's situation, he got offered a contract extension and he took it.. but then look at what happened to the organization after he took the contract? Can you blame him for wanting to get the hell out of here? Watching the kinda cost cutting moves that lead to nowhere, and only further distancing yourself from your recent accomplishments, why would he want to stay? Look at the team now. Despite all of the big moves in the offseason, we are still more than one big piece away from relevance. In my opinion, he actually helped the Warriors faithful by shining a bright spotlight on just how terrible and disjointed things had gotten in just two years after the "We Believe" run. The moves that were made weren't in the mold of "we're making a big push to get better", nor were they, "we're blowing it up to rebuild fast and get better". They were all in the style of "our fans show up no matter what, so let's just save as much money as possible".
That leads into the Baron Davis departure. If what we've heard is true, he was offered an extension by Mully, and he was going to sign it. Baron Davis, the savior of the Warriors, the new face of the franchise, the Bay Area Bearded Mascot before Brian Wilson, was going to stay with the Warriors, and have his number 5 hanging next to Tom Meschery. Or maybe all of that would fade, but the fans wouldn't forget the incredible run, and the iconic dunk. But that was ripped away from him by a cheapskate powermonger who thought his years in the Cable industry gave him the chops to run an NBA team. Why try to handle a player's ego when it doesn't show up on the income statement? When you combine that kind of an insult, along with the crazy money that the Clippers were offering, plus the chance to play with his (ex) good friend, there are very few of us that would chose to stay.
As for Al, yeah, the way he left made him seem like a whiny bitch. Faking injury and not playing hard just to get away from Nellie was lame. But you have to admit after watching the way Nellie has broken several players over the decades, and made indefensible moves of starting Kurz (forgot about him didn't you?) over vets really can break players down. Nellie may have been a great strategist, but he never figured out how to manage the egos of his players to keep them playing hard for the team. I was sad to see Al go out the way he did, but I won't forget the way he handled Yao Ming, made some huge threes, or the way he looked like a ninja turtle.
None of these guys ever said "screw you" to the fans. None of these guys were responsible for trading J-Rich, or trading Crawford for nothing, or trading Belinelli for George, or watching trade exceptions expire unused, or trade second round picks for cash that went unused. Remember these guys for the good things they brought us, don't remember them for their struggles against a terrible front office and a bull headed coach who many times seemed to put his ego in front of the team's needs. Stay away from the "what have you done for me lately" mentaility that terrible fanbases like the Lakers have. Let's get this back to a place where we are known for loving our team and being grateful for the good they have brought us.