We recently mic'ed up Marcus Thompson of the Contra Costa Times/ InsideBayArea.com to get his thoughts on the Golden State Warriors.
Click and roll to MT's Dubs blog
Jump for some positives about the Warriors season, who will be the next players the team ships out, and Robert Rowell's future in making Warriors hoops decisions.
Golden State of Mind: We're in the midst of some seemingly endless "Dubs Drama" (again). Let's hit the pause button on the dysfunction for a second though. You cover the Warriors extremely closely, so you're the best person to ask this. What are some of the bright spots for this organization either on or off the court that aren't getting enough ink across the hoops world?
Marcus Thompson: The bright spots are obvious: Monta Ellis, Anthony Morrow, Anthony Randolph, Stephen Curry and I will even throw Kelenna Azubuike in there.
The brightest is no doubt Monta Ellis. Say what you want about him, the kid is showing he is special. He hasn't done anything yet. But the prospects look good. He will benefit the Warriors extremely down the road, whether as a player or as trade bait.
Morrow is right behind Ellis. He may not have the superstar power Ellis has, but Morrow at the very least could be just a solid starter for years to come. That is nothing to sneeze at.
Randolph, though he is up and down, I think is still promising. His fate may be more in the hands of his coaches, who have to figure out a way to help him progress. But that is what organizations have to do sometimes. Sure, the onus is on the player. But he didn't invest in himself, the Warriors invested in him. It is on them to do everything they can to maximize that investment. Because if Randolph turns out to be a bust, it's the franchise's fault for drafting him.
The cap flexibility is also pretty good. As it is now, they have the flexibility to add a big contract for a player they really want. The chance is there to really get someone good. If they don't take advantage, that is on them.
Golden State of Mind: Within his first few months on the job as the GM of the Warriors Larry Riley has already given the roster a shake-up. Jamal Crawford, Marco Belinelli, and recently Stephen Jackson have all been shipped out. This still isn't a contender to say the least, so more moves seem likely. Considering the big money deals still on the books, expiring contracts, young and raw talent, and lingering in-house drama, who do you think will be the next player(s) headed out? Does Monta Ellis "got next"?
Marcus Thompson: Ideally, it would be Corey Maggette. They aren't getting the bang for his buck, and he certainly would like to play more. But everyone knows it's tough to trade his contract. With that said, I think it has to be either Monta Ellis or Andris Biedrins. I don't see how they can land a difference maker without giving up one of those two. Those are the two big money guys, so if the Warriors want to give someone $15 a year, they will probably need to move one of those two (unless they can get rid of Maggette's contract). But mainly, those two guys I think are the only commodities the Warriors have that will make another team give up a stud.
If you're Phoenix, who would you want in return for Stoudemire? If you're Toronto, who would you want in exchange for Bosh? Sure, they want young talent, but for the money the Warriors will have to shell out, young talent won't be enough. Maybe if they decided to package Curry and Randolph with Maggette, they might get another team to bite. But I really don't think they'd do that.
Curry and Randolph are among the untouchables currently, but I wouldn't be surprise if their status changed between February and August. Especially in the case of Randolph, the Warriors may be more willing to include him in a deal down the line than they are right now.
Golden State of Mind: Golden State Warriors president Robert Rowell has had his fair share of critics for personally inking Stephen Jackson to that questionable early 3 year extension, among other recent front office decisions. With Larry Riley and Don Nelson firmly entrenched as the Warriors GM head coach is this the last we'll see Rowell making basketball decisions such as negotiating player deals and extensions? How safe is his job with the Warriors?
Marcus Thompson: I think it's the last he'll be taking or given credit publicly. There was a time when the Warriors wanted his name mentioned for the good things the Warriors did. Of course, with that comes your name being mentioned when bad things happen.
I think everyone in the organization, even Rowell, realizes that he needs to either become the GM or let the GM run the show. I don't think that means he is out of the loop on decision making, though. In the end, he's still got to approve all financial moves, and sell them to owner Chris Cohan. So he's in the room, and at the very least in the loop. But Riley will get all the credit and the blame when it comes to basketball decisions.
Stay tuned for the rest of our Q&A with Marcus! In the mean time make sure to check out Inside the Warriors