Every sports fan has thought about a, “what if,” scenario about their team. For the Golden State Warriors, there is a new one to think about.
Former New York Knicks general manager Dave Checketts talked to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News and detailed how All-Star center Patrick Ewing almost ended up joining the Run TMC Dubs in the early 90s.
Ewing had a clause in his contract which stated that he would become a free agent if he wasn’t among the four highest paid players in the league during the 1991-92 season. The big man’s salary was indeed fourth, behind Michael Jordan. Hakeem Olajuwon and John “Hot Rod” Williams.
Chris Mullin was fifth among NBA players in salary, so then Warriors GM Don Nelson and Ewing’s agent David Falk were trying to get Mullin to restructure his deal to move ahead of Ewing, so he would be free to join Golden State, which was his preferred destination at the time.
“Pollak was basically saying, ‘Look, Mullin is from New York, he doesn’t want to cooperate, he doesn’t want to be the reason Ewing gets to leave New York,” Checketts said. “But he’s in this tremendous conflict situation. Because if he makes it happen and you have Mullin, Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond and Patrick Ewing on the Warriors — they’re winning a bunch of titles.”
Checketts added that he threatened to sue the Warriors if they re-did Mullin’s contract. Ultimately, the Dubs brass didn’t sign off on Mullin’s new deal and the Knicks won an arbitration case to keep Ewing in The Big Apple.
Mullin missed 36 games in 1992-93 and the Dubs missed the playoffs, finishing 34-48 and wound up making a draft day deal with the Orlando Magic to get Chris Webber, which didn’t turn out the way Nelson had hoped.
If Ewing came to the Bay Area and joined Mullin, Tim Hardaway and Latrell Spreewell, that team would have challenged to be among the best in the Western Conference. Jordan retired prior to the 1993-94 season, so the window would have been open, although getting past a stacked Houston Rockets team would have been a difficult task.
This one of those, “what if?” moments that would have altered the rest of the decade for the Dubs.
Do you think Ewing would have helped the Warriors win a title if he joined the team in the early 90s?
It surprising former Warriors coach and current NBA analyst Mark Jackson hasn’t found another coaching gig. SNY’s Ian Begley says Jackson is highly regarded by the Knicks and that the former NBA All-Star feels he had a big hand in developing Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.
Green said that him and Curry would have destroyed Shaquille O’Neal in the pick-and-roll. The big fella didn’t take too kindly to his words. Shaq addressed Draymond’s comments on his podcast and thinks he would have lit Green up. (h/t Essentially Sports)
We know the Dubs will have a high pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. We also don’t have a clue what they plan on doing with the pick. CBS Sports’ Kyle Boone and Gary Parrish both have the Warriors taking LaMelo Ball in their recent mock drafts. I think there is a fat chance that this happens.
From around the NBA:
We have heard a lot about where reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo will sign if he goes into free agency in 2021. Bleacher Report looked at the loaded 2021 class and gave some early predictions on where each player could end up.