Headline NBA Teams Sports Business

A Bright Moment For The Golden State

Amidst all the news about Lebron’s “decision” and the dream-team being created in Miami, another organization 2,500 miles away is attempting to finally breathe life into their club that once, long ago, had 6 playoff appearances and 1 championship in 7 years – the Golden State Warriors.

At the forefront of this impetus is current Boston Celtics part owner and partner at the private equity fund KPCB, Joseph Lacob.  Lacob, now the primary owner of the Golden State W’s, shelled out a record-breaking $450 million to purchase the team on July 15.  He must have been in a Golden State of mind with concurring pockets.  Lacob’s partner in crime (if you liken spending that much money on the team that holds the NBA’s second worst record for the past 15 years to a felony) will be Mandalay Entertainment’s Chairman and CEO, Peter Guber.  Guber has been in the entertainment industry for over 30 years, producing films such as Batman, The Color Purple, and Rain Man.  Hopefully, the new owners of the Bay Area’s finest can stop the horror flick that fans have had to watch for the past few decades at Oracle Arena.

Previous owner, Christopher J. Cohan, compiled a whopping 2 winning seasons and 1 trip to the playoffs since he assumed ownership in 1995.  Seems like not such a tough act to follow.  But with the Raiders’ horrendous performances and the A’s lack of a World Series appearance in 20 years, the pressure is mounting for somebody, anybody, to be the savior of Oakland sports.  Perhaps it could be the Warriors.  The W’s need some W’s.

The new ownership of the Warriors is a giant step in the right direction for the organization as a whole.  Although Lacob was only part-owner of the Celtics, and it is not clear exactly how much he influenced the team’s operations, Boston is a club that has given a lot of control to their head coach, Doc Rivers.  Golden State’s Don Nelson, the second winningest coach in NBA history, seems to have been denied such privileges during his tenure at Golden State.  Just before the sale of the team, there was a deal on the table to send Monta Ellis to Memphis for O.J. Mayo and Hasheem Thabeet.  Apparently, Nelson wasn’t even consulted, and the trade did not happen, even though a source claims the head coach would have urged for that deal “in a heartbeat.”  Perhaps if he stays, Nelson can regain more control over the roster and improve his 103-143 record from his past 3 seasons with the team.

Additionally, Peter Guber could immensely aid the marketing and recognition of the team with his creativity and business acumen.  If anything, the flashy big-screen introductions and light shows courtesy of Mandalay will actually give fans a reason to show up to the games (which now have reduced ticket prices for the upcoming 2010-2011 season).

It also seems to be a good sign that new majority owner Lacob has received a lot from the State of California, earning his bachelors degree at U of Cal at Irvine, his Masters degree at UCLA, and his M.B.A. at Stanford.  Perhaps he will give back and invest a little more into a community that he has grown up in and seen struggle athletically in the past.

With a sharp shooting guard in Stephan Curry and newly acquired threats Dorell Wright and David Lee (who was one of only three players to average 20 points and 10 boards a game last year), the Warriors seem to be moving a direction opposite from which they came – up.  Dare to dream Oakland natives, that the Larry O’Brien trophy will reside once again next year in the great state of California, but not in Los Angeles.