Some old school Golden State Warrior fans will be disappointed that the franchise severed its relationship with Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Chris Mullin.
The 'C' from the Warriors' glory days of Run TMC was a fan favorite when he played and was equally popular as an exec, having cobbled together the first playoff team the Bay Area had seen in the NBA since shortly after those very same Run TMC days (1993-1994 season).
His fingerprints were all over the famous No. 8 seed that upset the Dallas Mavericks, a team that had steamrolled through the regular season on its way to the No. 1 seed in the West.
Mullin deserves much of the credit for bringing in coach Don Nelson and players like Baron Davis, Stephen Jackson, Matt Barnes, and drafting Monta Ellis as well as Andris Biedrins.
All of the above were key figures in both securing the playoff appearance and the subsequent coup d' etat.
The Warriors followed up the 2006-2007 trip to the playoffs and shocking dismantling of the Mavs by contending down to the wire in '07-'08. Golden State came agonizingly close before being eliminated and becoming the winningest team in NBA history (at 48-34) to miss the postseason.
Then, all the good cheer and warm fuzzies began to unravel. Or maybe it started before then and only became public following the deafening thud to end '07-'08.
Regardless, Davis' contract was up and Warrior owner, Chris Cohan, decided to let BD walk—apparently following Team President Robert Rowell's advice and overruling Mullin in the process.
Legend has it Mullin and Davis were a few penstrokes away from an extension before Rowell stepped in with the veto.
Strike two followed shortly after Ellis wrecked his ankle (and any claims to street cred) while riding a moped. Cohan, again acting on the advice of Rowell and against that of Mullin, opted to publicly reprimand and suspend-without-pay the young Warrior up-and-comer.
Then, in November of 2008, Rowell (presumably acting with the blessing of Cohan) fired Mullin's friend and right-hand man, Pete D'Alessandro, while replacing him with Larry Riley.
Incidentally, Riley will be the man now replacing Mullin.
In the wake of all this, one thing is perfectly clear: Mullin should be walking on air to be free of the rudderless shipwreck known as the Golden State Warriors. He's much better off being rid of this confounding mess.
MUCH better off...I cannot emphasize that enough.
See, Mullin was specifically groomed and selected for the job of returning the Warriors to their former glory. Specifically, he was groomed and selected by Chris Cohan.
Yet, after assembling a team that made the playoffs for the first time in over a decade and then missing the postseason due to historic bad luck the next year, Mullin is gone.
Forget about '08-'09—Mullin had essentially stepped down after the Ellis spat, and certainly after his buddy was fired.
But now it's official. The former Warrior star got the boot, shunned by the very man who tabbed him for the job he was successfully performing.
And how about this little tidbit from the News-That-Should-Surprise-No-One Department: Guess how long Cohan has owned the Golden State Warriors?
Yep, you guessed it—since the 1993-1994 season ended. In other words, the Warriors' playoff drought that Mullin's team ended coincided exactly with the ownership of Chris Cohan.
Okay, maybe not exactly since he was a minority owner prior to becoming sole owner in '94. But you get the idea.
The Cohan-owned Warriors have gone to the postseason exactly once, thanks in large part to a man brought in for that very purpose—A man who is now unemployed (not for long).
The natural question would be, "why," except any Warrior fan knows the futility of asking such things about Chris Cohan's decision. To ask such would be to assume a reasonable answer exists.
Whatever caused the rift—be it ego, self-conceit, self-importance, or pride (I'm aware those are all the same)—knowing will not soothe us fans.
There is no acceptable reason to bring in a guy, prep him for a job, give him the job, watch him do the job successfully, and then basically run him out a year later.
Let me modify that: There is no acceptable reason if none has been given yet.
Hey, if Mullin was shooting up on the job or sleeping with Cohan's wife, it would be insane NOT to fire him (or let his contract lapse, which is what happened). Of course, it would be equally insane to let him walk for such reasons and then keep those reasons private.
At least someone like Cohan would think so.
Nope, if Mullin were up to something sinister, we'd know about it already.
Cohan is a guy who sued his business partners to get the team as well as his own best man in an unrelated matter. He's not above slashing and burning in the public record.
What's worse is Cohan is hardly a rarity amongst owners. On the contrary, people like him are abundant in the sports world.
Daniel Snyder jumps to mind. As does Jerry Jones, Peter Magowan, George Steinbrenner, and the freakin' Yorks. Sometimes, they're successful in spite of themselves. Usually, they fail.
They acquire the team for the glorification of their already massive egos and then run it into the ground trying to do just that. They micromanage, mismanage, and meddle in an effort to land in the spotlight of success along with their players and coaches.
All in an effort to prove Mr./Mrs. Moneybags knows best. Except he/she almost never does.
And Cohan is amongst the worst of these offenders.
I, for one, am an old school Golden State Warrior fan who is ecstatic Chris Mullin has been set free. I remember him fondly from those days alongside Tim Hardaway and Mitch Richmond.
He's always been one of my favorites—His jersey number still figures prominently in my ATM PIN code.
Mullin deserves better than Cohan. Much better.
And now he's got a chance to find those greener pastures.