Ellis trade a big-time gamble for Warriors


Ellis trade a big-time gamble for Warriors

The only escape for the Warriors from the hellish trap of the last ... oh, lets just say five years and be generous about it ... was to blow up the roster and get down to scratch.

Well, boom.


Monta Ellis is gone, and so is Ekpe Udoh and the rumor of Kwame Brown, to Milwaukee for Andrew Bogut and his occasionally cranky body, and the old warhorse Stephen Jackson.

In other words, Jerry Wests interest in tearing it down to the studs and starting again and Joe Lacobs interest in making a trade splash superseded Lacobs chimerical playoff promise. The Warriors parted with their best trade chip and their most promising young big man for Bogut, a top six-center who has missed all but 12 games this season with a broken ankle.

In other words, this is a short-term disaster for the Warriors, whose only real hope now is to dump the season as elegantly as possible, including convincing Stephen Curry that his ankle needs more time and care than playing will allow.

Long-term ... well, long-term thinking has not been a Warrior long suit historically, so this trade at least has some intriguing ramifications.

It also breaks with Warrior tradition of absurdly overvaluing its own flawed players by including them in trade concepts with other teams truly elite players (see Howard, Dwight).

And finally, it is an acknowledgement that the Warriors were in the same cul-de-sac theyve been driving in since the mid-'90s -- trying to replace playoff contention with points, more against than for. And that something drastic needed to be done.

This is drastic. This is undoing this rebuild to start a new one. This is West finally winning the day from the stasis that has crushed this franchise time and again.

The problem, of course, is that if a Bogut-Curry-centric team isnt the answer either, were doing this again in two more years, perpetuating the laughable cycle of Were on the verge that has made them one of the sports least relevant teams.

Truth be told, the Warriors have actually been good at saying, This isnt working, but they have been exceedingly poor at showing the back end of that sentence, but this new thing were doing will.

And therein lies the grinding noise in fans heads. They suspected this was not a playoff team, and their trade speculations and dreams did not have a short-term surrender as part of the plan. To them, Ellis and Udoh got traded for Jackson, which in the short term is exactly what happened.

They will not be happy. They will fill the Coliseum Friday night to see the Bucks, and they will rage in their love for the departed Ellis and Udoh against their own management. Lacob is about to learn what the backhand of the honeymoon feels like, and for the amount of money he and Peter Guber spent to buy this team, the wounds will not heal soon.

Indeed, if they are the wounds the Warriors typically inflict upon themselves, they will not heal, Lacob will find out what Chris Cohan learned -- that owners have a short leash around here, and the more they talk without delivering, the shorter the leash is, and the harder it will be tugged. Cohan handled it by becoming a hologram, never seen, never heard but much vilified.

If Lacob is ready for that, and if Bogut turns out to be the Warrior the Warriors have always needed, Lacob will be able to fire off a series of bilious I told you sos at the people who are savaging him now.

But if not, well, owning the Warriors is a long and lonely thing. Six playoff appearances in 35 years takes its toll; one in 18 does, too. And someone will have to pay for this -- and pay hard.

It will either be us, for being so wrong about a bold and energizing move, or Lacob for blowing up the franchise to no good end again. It is measuring the dull gray known against the potentially exciting but very scary unknown, and the only thing at risk is Lacobs ability to sit at courtside and enjoy his basketball team.

Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com.

Cowboys expose 49ers' biggest weakness in bashing: Talent


Cowboys expose 49ers' biggest weakness in bashing: Talent

If there is such a thing as being “due” in sports (and there actually isn’t, so you can probably stop reading now), the San Francisco 49ers had Sunday coming to them.
After all, the anomaly of being the “best winless team in football” based on margin of defeat lasts only so long until the “winless” part trumps the “best” part, because even the Los Angeles Chargers – the previous “best bad team in football” – aren’t the Chargers all the time.
So it was that the Dallas Cowboys exposed every weakness the 49ers have with the simplest thing there is.
The Cowboys did everything they wanted, but only whenever they wanted it, in a 40-10 dope-slapping that could actually have been worse than it was. The 49er offense was properly stymied (again), gaining only 290 yards (4.5 yards per play) and the defense was thoroughly Elliotted (as in Ezekiel-ed, who averaged 8.1 yards in his 27 touches). San Francisco’s warts were rubbed until they glowed, and if not for the fact that head coach Kyle Shanahan already knew where they were, he’d have been shocked to see how visible they were.
And therein lies the takeaway from another day at Not-So-Great-America. It turns out that the 49ers weren’t very good at much of anything before Sunday except just how far away they are from what Shanahan and general manager John Lynch believe is their destiny. C.J.  Beathard remained the rookie quarterback he is, and Carlos Hyde's hard-won 68 rushing yards led to no scores. Indeed, San Francisco's only touchdown came on a four-yard improv sprint from Beathard, who is by no means a running quarterback except in abject flight.

Next week in Philadelphia figures to be no less grisly, if you’re waiting for that magic moment when “0” becomes “1.” That is, of course, unless Washington exposes the Eagles as less than what they seem, which is very often the case in the new parity-gripped NFL.

But there are subsequent get-well games at home against Arizona and then at New York against the Giants the week after, so whatever dreams you might have about them running the table backwards and getting the first overall pick in the draft are still light years from realization.
This is, however, another healthy reminder that the job to be done is at least two more years in the undoing before the doing can actually begin. Not that the players or coaches needed another lesson, mind you – they know.
But maybe you needed it, just to keep your delusions in check. Maybe the people who were “due” were all of you.
But that’s unfair, too. You didn’t undo this franchise. All you did was believe, and there’s nothing wrong with that – as long you know there will be more days like this before your team starts handing out the 40-10’s.
In the meantime, there is beer.

Three things you need to know from 49ers' 40-10 loss vs Cowboys


Three things you need to know from 49ers' 40-10 loss vs Cowboys

SANTA CLARA -- Three things you need to know about the 49ers’ 40-10 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 7 on Sunday:

1. A major step backward
So much for the 49ers’ somewhat-impressive streak of close losses.

There was nothing encouraging about what transpired in the 49ers' worst loss at Levi’s Stadium. It was also the franchise's worst home loss since Mike Singletary's team absorbed a 45-10 thumping against the Atlanta Falcons on Oct. 11, 2009.

Was there anything positive to take from this game?

“No, not right now,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “It was disappointing. I think all three phases, players and coaches, we’ve got to play better than that, a lot better to give ourselves a chance to win.”

The competitive nature of the 49ers’ past five games was one thing. But with a big home loss on such an emotional day, it is fair to say that the honeymoon is over for Shanahan and general manager John Lynch. The 49ers looked like a team devoid of any leadership, and brings more scrutiny onto the organization’s decision last week to release linebacker NaVorro Bowman.

Now, the 49ers face a crossroads. With another cross-country trip ahead, the 49ers have to regroup in a hurry in order to avoid another embarrassing blowout against the Philadelphia Eagles.

2. Beathard’s first start
Rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard certainly was not the reason the 49ers got blown out. In his first NFL start, he showed a lot of toughness, which was to be expected. He was sacked five times. But most of those sacks could have been avoided. He has to get rid of the ball quicker, especially on three-step drops.

Beathard also showed some promise, too. He let the ball fly deep for Marquise Goodwin, who caught four passes for 80 yards. Beathard completed 22 of 38 passes for 235 yards.

Beathard accounted for the 49ers’ only touchdown with a 4-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. There seems to be little doubt it was in the best interest of the organization to begin evaluating what it has for the future with the permanent switch from Brian Hoyer to Beathard.

3. Dwight Clark’s Day
The 49ers, of course, did nothing to evoke any memories of the great teams on which Dwight Clark played. Well, they did look a lot like Clark’s first team with the 49ers.

The 49ers of 1979 lost their first seven games of the season. This year’s team matched that start for the worst beginning to a season in franchise history.

More than 35 of Clark’s teammates off the 1981 Super Bowl team were in attendance to honor a pay tribute to Clark, who is battling ALS. Now in a wheelchair and considerably lighter, Clark delivered some poignant remarks at halftime.

Clark, 60, told his old teammate, Keena Turner, who works as vice president of football affairs, that all he wanted was to see some of his old teammates.

“And the 49ers heard that and flew all these players in, so I could see them one more time,” Clark said.