Ray Ratto

No mystery in Warriors-S.F. connection


No mystery in Warriors-S.F. connection

On the one hand, Joe Lacob picked a good day to announce he was flirting with moving the Warriors to San Francisco and leaving Oakland. Chris Paul and the Los Angeles Lakers had just been turned into victims by the new arm-twisters who run the NBA, so the nation wasnt paying a lot of attention to the petty concerns of one of its lesser noticed franchises.

But we noticed anyway, and there really isnt a good time to tell people who already feel like all their favorite amusements are looking to beat feet out of town. This was always part of Lacobs plan when he bought the team, and there was not going to be a good time to drop the news.

In short, Chris Paul couldnt provide enough cover. Now maybe if the Warriors had somehow cheated the laws of logic and physics and traded for Paul, he could have, but as it is . . .

Thus far, Lacob has not given the impression that he is long on patience, or that he can masterfully navigate the shifting winds of public relations. He has good days and bad days like all public figures, but his fan base is the East Bay, and the East Bay is probably going to lose the As and has no idea about whether it might lose the Raiders as well.

Then he throws this one into the wind -- announcing that he has been talking with Giants front man Larry Baer about the possibility of an arena near the baseball teams little business park that wouldnt be built until 2018 at the earliest. He just gave his East Bay fans, who are already on edge about having one of the games most nationally invisible franchises for most of the past 15-plus years, more reason to worry.

Of course this has always been the master plan. Lacob is a West Bay guy, he bought the team with a covetous eye toward San Francisco, and the idea of land by the bay never fails to put a glint in a wealthy mans eye.

But a fan base that has been nothing but faithful in the face of such remorselessly bad entertainment isnt interested in what puts a spring in Joe Lacobs step. He is trading in all his remaining good will on two huge gambles, and if he is wrong on either, he will learn what Chris Cohan learned the public eye isnt always flattering.

The first gamble is that the Warriors will win, and soon. The longer it takes for the franchise to be torn down and rebuilt, the less patience will be expended on his behalf. This is why the teams history matters seven playoff appearance in 36 years, and one in 17, add up no matter who has the corner office.

The second is that Larry Ellison, the Oracle billionaire whom Cohan played into driving the price up on his franchise, may view the Warriors interest in San Francisco as the opening required to buy say, New Orleans, just to name a distressed franchise and move it to San Jose.

This has been a popular stalking horse for awhile now, the Ellison card, but it has its flaws. The league may be interested in protecting Lacobs investment by not putting a team 40 miles to the south, and more to the point, the new nastier NBA owners may be reluctant to have a new big spender in their midst.

And even if they do like Ellison, whats to say he wouldnt prefer buying the Lakers from the ailing Jerry Buss? The new owner power base has made it clear that the Lakers are now a target for their jealousies and incompetences, and the family might be interested in cashing out for the right exorbitant price. I mean, if your choices are the Kings or the Lakers, what would you do?

In short, this is like everything else a far more complicated process than it seems. But Lacob has decided to show a face card before the flop. The question whether he is paired, or bluffing, or whether he figured that since everyone knows he wants to be in San Francisco anyway, he may as well wait for the NBA to do something big enough to make his announcement seem small.

So no, there wouldnt be a good time for Joe Lacob to drop this little bomb on The Chronicles Rusty Simmons. And this is a long way from getting done, given what we know about the City and County of San Francisco. But it is an interesting new twist in the story of the Warriors, The Team That -- for the past 17 years at least -- Has Known How To Make Sure The Last Guy Got Blamed For Not Getting Anything Done.

Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com.

Celtics are the rivals Warriors fans need

Celtics are the rivals Warriors fans need

You don’t think you needed this game to go this way, but you did, and you do.

The Golden State Warriors spat out a 17-point lead and lost, 92-88, in Boston Thursday night, in a game that was taut if not particularly elegant, and in a game that elevated the Celtics to a place that makes them the new heir apparent to the heir apparent.

The Celtics have been a difficult out for the Warriors during the Brad Stevens Era, losing six of nine but only being blown out twice, and Thursday was not one of those nights. The box score will tell you the shooting and rebounding problems, but the Warriors had that lead and didn’t hold it. Or, to be accurate, the Celtics had that deficit and refused to let it destroy them.

Which is exactly the kind of team you, the fully licensed Warrior fan, want to watch play your team in the NBA Finals. You want to see them genuinely challenged, forced to win outside their comfort zone, induced to show their greatness in the highest of high leverage situations.

At least we think that’s what you want. Maybe you prefer blowouts so you can drink and go to the bathroom without care or fear. After all, the Warriors have taught the area the true meaning of front-running by being in front so often.

But the Celtics play a level of defense typically reserved for the San Antonio Spurs, and yes, the Warriors. They have a spiky exoskeleton that the acquisition of Kyrie Irving has actually enhanced, and Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum give them a gifted precocity that fits well with veterans like Al Horford and Marcus Morris, and Boston’s overall youth (they are fifth youngest, while Golden State is third-oldest) ought to make them a more difficult conundrum than Cleveland or any other team in either conference.

They are not yet the superior team; that remains to be proven, and betting against the Warriors requires a level of irrational bravery left only for the truly self-destructive.

But they are, as we sit this evening, the team the Warriors will have to work hardest to finish, because on a night when they had the chance to do so, they didn’t. In other words, the fight for a third ring still goes through Oakland, but it looks more and more like a one-stop through Boston.

And as much as you may hate thinking about it, you’ll almost certainly remember, and savor, a Celtics-Warriors final more than another round of Cavs-on-the-half-shell.

Three reasons Draymond Green is the perfect college professor


Three reasons Draymond Green is the perfect college professor

Programming note: Warriors-Celtics coverage starts today at 4 p.m. on NBC Sports Bay Area and streaming live right here 

Draymond Green spoke to a group of students at Harvard Thursday on the subject of leadership, and if you find that incongruous, shame on you.
I mean, who else would you want as a college professor?
Green has led, and been led. He has learned, and he has taught. He has certainly lectured, as any teammate, official and media member will testify. He’d be a hell of a teacher, and the subject almost doesn’t matter.
For one, homework would be different, as in I’d bet there would be no written work. I don’t see Prof. Day-Day poring over essays about the Industrial Revolution, M-theory or pre-Raphaelite art. Not even the history of Basketball-Reference.com.

For two, having tenured faculty audit his classes may find his choice of rhetoric a little strident, as in “What the ---- were you thinking, dude?” is not typically approved instructional methodology.
And three, nobody would get a grade. Green would mark every exam with a “35,” as in his draft position, and besides, the exams would be students arguing with each other over whether that was a foul or a no-call, and who pulled the better face when the call was made. He’d give either an approving nod or give the loser a second technical foul and kick him or her out of class.
But it would be a hell of a class. Not at Harvard, of course, because Green probably would want to teach a school that could better use his brand of wisdom, and Harvard kids already have a healthy lead off third base. He’d want his students to make Harvard students cry, you can just tell.
But wouldn’t he look perfectly Draymond in a cap and gown on graduation day, pulling a bottle out of his sleeve to make the valedictory speeches less painful. “Damn, dude,” you could hear him yell. “Peaking?”