Warriors

What's next for Warriors' arena?

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What's next for Warriors' arena?

On May 19 Golden State Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob stated: It is going to happen, let there be no doubt, when speaking about the new arena the team is going to privately finance and build in San Francisco on Piers 3032. As the Warriors continue to unveil details on the deal there is a checklist of key points that will tell the tale at the start of the 2017-2018 season.

1.) Debt load and project financing: The partnership led by Lacob and Peter Guber paid 450 million to buy the team. Add on another 600 million of privately financed cash to pay for the arena and you are talking a cool billion. How they make the arena project into a positive cash register will be a tricky financial transaction.

2.) Bond payoff in Oakland: If they move theyll reportedly be on the hook for an estimated 70-95 million relating to the Coliseum arena retrofit. With the As and Raiders' future in Oakland a question, you would think that the city will fight hard to get paid if the Warriors leave town.

3.) Premium seating: It's assumed there will be price escalation in the new arena, but until the number of suites and their prices are revealed its a waiting game. Keep your eyes open for the new arena preview center which will be constructed a few years out to sell premium seats, suites and and season tickets for the new arena.

4.) Naming rights: This is a critical component of any privately financed sports venue. The 49ers have not announced a partner or the price tag for naming rights on their stadium. Industry estimates say they are shopping a deal between 300-400 million over 20 years. This number would help set the market for the Warriors. Pacific Bell (AT&T) paid 50 million to the Giants over 24 years.

5.) Breaking ground and driving piles: For a 2017 opener they will have to start actual arena construction 24-26 months out, which means the summer of 2015.

6.) The San Francisco Board of Supervisors: No matter what mayor Ed Lee says, navigating this project through the Board of Supervisors will be no slam dunk.

7.) The Past is prologue: It took the politically savvy Giants 16 years to realize the dream that became AT&T Park. The new football stadium that's being constructed in Santa Clara was preceded by 13 years of heavy lifting. Piers 3032 have had four previous unsuccessful attempts at development, including the most recent by the city and software billionaire Larry Ellison. The piers were going to be the hub for the events of Americas Cup 2013. The five-year construction timetable set by Warriors ownership is very ambitious.

8.) San Francisco seals: Anytime a construction project touches San Francisco Bay a significant (EIR) Environmental Impact Review process ensues -- especially for one of this magnitude. Dealing with CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) guidelines tends to slow down even the most optimistic developers. The lineup of groups with oversight and input on the project will include:
Save The Bay
S.F. Bay Conservation and Development Commission
Port of San Francisco
California Coastal Commission
Baykeeper
Save the Bay
Bay Planning Coalition
California Dept. of Fish & Game
Bay Institute of San Francisco
San Francisco Board of Supervisors
California Land Commission
Sailors Union of the Pacific
Embarcaderians: any number of community groups that will look to preserve the unique nature of the Embarcadero.

9.) San Francisco Giants: On April 4, the Giants announced a mixed use residential and commercial development on 27 acres at Mission Rock. The Giants and their development partner Cordish will break ground in 2015. Initially it looked like the Giants and the Warriors were going to partner on this land for the new arena.

10.) Warrior fans: No doubt this is one of the most loyal groups in all of sports. The Warriors' season ticket base is one of the healthiest in the NBA. You can make a solid case that outside of New York, L.A., Chicago, Dallas, Miami and San Antonio, the Bay Area is the best market for NBA basketball in the country.

11.) Warrior worriors: Its critical to win when you are marketing a new building, as the 49ers proved last season. The Warriors need to reverse a playoff drought that has left them out of postseason play 17 out of the last 18 years. The next three seasons will be hugely important to the success at the negotiating table for the project to move forward on time.

Over his 40-year career, sports executive Andy Dolich has held positions at the San Francisco 49ers, Oakland A's, Golden State Warriors, Memphis Grizzlies and Philadelphia 76ers. He is the Sports Business Insider for Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.

One thing is pretty clear about these Warriors after 2-2 road trip

One thing is pretty clear about these Warriors after 2-2 road trip

The Warriors are not ready to flip their seek-and-destroy switch. Not yet.

They’re closer to being ready than, say, their longtime rivals in Cleveland, but in going 2-2 on this four-game road trip the Warriors showed they are nowhere near full annihilation mode.

They went into Oklahoma City Wednesday night and, in gulping down a 108-91 loss on national TV, came away looking more vulnerable than they have in any game this season. The 17-point loss was their largest margin of defeat and this was awful close to being a wire-to-wire rout.

The Warriors defense, so splendid during the seven-game win streak they took out of town last week, was inconsistent throughout and downright atrocious by their standards as they concluded the trip.

Their offense, which had begun reducing the turnovers to acceptable levels, came apart like a pair of $3 sneakers.

Even their body language, aside from two well-deserved technical fouls, seemed to mostly vacillate between whispers and a whimpers.

“We didn’t have any focus or concentration,” coach Steve Kerr said. “The ‘millennials’ couldn’t lock in tonight. And their coach couldn’t do much either. Long night for us.”

These were not the Warriors who posted seven consecutive double-digit wins, and they’re certainly not the team that found its competitive blowtorches last April. They weren’t visible in this game, nor were they seen for most of this road trip.

This, ahem, regular-season road trip.

That’s the catch. Last April is when the playoffs got underway, and next April is when the 2018 playoffs begin. The time between now and then is for experimenting, fine-tuning and fighting through the monotonous joys of victory -- a factor on vivid display Wednesday night.

“We played with some decent energy,” Stephen Curry said. “We just didn’t play smart.”

“They completely outplayed us, outcoached us,” Kerr said. “It was just their night. It was absolutely their night. They brought the energy, they brought the juice, they brought the intelligence. And we didn’t bring any of that.”

The Warriors entered the game after studying video and stats that illustrated OKC’s ability to disrupt an offense. The Thunder leads the NBA in steals, deflections and -- this one punches the Warriors in the gut -- forcing turnovers.

The Warriors committed 22 giveaways, leading directly to 34 Thunder points.

“Thirty-four points off turnovers, you can’t win like that,” Draymond Green said.

“I’ve got to do a better job of getting them ready to play,” Kerr said. “We have a pretty loose, fun atmosphere around here. That’s great, but there are certain times where it’s like, ‘All right guys. Let’s throw it to our team. Let’s execute the play. Let’s remember the play.’ ”

Kevin Durant bemoaned the “silly turnovers” that were such a factor in the game, blaming it players rather than Kerr and his staff.

“For the most part he can’t control that type of stuff,” said Durant, whose four turnovers were second to Curry’s team-high six. “We’ve got to be better at keeping the ball in our hands, shooting more shots than our opponents and playing defense.”

Added Green: “We were pretty well-prepared. We just played bad.”

That happens to even the best of teams, a category in which the defending champions fit quite snugly. No team, not even the Chicago Bulls of the maniacally competitive Michael Jordan, is able to bring its best for 82 games a season.

The Warriors blew two 17-point leads, one in second quarter and another in the third, in losing at Boston.

They fell behind by 24 in the third quarter to the 76ers before coming back to win in Philadelphia before recovering the next night to submit their best performance of the trip in routing Brooklyn.

And in OKC, against a Thunder team that would seem to get their full attention, the Warriors were outhustled, outsmarted and played with considerably less fury.

“Right now, we’re just in a little bit of rut, where we’ve got to focus,” Kerr said. “And I know we will. We’ve done this many times in the past and bounced back. And we’ll bounce back. We need to lock in and tighten up everything.”

They will, eventually. It could happen next week, or next month, or after the calendar turns to 2018. They’ll turn it on and become the team of terror, punishing all before them. It might be April, though.

This road game indicated some truth, though, which is there will be games over the next four months in which they will lose the battle with themselves.

Durant addresses scuffles with Westbrook after Warriors' loss: 'That's just ball'

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AP

Durant addresses scuffles with Westbrook after Warriors' loss: 'That's just ball'

As you might expect when Kevin Durant returns to Oklahoma City, things got chippy at several moments Wednesday.

Once during the second quarter and again in the third quarter, Durant and former running mate Russell Westbrook could be seen yapping at each other. During the latter incident, the two literally went nose-to-nose, touching foreheads before being sperated.

After the Warriors' 108-91 loss to the Thunder, Durant was asked about the exchanges.

"Man, that's just ball. That's just ball me. He's competitive, I'm competitive. We like to go at it. Both of us. That's just part of the game, so I respect it. I got nothing but love for him. I'm expecting it again when we play them again. All fun and games to me," Durant told reporters.

Despite what the cameras caught, Durant tried to downplay the level of emotions between the two teams on the court.

"Can't let emotion seep into business. Can't do that. So I think on our end, we were just playing our game. They just played better than us tonight. The emotion around the court, around the arena, around the city I'm sure was a little higher than it was on the court. can't let emotion seep in. Just have to play better than that," Durant said.

When a reporter kept pressing about the incidents between Durant and Westbrook, the Warriors forward pushed back.

"Did you watch the game? Or did you watch for the scuffles? The story is about the game. We lost, they kicked our a**, they played a great. You should give them credit for how they played. We should be better. It's not about who's in each other's faces. That stuff is not real. So please, don't believe it. All the fans, they are lying to you. It's all about basketball. They played a great game. We didn't," Durant retorted.

So how did returning to his former home for the first time this season compare to his first trip back last year?

"It was a little better. Nothing like the first. I'm sure everyone in the arena said what they had to say," Durant said.

The next two times Durant and Westbrook meet up, it will be in Oakland (Feb.6 and Feb. 24). The Warriors don't return to Oklahoma City until April 3, 2018.