Warriors ready for wedding day at brand new Chase Center vs. Lakers


Warriors ready for wedding day at brand new Chase Center vs. Lakers

SAN FRANCISCO – With machines blocking the hallways, tape on the walls and organized chaos behind the scenes this week, it’s apparent that all previous events at Chase Center, the tours and concerts and the wrestling, were mere rehearsals for the wedding at 5 p.m. Saturday.

It’s a preseason game, but that’s when the Warriors, less than four months after breaking up with one city, will jog out of their locker room to marry another. Chase Center officially goes from vision to reality and becomes the official home of the Warriors.

The occasion will be, for many, a celebration for the completion of a project years in the making. San Francisco should be civically proud of its first full-size indoor showplace.

But let’s remember, this is a change of address for purposes of business. The owners of the franchise fantasized of a new home, spent years shopping, finally acquired it and now are committed to paying for it.

Though there was melancholy in watching the Warriors leave Oakland – shortly after reaching their collective peak, to intensify the burn – this is neither The Town’s loss nor The City’s win. The Warriors, after all, never once committed during their 48 years in the East Bay.

They never truly belonged to Oakland, and not one day passed without a reminder in the form of the “Golden State” moniker. They changed logos. They went through dozens of jersey combinations, none of which featured “Oakland” across the chest. The Warriors always were spiritually unsettled. They accepted Oakland as a convenient “home” largely because in the 1970s there was no better arena in Northern California.

That’s why this move should not raise the envy of anyone in Oakland. How many tears should be shed over losing something you never had?

The Warriors were born 73 years ago in Philadelphia, where they spent their first 16 seasons. They then moved to California, where for nine seasons they were the San Francisco Warriors, taking team photos on cable cars and playing most of their games at the Cow Palace in Daly City, a few steps south of San Francisco.

There is little evidence of animosity from San Franciscans when the Warriors moved to Oakland in 1971. They were leaving the Cow Palace, a musty 30-year-old warehouse that wheezed with the breeze and on a good night could almost fit 13,000 folks.

The Oakland Coliseum Arena was less than five years old. It had an exterior made mostly of glass, cut in the shape of diamonds. It had modern amenities, easy freeway access and expansive parking. It also held 2,500 more seats than the Cow Palace.

The move was ... a change of address for the purposes of business.

The Warriors didn’t come to Oakland because it was seduced by its blue-collar ethos. They came for a better sports arena. They stayed through renovation and name changes – Oracle Arena being the latest – because it was the superior sports arena in the central Bay Area.

And that will be true until Saturday, when Stephen Curry and Draymond Green lead the Warriors in their preseason opener against the Lakers, who presumably will unveil their latest superstar duo, LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

The real star will be Chase Center, which by then should be dusted, polished and fully operational, cables tucked out of view, ladders put away and not a hard hat in the house.

Warriors CEO Joe Lacob likes to say the arena is built for basketball. It’s fabulous, almost ornate. Its exterior has, like Oracle, plenty of glass, giving it an airy feel. Its concourses are wide, its sightlines clean. It has 21st-century amenities, with enough private rooms to find a different one for each game until 2044.

Its vehicle access is diabolical and its parking severely limited, but, hey, some elements should capture the charm of San Francisco.

[RELATED: How injuries are forcing Warriors to quickly bet on young core]

Now, some East Bay folks are vowing not to cross the bridge, saying they’ll root for the Warriors from the comfort of living rooms and nearby bars. Much of this is based on the cost of attending, which for many is prohibitive. Part of it is the teeth-clenching treachery of the trip. And part of it is that they feel abandoned.

They shouldn’t. Bitterness over the team’s departure from Oakland shouldn’t be a factor. Unlike the Raiders, who were born and bred in Oakland, the Warriors always rented space. They just did so for so long, sprinkling enough good deeds, that some considered it a marriage.

It was good while it lasted, but the Warriors never said, “I do.” They saved that for Saturday.

NCAA to rule potential Warriors draft target James Wiseman eligible


NCAA to rule potential Warriors draft target James Wiseman eligible

The NCAA is stupid, but you already knew that.

After ruling Memphis center James Wiseman -- the presumptive No. 1 overall pick of the 2020 NBA Draft -- ineligible for the current collegiate season for accepting $11,500 in moving expenses, the governing body has reversed course ... sort of.

On Wednesday, the NCAA ruled Wiseman re-eligible before suspending him for 12 games, and mandated that he donate the same sum to a charity of his choice before being cleared to play.

This is where the NCAA's hypocrisy truly shines through. Wiseman was ruled ineligible for accepting money -- money he and his family didn't have -- to move to Memphis in high school, back when current Tigers coach Penny Hardaway coached Wiseman at East High School. Now, in order to get back on the court, the NCAA is making him dig up $11,500, even though the responsibilities and obligations required to fulfill his collegiate basketball scholarship make it all but impossible to hold down an additional job.

But we can't pay college athletes. No, that would be un-American.


[RELATED: Bowman has been Warriors' bright spot, looks like a keeper]

Hypocrisy aside, the NCAA coming to its senses is good news for Wiseman -- and for any team picking near the top of the upcoming draft.

That includes the Warriors, who have already scouted Wiseman up close and currently occupy the worst record in the NBA. Once he returns to action on Jan. 12, Wiseman will have an opportunity to play in as many as 16 games before any conference tournaments and March Madness. That should provide ample tape for NBA teams to evaluate someone who is widely regarded as the best big man available in the draft.

David West outlines how Warriors' Steph Curry deferred to Kevin Durant

David West outlines how Warriors' Steph Curry deferred to Kevin Durant

Throughout Kevin Durant's three-season tenure with the Warriors, some media and fans loudly wondered just whose team it was. 

For instance, Jay Williams, an ESPN analyst and Durant's friend, pondered on "Get Up" if "M-V-P" chants directed at Golden State star Steph Curry -- which Williams neglected to mention would be directed at Durant, too, when he played -- made Durant wonder if the Warriors could ever be his team. Never mind that Durant said -- from the beginning -- that his decision to join the Warriors was driven by his desire to improve as a basketball player, potential tension surrounding the Warriors' offensive pecking order was a constant storyline with Durant in the Bay Area. 

Yet David West, who played with Durant and Curry for two seasons, said Tuesday there wasn't much of a question in the Warriors' locker room.

"Before the issue could arise of whose team it was or who was going to get the ball to start the game, we saw right away in, like, the first couple pickup games: He deferred," West said of Curry on FS1's "The Herd" on Tuesday. "He was the bigger player and just said ... 'We're gonna start playing through KD in the fourth quarter. We're gonna close with KD.'"

Curry led the Warriors in field-goal attempts per game in two of the three regular seasons he played with Durant, with Durant leading the team in 2017-18 when Curry played just 51 games. Durant, however, led Golden State in shots per game in two of their three playoff runs, and won back-to-back NBA Finals MVPs.

Along with Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala and Klay Thompson, Curry was one of the four Warriors who pitched Durant on coming to Golden State during their Hamptons meeting three summers ago. He knew what he was getting into by recruiting a fellow MVP, and West said Curry embraced that fact from the start. 

"That was a part of his way of sort of leading the group," West said. "[He] was like, 'I'm gonna take a backseat. Let's get the ball to KD. I'll find a way to do what I need to do."

[RELATED: Bowman has been Warriors' bright spot, looks like a keeper]

Curry's efforts to make Durant feel comfortable ultimately continued after they were teammates when he still visited with Durant after learning he had joined the Brooklyn Nets while on a flight from China. 

Given how West described the start of Curry and Durant's on-court relationship, that should have come as no surprise. 

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