San Francisco, CA - On a nice clear day along the Pier, the stage was set to make a big announcement that brought NBA's Commissioner David Stern to the event. A sea of blue suits aligned the podium, to unveil the news that the Golden State Warriors will move back to San Francisco for the 2017-2018 season.
A decision made by new owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber plan to build a $400 to $500 million arena that will seat up to 20,000 people. This venue much like the Nokia Center across the street from the Staples Center in Los Angeles will also be home to entertainment and a convention center.
In the meantime the Warriors will continue to remodel Oracle arena while the new area is being built. But what does this mean for the city of Oakland and the fans? In short season we saw a new coach lead a team to a 23-43 record, 13 games less than where they were last season. And management added some new faces yet the roster is still unimpressive.
Golden State's top leading scorer, Monta Ellis and best defender, Ekpe Udoh were traded to the Milwaukee Bucks for Andrew Bogut and Stephen Jackson. Bogut is still injured and Jackson never graced his presence as he opted out and chose to play for the San Antonio Spurs.
Year after year, fans have supported bone head moves from past owners, coaches and management. Yet, Oracle still gets sellout crowds despite a losing team. In addition to bad decision making by the Warriors, the city of Oakland will lose more jobs while San Francisco will gain employment.
"This is the most important journey in the history of the Warriors," said team President and CEO Rick Welts.
Why is this move more important than building a winning team? If you look back at history, the last NBA Championship won by Golden State was in 1975. The last Conference Final appearance was in 1975 and 2007 was the last time they made it to the playoffs. Five years later the most vital decision is to relocate the team?
"We have to win, it's on us to do that," Lacob said. "We're going to give a great entertainment value, no matter what. Fans of the Warriors do support the team, even though they haven't been winning. Well, I gotta tell you right now that ain't going to work for us. We go to win. We can't expect fans to keep coming forever if we don't win."
We've seen the success in teams moving. For example the Seattle SuperSonics relocated to Oklahoma City in 2008 and two years later they made their first run in the playoffs. They continue to get better each year. But their motivation didn't come from a move, it came from a young player destined to be great [Kevin Durant] and a coach [Scott Brooks] who got a chance after P.J. Carlesimo got fired.
In the interim period who knows what changes will take place before the move. For now Golden State lacks talent and this should be the priority for the team. The main concern is the 2012 NBA Draft, adding more depth in the paint and what veteran guard will back up Stephen Curry.
These are the questions that need to be addressed. However, the dedicated fans will continue to support the Warriors. The coined phrase that developed in 2007 "We Believe" is the only hope that an NBA trophy will come back to the Bay Area.
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