Jim Barnett is past the halfway point in his last season as a color analyst for the Golden State Warriors. Yesterday he made an appearance on the Gary Radnich Show (with Larry Krueger), and at the end of the interview Radnich brought up Barnett’s potential replacement. No names were mentioned besides Tom Tolbert, who Radnich noted may not want to be interested in calling all 82 games.
Tolbert has served as the color analyst on the radio side this season, but only for the games played at Oracle Arena.
Barnett didn’t disagree with Radnich’s main point, that whoever replaces him better know the market and the team. Barnett also didn’t complain about his situation, and said he “feels good about everything” and the Warriors are “worth working for.”
But it’s a little odd how the Warriors have invited speculation by not announcing the team’s next color analyst. Whether they’re doing so out of respect for Barnett, or because they haven’t yet chosen an announcer, is unknown. Candidates would probably include Tolbert and either Jon or Brent Barry, and after the interview with Barnett the two KNBR hosts discussed the possibility of Charlotte Bobcats announcer Dell Curry calling his son’s games next year.
Here’s the transcript from the end of the interview:
Radnich: Hey Jim, this may sound patronizing to you, and I’m going to probably annoy my friend (Joe) Lacob. But they’d better get somebody who’s coming in to replace you that is world class. Only from the standpoint of, you know, somebody might be a little bit younger and might be able to spell Jim Boeheim, but you’ve still got it, my friend. If Joe’s pretty smart, he may have to think twice. Because it’s tough to bring a guy in here who knows the market, knows the team. Because you’ve still got it. God, just from this interview here, and listening to you on the game, whoever he thinks is going to fill your shoes, his gut feeling better be 100% sure. Because, for the third time, you’ve still got it Jim.
Barnett: Well I appreciate it. I’m working hard this year because they’re worth working for and I’m enjoying it. Yeah, I feel good. I feel good about everything. My life is in good order. And I appreciate the comments there…
Radnich: And I don’t mean like I’m patting you on the back.
Barnett: Oh, I know. I know you, Gary, and you’re very sincere. And guess what, I’d have to agree with you.
Radnich: Hell, we’ve gone this far. Let’s talk about honesty. Tom, at this point of his life, might not want to do any travel. That’s the only guy I think that could slide in there and not have people twitching around and say, “What the hell, why’d they bring this guy in?”
Radnich: No, I’m dead serious. Tom’s the only guy. And if that doesn’t work out with him, Jim, maybe Joe reevaluates bringing in somebody from Boston. You know what I mean?
Barnett: Yeah, I don’t know. I don’t even think about those things. I just go out and do my job every day like I’ve been doing for the last 29 years because that satisfies me enough.
Here’s a description of how Barnett and the Warriors came to the “mutual” decision that this would be his last year, written by Bruce Jenkins in September:
Barnett’s contract will expire in the spring, and as he met with team president Rick Welts and marketing executives to discuss the future, there was “mutual agreement,” said Barnett, that he join Bob Fitzgerald on the Comcast telecasts for one more season and then move into an ambassador’s role with the club, entailing speaking engagements, community functions “and whatever else they’d like me to do.”
This development has nothing to do with the quality of Barnett’s work, which has been first-rate from the beginning. He has the energy and enthusiasm of a man half his age, with a wealth of NBA knowledge that will be difficult to replace. But he’ll turn 70 next July, forcing both parties to take a hard look down the road.
“Nothing lasts forever,” Barnett said over a Thursday lunch in San Francisco. “I’ve had a great run, and I trust this organization. I’ll still be at every game, and I’m very happy they want me around.”