Larry Ellison is rich, he loves attention and he’s a winner, as evidenced by his America’s Cup triumph over the weekend.
Chris Cohan possesses only one of those three aforementioned traits. Regardless of what we’ve heard about those tax evasion charges, Cohan is clearly a very wealthy man.
Perhaps this is why Cohan won’t sell the Warriors to Ellison, who’s getting ready to take matters into his own hands — in a way that would create a scenario where the Warriors weren’t just a bad basketball team, but a team that wasn’t even the best NBA team in its own metro region:
Next on his mantle case? Perhaps the NBA’s Golden State Warriors, for whom Ellison has expressed an interest in buying. The Warriors, owned by reclusive cable magnate Chris Cohan, so far have ignored his overtures. (The Warriors play in Oracle Arena, after Oracle bought the naming rights to the basketball arena for 10 years.)
“We have floated a few offers the last several years and been rejected each time,” Ellison said. “We might pursue another (pro basketball) team and could bring it to San Jose. It’s up to the NBA.”
Hopefully for the Warriors this is just a public negotiating ploy. Word is Cohan isn’t completely against selling, but isn’t budging from the $400 million pricetag he arbitrarily pulled out of the sky (or some other, lower region). But if this is true, and David Stern is amenable to putting a team in the Silicon Valley, Ellison would actually sink the Warriors like a cheap yacht instead of rescuing them from the depths of the NBA abyss.
Because as we stand right now, the Warriors are a glorified D-League team. If it was pretty much any other team facing the Lakers at Staples tonight, Kobe Bryant would play instead of resting his gimpy ankle. Since the Lakers are facing the Warriors, Bryant was convinced that sitting down one more game wouldn’t hurt the team.
The Warriors are D-League, and not just because they’re the biggest employer of D-Leaguers in California other than the Bakersfield Jam. They’re looking to trade Corey Maggette to the Cavaliers for Zydrunas Ilgauskas’ expiring contract, which on the surface sounds great. Maggette’s mere presence almost always makes any team he’s on worse, and his contract is unbelievably long. However, we know the Warriors aren’t going to take advantage of any financial flexibility other than saving money for Cohan, and the Cavs hope/know that the Warriors, if they agree to a trade, will release Ilgauskas within a month so he can go finish the rest of the season back in Cleveland.
A little while ago I wrote that any salary dump deals are a good thing, because it might mean Cohan is prepping the team for sale (hopefully to Ellison). But what Ellison said should scare every Warrior fan who doesn’t want them to become the NBA version of the Oakland A’s, only without the playoff appearances and “Dollar Hot Dog” days. Because for all the talk about the Warriors having the best fans in basketball, the truth is this region has a lot of BASKETBALL fans. They root for the Warriors because they’re the team around here, but San Jose is closer than Sacramento, and Ellison is much richer than the Maloof brothers. An NBA expansion team in San Jose (which would probably rival the Warriors in terms of talent and potential immediately after their first draft) would be an instant smash, and would probably cause Cohan to start looking at relocating the Warriors shortly after their first game.
Of course, with several NBA teams hemorrhaging money and a probably player lockout on the horizon, the idea of expansion is probably foolish and even outdated in this economy. However, the San Jose Grizzlies does have a certain ring to it, don’t you think? After all, Ellison only wants the Warriors because they’re the only NBA team in the area. Anything that brings more attention to himself and the town where his company resides would seem to be his preference. Hopefully for the Warriors and their long-suffering fans, the wealthy Cohan decides to cede control of his sinking franchise to a wealthier captain. Otherwise, Golden State is going to be up against a new competitor that plays 40 minutes away, a team and owner that will surely pass Cohan and the Warriors by.