When fans heard the Warriors were considering a replacement for Jim Barnett, they were the opposite of apathetic. A “#KeepJim” movement spread on social media (with a lot of help from Adam Lauridsen), and it appears that the front office has listened to popular opinion and decided to give the people what they want.
— Jim Barnett (@uograd66) June 18, 2014
Barnett never complained after it was announced that he would “retire” from his position as the team’s television analyst after the 2013-14 season. However, it clearly wasn’t Barnett’s decision to leave.
Bruce Jenkins wrote the following 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.”
Barnett — like Drew Remenda, whose run as the Sharks’ TV analyst recently ended when the team declined to renew his contract — is known for calling games more honestly than the average broadcaster. Whether that was the reason why the Warriors wanted to find someone else is unknown. According to Tim Kawkami, the team’s top choice, Brent Barry, can’t leave San Antonio.
Even so, it’s remarkable that the Warriors changed course. They could’ve found another announcer to replace Barnett, even if Barry couldn’t relocate and another desirable option (Tom Tolbert) wasn’t interested in calling an entire season’s worth of games. However, quite frankly, keeping Jim was the correct decision all along.