So the A’s and Oakland are going to play nice now, eh? So the pressures of needing a place to have made friends of natural adversaries, has it? So practicality has trumped antagonism, you say?
Yeah, well, nice try.
In the space of four press releases over 19 hours, the two sides have essentially called each other liars, deadbeats, grandstanders and blowhards, and since the A’s won the toss and elected to defer, the last word is club president Mike Crowley’s:
“We have nothing additional to offer and as a result there will be no further negotiations.”
The middle finger is silent.
How this went so bad so quickly is to misunderstand the true relationship of the two sides. The A’s don’t like the Coliseum people, and though it down on their list of reasons for wanting to leave for cheerier climes, it still is a contributing factor. And the Coliseum people think they have all the leverage because the A’s can’t go to San Jose and don’t really have a Plan C.
In addition, the Oakland political structure still thinks it has to cater to the needs of the Raiders, played by a moving fan idling in the back parking lot.
The two sides are a little right and a whole lot wrong, and now that they have decided to air their dirty skivvies publically, they have conspired to make Mark Davis look balanced and reasonable.
That is a crippling and even humiliating kind of shame they will have to share.
The cold fact is this: The A’s and the Coliseum are trapped in the same car, and neither wants to acknowledge it. They have entered the pointless shoe-squeezing stage of their relationship, where they will revisit all outstanding grievances and even fabricate a few more for good reason, all in the interest of rocking the hate. In this case the Coliseum says the A’s don’t pay rent and the A’s say they don’t owe any rent.
But they hate each other mostly because they really need each other, as revolting a proposition as that might be. The Coliseum will lose the Raiders because Los Angeles will at some point become an actual NFL player again rather than an empty threat, and Davis knows that his fate is tied to selling the club to an L.A.-based group and becoming a minority billionaire owner who gets to go to the games for free.
Meanwhile, the A’s have essentially lost their San Jose bus pass, for the foreseeable future and perhaps for good. They still maneuver and bluster (as in now), but they are Oakland’s team barring some catastrophic change in circumstances.
This represents mutually assured failure for both the hilariously misguided Oakland political structure and the inherently persnickety A’s, and though neither side likes it, it will endure the partnership, while making sure that it goes as poorly as possible.
This is why they must bicker – because they have nothing else in common. Cooler heads will prevail, of course, which is interesting since the hotheads and the cooler heads are the same heads. They may not agree on a 10-year lease but they will grit their teeth and curse the gods that made them and agree to a tiny little lease here and a tiny little lease there, maintaining their mutual animosity while knowing they cannot change their mutual indispensability.
Now that the Warriors are on the nation’s radar, some things will confuse the broader audience. Like:
The move to San Francisco.
Guarantee that during Thursday night’s telecast of 2014’s first playoff game at Oracle Arena, the TNT announcers will extol the crowd and note that Oracle is the best home environment in the league. They will mention the sellout streak. The fans’ willingness to stick with the team in the bad times. The off-the-charts enthusiasm in the good times.
Guarantee that we’ll also get an overhead shot of the chunk of land in San Francisco that will be the new home of the Warriors. The audience will understand that new arena = higher prices = faithful fans shut out. And those in parts of the country who only can dream of the type of home-court advantage the Warriors have at Oracle will be completely flummoxed.
Also confusing: Warriors nicknames.
Sometimes, the Warriors call Stephen Curry “the Human Torch.” At other times, they dub him half of “the Splash Brothers.” Can he be both? Wouldn’t one of Curry’s nicknames extinguish the other?
Nicknames are a sensitive thing. The first rule? Nicknames can’t be manufactured by the team. They must be organic. Every time “Splash Brothers” is uttered – almost exclusively by those on the Warriors’ payroll – it feels incredibly inauthentic. Forced.
Every time I hear it or see a Warriors T-shirt pushing it, I’m back in “Mean Girls” mode: “Stop trying to make Splash Brothers happen.” (“Mean Girls” aficionados will note that, asRegina George predicted, “fetch” never happened).
The nickname might be a takeoff on the video game “Super Smash Brothers,” but it sounds a lot like “Bash Brothers.” The last thing an Oakland team needs is images of over-muscledJose Canseco and Mark McGwire and bathroom stalls.
Basketballs don’t “splash.” They “swish.” And it seems unfair to lump Klay Thompson – who deserves his own accolades – with Curry, who already has his own identity.
–Ann Killion, San Francisco Chronicle
Andre Iguodala is wry, he’s dry, and he just isn’t the kind of guy to drum his chest and announce he’s taking over now.
That’s good for the Warriors and for Iguodala in many ways, of course — his subtle personal style has blended right in with the team’s convivial atmosphere this season.
But amid the Clippers’ all-out swarming of Stephen Curry in this playoff series, including during Los Angeles’ 40-point victory in Game 2, this isn’t a subtle moment for the Warriors.
The series is tied 1-1, and this is urgent. Thursday’s Game 3 at Oracle Arena is time for money players to step out of the background.
So Iguodala’s more obvious talents are being summoned in a very non-subtle way.
“We need him to be more aggressive, whether it be for himself or making plays,” coach Mark Jackson said of Iguodala before Wednesday’s practice at Oracle Arena. “If they’re going to play Steph that way, then guys have got to be live options.”
Klay Thompson and David Lee are the Warriors’ usual alternate options for volume offense, but they’ve also run into some issues against the Clippers’ size and aggressiveness.
Which leaves Iguodala, who spent a lot of years as a top-option playmaker with Philadelphia and Denver … but not always seeming to love it.
Then he was acquired — and given a $48 million deal — by the Warriors last offseason and happily accepted that Curry, Lee and Thompson were established as the main gunslingers.
Iguodala’s value to the Warriors during the regular season was as a bonus supporting actor — an elite wing defender, fast-break finisher and overall very popular teammate.
True to that, Iguodala took only six shots apiece in the first two games of this series and scored a combined 12 points without doing much else to hurt the Clippers’ D.
That just isn’t enough when Curry is dribbling for his life and the Warriors are desperate for willing shooters.
“I’m looking to take more shots every game,” Iguodala said. “But just trying to play in the flow of the basketball, not having to force … and it’ll come.”
But can he just flip the “go” switch that easily? Iguodala took only 7.3 shots a game this regular season, almost four fewer than his career average.
The Clippers, so far, have bet Iguodala can’t or won’t.
To start the games, the Clippers have mainly used J.J. Redick to defend Iguodala and rotated like mad as they have pursued Curry all over the floor.
“We put the ball in (Iguodala’s) hands and they put (power forward) Blake Griffin on him,” Jackson said. “Those plays are opportunities for him to take advantage of the matchups.
“But (Iguodala is) a guy that I know he’s going to be fine and I know he’s a guy that embraces moments like this. So there’s no concern.”
Beyond the eagerness to blend in, Iguodala had issues with a strained hamstring and knee tendinitis this season; he never quite seemed to regain the explosion he had at the start of this season.
Iguodala — who averaged 15.6 shots per game in 2007-08 — only had five games this season when he took 11 shots or more.
What’s relevant now: The Warriors need him to be a dangerous offensive threat against the Clippers.
Last season playing for the Denver Nuggets against the Warriors in the first round of the playoffs, Iguodala took 35 combined shots in the final two games of Golden State’s series victory.
“I didn’t force it at all, and the ball just seemed to get in my hands last year,” Iguodala said. “(This season is) a different situation. But I definitely feel like I have an advantage, and I’ll try to take advantage of it.”
There’s one bit of admitted urgency to this series: Iguodala has said the team is playing to save Jackson’s job.
Do you really think that, Andre?
“It’s more so just being sarcastic about (the idea that Jackson could be in trouble),” Iguodala said, shrugging his shoulders. “It’s funny even to be mentioning it or even be talking about it, with the job that he’s done, coming from his first year, increasing the win total every year.”
It’s not being sarcastic to suggest that a victory in this series would go a long way to giving Jackson and his players a sense of security into the future.
To do that, Jackson needs more from Iguodala — maybe handling the ball, with Curry and Thompson running off screens at the wings.
And if the Clippers fall off of him to defend the two guards, Iguodala should be wide open.
Also, Iguodala could get a lot more time defending Clippers star point guard Chris Paul.
Or somebody else?
“I like guarding anybody,” Iguodala said. “I might guard Blake, you never know.”
–Tim Kawakami, San Jose Mercury News