At long last, and not a moment too soon, the blind loyalty that Warriors fans have shown the NBA’s longest-running joke of a franchise is being rewarded instead of being used as a means to an annually fruitless and frustrating but profitable end.
With Golden State’s trade of Monta Ellis to the Milwaukee Bucks for Andrew Bogut, and the subsequent moves that improved immediate draft prospects and ensured that Stephen Jackson’s tired and insincere act not be sadistically forced upon said fans yet again, the Dubs announced to the Bay Area that they’re finally ready to start acting like a legitimate big-league operation.
In delivering the type of bold, decisive — and yes, risky — action that the latest ownership group has been promising since taking over, a crystal-clear message was delivered this week.
Gimmicks be gone. No more complacency with virtually full houses; with mostly great (but not necessarily winning) nights out; with a focus on little more than entertainment.
It’s time to actually try to build a champion. Not just talk about it, mind you. To DO something about it.
Will Ellis be missed? Sure. Heck of a player. Big heart. Gutsy. He’ll make a very good team even better someday soon — after he opts out of Milwaukee in a year, as he’d have done from here had he not been dealt. Ekpe Udoh had potential, too.
But if Bogut, whose oft-cited injuries, it’s important to note, are of concern, but not chronic, can stay healthy after a year to heal and strengthen his 7-foot, just-27-year-old body, this deal and its ripple effects signal a massive and welcome sea change for a team that’s been lost at sea for two decades.
Steph Curry’s glass slipper needs a dose of best-case magic, too, of course. But with Bogut, David Lee, potential star Klay Thompson in Ellis’ electric scoring role, a small forward through the draft and a bench featuring emerging young talent such as Jeremy Tyler, who has far more upside than Udoh, Warriors fans might someday soon see what it’s like to think not of No. 8 seeds.
Instead they might be thinking, legitimately, of luring big-name free agents and hoisting banners.
It had to start somewhere, and this was it.
STICKER SHOCK: Having spent last weekend checking in on the Giants and A’s during a quick trip to the desert, I was struck by how much spring training has changed.
For the worse.
Make no mistake, the vibe remains intoxicatingly casual — quite literally so, in many cases. (Day drinking is king in the Cactus League.)
But gone are the days when you could pop down to Arizona on a lark, find a relatively cheap place to shower, sleep and change clothes, and ease into a game after scooping up a few tickets in the $12-$15 range.
Now you have Gouge-O-Rama at every turn, highlighted by “dynamic pricing” at Scottsdale Stadium, spring home of the G-Men.
Want your elderly father to avoid the lawn-bound college kids and the prospect of being baked by the sun cooking the metal bleachers down each line?
That’ll be $48, please. Shameful.
SPEED ROUND: Buster Posey homers and all is right in the world. Nothing to see here, folks. He’s gonna be fine. ... Not so sure about Manny Ramirez, even though he homered this week, too. Bat looked painfully slow last weekend. ... Randy Moss, when happy and engaged, can still light it up. Ancient and slow and hobbled he is not. Excellent risk taken by the 49ers, who were smart enough to not stop there in looking to upgrade through the air. ... And finally, do you know where Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie is right now? Either cutting someone else or looking for change with which to sign someone, anyone, in the couch cushions.
Mychael Urban, a frequent co-host of The Wheelhouse (10 a.m.-2 p.m.) on 95.7 FM The Game, can be followed on Twitter @BigUrbSports. His website is UrbsUnchained.com.