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Slick Pinkham
08-26-2004, 05:32 PM
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/chronicle/archive/2004/08/26/SPGLE8EKG11.DTL

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Mullin: Young nucleus will provide the key

Brad Weinstein, Chronicle Staff Writer
Thursday, August 26, 2004



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Chris Mullin's celebrated movement without the ball as a player pales in comparison with his activity in a corner office.

In three months, the Warriors' new vice president has over- hauled the coaching staff; drafted 18-year-old Andris Biedrins; engineered two trades involving 11 players; re-signed Adonal Foyle and Calbert Cheaney; and signed Derek Fisher.

But Mullin will be the first to acknowledge the Warriors' chances of reaching the playoffs for the first time since 1993-94 -- when the lefty was the team's third-leading scorer -- hinge primarily on a part of the roster he did not touch.

"The process (of turning the corner) has been started. To take that next step, the young nucleus we have needs to step up,'' Mullin said Wednesday.

Indeed, the Warriors are counting on fourth-year players Troy Murphy and Jason Richardson and third-year pro Mike Dunleavy to elevate their play and Golden State's 11th-place finish last season in the Western Conference. A promising second season from Mickael Pietrus as he returns from last month's left shoulder surgery would help, too.

Mullin said he knows what to expect from the more seasoned players because of their track records. How Murphy rebounds from an injury-plagued 2003-04, whether Richardson builds on a solid third season and the extent to which Dunleavy develops -- Mullin, a five-time All-Star, has said Dunleavy will be a better player than he was -- are the keys to next season. Training camp begins Oct. 5.

"Guys really need to have breakout years,'' Mullin said one day after finalizing an eight-player deal with Dallas.

The Warriors sent center Erick Dampier and three other players to the Mavericks for scrappy forward Eduardo Najera, forward-center Christian Laettner, two conditional first-round picks and the draft rights to 6-foot-2 guard Luis Flores, a two-time Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Player of the Year at Manhattan, and 6-8 Yugoslavian swingman Mladen Sekularac, 23, a pro in Europe the past seven seasons whom they are hoping to have in camp.

The busy offseason has left the Warriors with "a deep, talented team that has players who complement each other,'' Mullin said.

The team will feature Fisher and Speedy Claxton at point guard; Richardson and Pietrus at shooting guard; Dunleavy and Najera at small forward; Cheaney at shooting guard and small forward; Biedrins learning behind Murphy and Clifford Robinson at power forward; and Foyle and Dale Davis, 35, at center.

Mullin did not mention Laettner while breaking down the roster, and it's possible the Warriors will attempt to buy out the last season of the 12-year veteran's contract.

In Dampier, the Warriors lose a strong defensive presence and a player who ranked fourth in rebounding and third in field-goal percentage in the NBA last season. Mullin expressed confidence in his new center tandem, even though last season Foyle struggled through left-knee problems and Davis' role diminished with the Portland Trail Blazers.

"I feel like with Adonal and Dale Davis, we're in good hands at the center position,'' Mullin said. "And we also have forwards who can dip in at (center).''

E-mail Brad Weinstein at bweinstein@sfchronicle.com.




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I've never been a Laettner fan, but if he accepts a buyout, all you'd need to sign him is a veteran's minimum.

He'd be 4th or 5th big man IMO, behind JO, Foster, and even Austin, also Bender if you count him as a PF.

I would consider him an upgrade over Pollard and more dependable than a rookie.

blanket
08-26-2004, 05:39 PM
If we could pick him up for the vet's minimum for a year it might be worth it, but I've heard he was a locker room cancer in Washington...

Hicks
08-26-2004, 05:42 PM
Would you (or any Pacer fan here) sign him for the minimum?

I think I would. For minimum dollars he'd probably be good to have off the bench; especially with Al gone.

Kegboy
08-26-2004, 05:42 PM
If we could pick him up for the vet's minimum for a year it might be worth it, but I've heard he was a locker room cancer in Washington...

Oh, no, we should just trade Bender for him. :rolleyes: :sarcasm:

Kegboy
08-26-2004, 05:44 PM
Would you (or any Pacer fan here) sign him for the minimum?

I think I would. For minimum dollars he'd probably be good to have off the bench; especially with Al gone.

I hate to compare white players to each other, but we've got Austin, why would we need him?

Hicks
08-26-2004, 05:46 PM
Depth.

Kegboy
08-26-2004, 05:48 PM
Depth.

Yeah, and if we gave him the min, he's old enough that he'd qualify for the league paying most of it.

Problem is, regardless of his reputation, I'm sure someone with at least a partial MLE left will give it to him. And I'd rather not give him ours.

Shade
08-26-2004, 06:02 PM
Laettner sucks, and is a dirty player to boot.

Pass.

Ultimate Frisbee
08-26-2004, 06:17 PM
no... don't sign him!!

Eindar
08-26-2004, 07:33 PM
I've hated him ever since he hit that last second shot in the NCAA tournament. Add to it that he's useless and will take minutes from people who could contribute, and I say no thanks.

kerosene
08-26-2004, 10:56 PM
I've read that he's not exactly a great locker room guy which is enough to make me hope the W's buy him out and the P's don't pick him up.