Jason Richardson (above) had a huge Sunday (32 points, 15 rebounds) in Golden State’s 121-108 win over Minnesota. Sadly for the (9th place) Clippers, a double-double from Ron Artest (15 points, 10 assists) and 16 points off the bench from Francisco Garcia helped Sacramento play spoiler in a 105-100 away victory. The Warriors find themselves in the driver’s seat for the 8th playoff spot in the Western Conference, holding a one game lead with two left to play. And for coach Don Nelson, making the postseason would be awfully lucrative, writes the Oakland Tribune’s Carl Steward.
Don Nelson will receive a cool $1million bonus to his base contract if the Golden State Warriors make the NBA playoffs. As if any more incentive were needed, you can bet the old coach will be on his game over the final three critical contests.
But here’s a tip to owner Chris Cohan: Give Nellie that bonus regardless of what happens. Playoffs or not, he’s earned it a few times over. Then, after you make that wholly appropriate gesture, start thinking about how to keep a man who’ll be 67 years old next month for as long as he wants to stick around and work his wonders.
He’s not making bad money if you factor in his incentives, but he’s not in the company of men such as Phil Jackson and Pat Riley, where he belongs. He’s not even making as much as he did in Dallas. It makes you wonder why he even accepted the job, considering all the work that needed to be done.
While delivering a brutal dis to Doc Rivers (“Celtics ownership should tell Rivers he’s fortunate to come back for the final year of his contract, that, at $5 million a season, they’ll no sooner give him an extension than choose Sam Bowie over Greg Oden in the draft.”), Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski raises the spectre of Butch Carter returning to coaching.
Everyone laughs at the mention of Butch Carter as a candidate to replace Bernie Bickerstaff. Yes, he flipped out with the Raptors, picked fights, tried to sue Marcus Camby, blah, blah, blah. Listen, he did a terrific job turning a loser into a 45-win playoff team in 2000. He was an excellent tactician and just far enough out there to keep his players antsy, unsure whether they really wanted to mess with him.
Bobcats minority partner Michael Jordan craves tough guys on the bench, but what this franchise loves even more is to keep everything on the cheap. Sam Mitchell is a possibility if things fall apart in his negotiations with Toronto. There’s always the Carolina connection with Larry Brown, but he’d have to be willing to take less money to work for Charlotte. Brown wouldn’t take less money to walk across the street.