Warriors' Riley talks D-League purchase

June 28, 2011, 9:04 pm
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JUNE 28, 2011


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Matt Steinmetz

Warriors executive vice president of basketball operations Larry Riley held a conference call with the media on Tuesday afternoon to address the purchase of the Dakota Wizards of the D-League. Riley talked about what the advantages of that purchase were for the Warriors as well as offer some details on how he believes the operations will work.Here's a transcript of the call:Larry Riley: "We had a press conference this morning in Bismarck and announced to the local people that the Warriors had purchased a D-League team. It's another example of what Joe Lacob and Peter Guber are trying to do as far as giving us every opportunity to put together a good basketball team and have a strong Warriors' organization. That concept of getting into the D-League was discussed last winter when Joe and Peter took over. And we spent quite a bit of time talking about it.
"But most of the work was actually done by Kirk Lacob. He did a great job of researching everything and trying to determine how we might go. He was deeply involved in the purchase as well and the analyzing of different situations. And we were able to bring it to a conclusion this week and finalize it today."Our purpose is we want to have a true developmental league team and this is going to be an opportunity where we can have our own coaches. They will work closely with Mark Jackson, and the system that is in place by our head coaches where the Warriors are concerned will also be in place with the Dakota Wizards franchise. And we'll have quite a bit of carryover from one to the other."In addition we will have people going back and forth that will be involved in the operation of the Dakota Wizards and we also envision that we'll have a coach who will basically be a developmental coach, and it will be his job to work back and forth between both franchise and to give any player we might send to the Dakota Wizards the best guidance we can in terms of playing in the NBA . There is also an obligation on our part to put a good product on the floor and we plan to do that."Question: Where are you on moving the team to the Bay Area?Larry Riley: "What we did was put a comment in the press release with regard to that. That's an option that's certainly on the table. We addressed that this morning at the press conference as well. And it's something we're looking into with a great deal of interest. There's no doubt that that's being evaluated. We're basically in the first step but there's no question there are evaluations going on along those lines."Question: Will there be a disadvantage at first because the affiliation is now in Bismarck, N.D., instead of Reno?Larry Riley: "Distance is always somewhat of an issue, but when you want to get a job done and you want to do it badly enough you can overcome that. I don't see it as a huge problem. And their league, like our league, half the games are played on the road anyway and so we can overcome that kind of a thing and have a good working relationship here in the coming season."Question: Is that a reason why it wouldn't be good to stay in Bismarck?Larry Riley: "The logistics could play into it. There are several things that will go into that decision. As you look at some of these who own D-league teams, many of them have gotten into locations that are at least close to where the NBA team operates, so it's a consideration without question."Question: What are the advantages to this affiliation as opposed to Reno and Bakersfield?Larry Riley: "It's more of a hands-on experience where we get to hire our own coaches, put our own system in and if a player is sent from the Warriors to the Wizards you have carryover and it isn't that you have to come in and learn a new system. You get the learning curve out of the way."There's also the opportunity for young coaches to develop as far as that goes. You have the elopement of players and also the development of young coaches. Who knows what's going to happen in the future or what the rules will be when the D-League grows."Question: What's going to happen with the GM and coach of the Dakota Wizards?Larry Riley: "We're evaluating all of this and would be premature to make a lot of statements. But obviously Travis Schlenk and Kirk Lacob are going to have a great deal to do with how the operation is run. I don't see them here on a day-to-day basis. But right now Mike Riley as our pro scout right now. He's got a wealth of D-League experience and he's been a former head coach in the old CBA. He's closer logistically than anybody else and will be on site a good bit."They'll pretty much run things from the point -- nobody is going to be named general manager immediately. But that team of three will take care of those duties. Should we decide we need a general manager, then we can go in that direction."We're evaluating the coaching situation and we'll get back to you on that. We're not going to dilly-dally with it. In a timely fashion we'll take care of that so we're set for the fall."Question: Was part of the reason you were able to draft a Jeremy Tyler is because you knew you'd have a D-League team to develop him?Larry Riley: It wasn't the reason we drafted Jeremy Tyler. The whole philosophy was that if we could acquire a second-round pick we'd have a place to send him should that become necessary. I'm not sure where Jeremy is going to be as we go through training camp and so forth."We'll have to determine what develops there. We're a little more philosophically in line that the 14th or15th guys on your squad -- or people who aren't playing much -- only get better by playing and practicing and I think Jeremy Lin prove that last year."Every time we sent him down last year he got better and that was even more encouragement for us to get into a hands-on situation where we had our own system in place and maybe even take the development a little bit farther."Question: Why not simply buy the Reno franchise?Larry Riley: I would have to let you talk to Kirk on that. I can tell you there were reasons for that, for not doing it, but he was a lot deeper into it and I would rather let him comment on that."Question: Do you lose anything with Travis and Kirk dealing now with this D-League team?Larry Riley: "Bob Myers took some of the weight off Travis. It will give Travis more time. I would envision that what Kirk and Travis will be doing u2026 there will be a lot of telephone work and so forth. I see them coming into Bismarck from time to time, but I don't see it eating up a lot of their time on a daily basis."I do think that when we send a player here we'll come and check on that player his progress and we did that with Jeremy Lin. I don't see a great time commitment that creates any difficulties. It's one of the reasons we have a bigger front office staff right now."Question: While you're in Bismarck, is there pressure to keep them there?Larry Riley: I don't know that it's pressure. We're in a position where it's early enough, we just got involved and we're going to take our time to evaluate the situation. You've seen Joe evaluate things, sometimes not as fast as other people would like. But no question he gets the evaluation done and he moves on it. That's where we'll be with this thing."Question: Any update on Lou Amundson?Larry Riley: "It's his call. He has an option so it's up to him. We've had discussions with them and i'm not certain what they're going to do yet. obviously we're going to have to be informed pretty quick. That date is at the end of this month. I do think they'll take it down to the last day and then we'll know something.""As far as we're concerned we don't have any problems at all with him coming back. He's been an energy guy and been exactly what we thought. Only issue with Lou last year was he had injuries.Question: Is Amundson the last piece of the roster puzzle you expect before the end of the month?Larry Riley: "Before the end of the month? Yes."Question: Have you decided whether you'll sign your picks or not under this current CBA?Larry Riley: We're working on that right now. I'll be back in the office tomorrow and we've had discussions on it. stand by. We'll finish that tomorrow as far as knowing how that will come about."