Ratto: Questions in aftermath of Rowell departure

June 21, 2011, 11:59 pm
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June 21, 2011

Follow @RattoCSNRay Ratto

In a move that was long expected -- just not quite this soon -- the Warriors and team president Robert Rowell agreed that they would not share the same letterhead any longer, and announced same Tuesday.Rowell, one of the lightning rods for the storms of criticism surrounding the ill-formed and ill-fated Chris Cohan administration, was essentially fired with a softened press release -- and lots of flowery phrases about his many years of service and what-not -- that essentially said all that needed to be said in one line of the release:We believe that previous ownership really put him in a publicly challenging position over the past few years and I have a great deal of respect for how he has conducted himself as a professional.
That was short for You took some of Cohans heat, but you had some of it coming, too.RELATED: NBA Draft headquarters
As new owner Joe Lacob had added what seems to be two general managers (Jerry West and Bob Myers) to the one he already had (Larry Riley), there was little for Rowell to do outside the selling of tickets and control of the marketing efforts, and with a lockout looming that many believe could drastically curtail or even cancel the season, Rowell became expendable.In short, he got furloughed, with considerable prejudice. Hed been made a lame duck by Lacob, and now Lacob has decided he is too pricey a luxury as the lockout looks more and more certain.Rowell gets deserved credit for keeping the seats filled at near capacity during the long and arduous Cohan years, but his over-reaching into the basketball side helped muddy what chain of command there was in the organization, and dragged him into the wormhole of criticism Cohan endured throughout most of his tenure atop the organizational table.STEINMETZ: NBA Mock Draft version 2
It also reduces by one noteworthy figure the links between current and previous management. Lacob is, as he continues to point out ion so many ways, a hands-on owner, and hands-on owners want their own hands where they can see them. The hands of previous owners dont last long, and Rowell got nine post-transition months.No successor has been named, but one suspects that either Lacob or one of the other owners will take over the business side of the operation. That announcement is expected under separate cover in the next few days or weeks; no timetable was indicated.In sum, Bobby Rowell is gone, and skeptical fans who enjoyed using him as a goat well worth scaping will now have to find other targets, or decide that this was a positive move in and of itself. How they approach that task remains to be seen, but as for Rowell, he served an unpopular king well, and paid the price in blowback from an angry populace for it.Ray Ratto is a sports columnist for CSNBayArea.com.