Ellis trade a big-time gamble for Warriors


Ellis trade a big-time gamble for Warriors

The only escape for the Warriors from the hellish trap of the last ... oh, lets just say five years and be generous about it ... was to blow up the roster and get down to scratch.

Well, boom.


Monta Ellis is gone, and so is Ekpe Udoh and the rumor of Kwame Brown, to Milwaukee for Andrew Bogut and his occasionally cranky body, and the old warhorse Stephen Jackson.

In other words, Jerry Wests interest in tearing it down to the studs and starting again and Joe Lacobs interest in making a trade splash superseded Lacobs chimerical playoff promise. The Warriors parted with their best trade chip and their most promising young big man for Bogut, a top six-center who has missed all but 12 games this season with a broken ankle.

In other words, this is a short-term disaster for the Warriors, whose only real hope now is to dump the season as elegantly as possible, including convincing Stephen Curry that his ankle needs more time and care than playing will allow.

Long-term ... well, long-term thinking has not been a Warrior long suit historically, so this trade at least has some intriguing ramifications.

It also breaks with Warrior tradition of absurdly overvaluing its own flawed players by including them in trade concepts with other teams truly elite players (see Howard, Dwight).

And finally, it is an acknowledgement that the Warriors were in the same cul-de-sac theyve been driving in since the mid-'90s -- trying to replace playoff contention with points, more against than for. And that something drastic needed to be done.

This is drastic. This is undoing this rebuild to start a new one. This is West finally winning the day from the stasis that has crushed this franchise time and again.

The problem, of course, is that if a Bogut-Curry-centric team isnt the answer either, were doing this again in two more years, perpetuating the laughable cycle of Were on the verge that has made them one of the sports least relevant teams.

Truth be told, the Warriors have actually been good at saying, This isnt working, but they have been exceedingly poor at showing the back end of that sentence, but this new thing were doing will.

And therein lies the grinding noise in fans heads. They suspected this was not a playoff team, and their trade speculations and dreams did not have a short-term surrender as part of the plan. To them, Ellis and Udoh got traded for Jackson, which in the short term is exactly what happened.

They will not be happy. They will fill the Coliseum Friday night to see the Bucks, and they will rage in their love for the departed Ellis and Udoh against their own management. Lacob is about to learn what the backhand of the honeymoon feels like, and for the amount of money he and Peter Guber spent to buy this team, the wounds will not heal soon.

Indeed, if they are the wounds the Warriors typically inflict upon themselves, they will not heal, Lacob will find out what Chris Cohan learned -- that owners have a short leash around here, and the more they talk without delivering, the shorter the leash is, and the harder it will be tugged. Cohan handled it by becoming a hologram, never seen, never heard but much vilified.

If Lacob is ready for that, and if Bogut turns out to be the Warrior the Warriors have always needed, Lacob will be able to fire off a series of bilious I told you sos at the people who are savaging him now.

But if not, well, owning the Warriors is a long and lonely thing. Six playoff appearances in 35 years takes its toll; one in 18 does, too. And someone will have to pay for this -- and pay hard.

It will either be us, for being so wrong about a bold and energizing move, or Lacob for blowing up the franchise to no good end again. It is measuring the dull gray known against the potentially exciting but very scary unknown, and the only thing at risk is Lacobs ability to sit at courtside and enjoy his basketball team.

Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com.

A's spring training Day 9: Alcantara trying to add new wrinkle

A's spring training Day 9: Alcantara trying to add new wrinkle

MESA, Ariz. — Right-hander Raul Alcantara, who could factor in as a starting or long relief option for the A’s, is experimenting with a split-finger fastball this spring.

Alcantara, who made five late-season starts last season in his first big league call-up, threw the pitch for the first time to hitters Tuesday, so he’s still in the infant stages with it. The A’s would like Alcantara to develop a solid third pitch to go with his fastball and changeup, though he does dabble with a curve and cutter too.

“In general, we’re looking for a ball that’s gonna dive, something where the bottom’s gonna fall out,” Oakland bullpen coach Scott Emerson said.

Alcantara, 24, faces crowded competition for the No. 5 starter spot with Jesse Hahn, Andrew Triggs and Paul Blackburn among those also going for it. Claiming the last spot in a seven-man bullpen is a possibility, though the A’s could surely utilize a second left-hander to go along with Sean Doolittle.

Making Alcantara’s case more interesting is that he’s out of minor league options, meaning he would need to make it through waivers unclaimed before the A’s could send him down.

Alcantara throws a hard changeup that clocked 86-87 miles per hour last season. Ideally, Emerson said his splitter would settle in the low 80’s.

Speaking through interpreter Juan Dorado, Alcantara said he’s gradually getting a feel for the new pitch.

“Obviously it’s a little more difficult on the hitters to know that there’s a different pitch,” he said. “They’re used to me throwing a fastball, a cutter and a change, and now implementing a split would just help me out to show them something different.”

CAMP BATTLE: Lefty Ross Detwiler, who re-signed with Oakland in the winter on a minor league deal, offers depth as a potential swing man who can start or relieve. Detwiler went 2-4 with a 6.14 ERA in nine games (seven starts) last season for the A’s. Those numbers look ugly in a short sample size, but Melvin values the veteran beyond what the stats show.

“I think he liked being here and we wanted him back.”

QUOTABLE: “I must be a little behind this year because the guys are hitting me a little harder than they normally do. Healy took me over the batter’s eye three times in a row.” — Melvin, who throws a couple rounds of batting practice every day.

NOTEWORTHY: The A’s will hold a pair of two-inning intrasquad games Thursday at the Lew Wolff Training Complex, with both set to start at 11:40 a.m.

49ers assistant GM Gamble leaving organization

49ers assistant GM Gamble leaving organization

The San Francisco 49ers Wednesday announced that Tom Gamble is leaving the organization. 

“The 49ers organization has tremendous respect and appreciation for Tom Gamble and his many years of service,” said General Manager John Lynch. “He is a class act who has helped a great deal in this transition, and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know him. After working together over the last month, Tom and I agreed that it would be in both of our best interests for him to pursue other opportunities. Tom is a true professional and we wish him and his family great success in the future.”
“I must thank Jed, the York family and the entire 49ers organization for the wonderful memories they provided me and my family, but it is time I move on,” said Gamble. “This past month, I have had the pleasure of working alongside John Lynch and the talented staff he has assembled. The team is in capable hands and I wish them nothing but the best.”

Gamble, who recently completed his 29th NFL season and 10th with the 49ers, returned to the team in January of 2015 as the senior personnel executive and was later named assistant general manager on July 25, 2016. He spent the 2013-14 seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles as vice president of player personnel. Gamble originally joined the 49ers in 2005 and spanned eight seasons with San Francisco including two as the director of player personnel (2011-12). He oversaw both the college and pro personnel efforts of the 49ers. As the 49ers director of pro personnel from 2005-10, Gamble monitored every NFL roster with an emphasis on scouting talent of upcoming pro free agents, while also maintaining continuous depth of personnel on the team’s roster.

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