If Larry Rileys words from Thursdays presser have been parsed correctly, the Warriors are going be structurally the same as they were a year ago, which tells us one thing:One more year like all the others.While there dont seem to be a lot of teams eager to use the new amnesty provision (The New York Times, speaking to an unnamed executive for one of the teams, estimated earlier this week that only three to six would do so), the Warriors would have needed to be one of those teams to create sufficient salary cap flexibility.And Riley essentially shot that down, leading one to wonder just how much more of the same old same old this ownership group needs to see before the words same old used only the once will offend them.This is a team that is not close to being a playoff team. It has most of the stylistic components that didnt make the playoffs in the last four seasons lots of perimeter shooters, no rebounders, no defense and a clear reluctance to break up the group to consider a bold new direction.Or any new direction at all.In other words, the Warriors under Joe Lacob still look way too much like the Warriors under Chris Cohan for any discerning fan to think that progress has been made in the ownership transition. Because, well, it hasnt.And the next logical question, Well, what hell are you waiting for? clearly has no answer at all.Frankly, this is a team with a badly bent roster and a lousy history, and is crying out for a complete body job. Tinkering at the edges isnt enough, and there is no one guy currently available that make the other parts coalesce into a playoff contender. It isnt that the Warriors dont have talent its that the talent doesnt meld into a cohesive and fully functional contender.And the urgency to change that, which seemed to be made clear when Jerry West was brought on to be a consultant, seems to have dissipated.The alternative, that owner Joe Lacob, Riley, GM in training Bob Myers, new head coach Mark Jackson, and by de facto reasoning West himself all see this roster differently, seems too horrifying to contemplate. After all, you know what they say about those who ignore history being doomed to repeat it.RELATED: Warriors to open season on Christmas night at OracleAnd the idea that this management team hasnt been in place long enough to make the bigger bolder decisions is such hilarious nonsense. The had an entire summer and half of a fall to consider the terrain, what they had, what they needed and how to make those two lists look more alike.At this point, one would think it fair to consider the possibility that they know all of this, and actually have something much bigger in mind a trade of one of the two chosen-child guards, perhaps. Yet Riley said, when asked about the fresh-float of rumors regarding Nene, Tyson Chandler and David West, Whats the likelihood the roster will be near the same with some additions on opening day? Very likely.The problem there is that the cap math doesnt allow for any of them unless the Warriors do more than merely amnesty Charlie Bell, and since even Bells 4 million cap savings would get them any of the those three, the same looks likelier than some additions.If they can pull this off, more power to them. But the math, the history, and the apparent paralysis when it comes to considering a bold move to free up roster and cap space suggest that these Warriors are really going to more of the same old, not to mention same old, Warriors. And Lacobs honeymoon nearly expired, this will sit poorly with people who have been asked to exhibit far more patience than is the Warriors right to depend.Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com
O.J. Simpson is free. The system as it is defined by those who run it in the case of the Nevada Parole Board, worked.
But the issue that lingers is whether we can free ourselves of him. That system is far more amorphous, arbitrarty and essentially unfair. And in its own revolting way, it works too.
The O.J. market has always been bullish. The old cliché that people can’t get enough no matter how much you shovel at them is more true for him than for any other sports figure of the last 50 years. More than Tiger Woods. More than LeBron James. More than Michael Jordan. More than all of them.
And now his parole hearing, televised and streamed by every outlet except Home & Garden Television, proved it again. He will never not be O.J.
But he is also 70. He is also planning to go to Florida and be with his family, based on what he told the parole board Thursday. He has assiduously avoided the media in his nine years in Lovelock, and if his family is providing the support it pledges, it will do its utmost to keep him from our prying eyes as he enters his dotage.
There is nothing we have that can do him any good. We have eaten all the forms of O.J. there are, culminating in the Emmy-award winning documentary on him, and finally, his release from prison. If he is wise as well as smart, here’s nothing left of his life but re-airs.
So the question becomes not so much whether he can leave fame alone, or whether fame can leave him alone. Our national appetite is poor on the topic of leaving people be, let alone deciding enough is enough. The fame we make for people gorges, purges and gorges again, in a hideous cycle that demeans all involved.
In sum, O.J. Simpson can, if he is paying attention to the value of normalcy, end his addiction to fame. I have far more serious doubts about fame and its addiction to him.
Some time not that very long ago, someone in sports management who will almost certainly spend all of eternity bobbing for razor-studded apples in a pool of lava saw an opportunity in the phrase, “The quietest time in sports.” And decided to fill it with filth.
It is believed to begin right after the end of the NBA Finals, although that artificial start date has been extended through free agency now that the NBA’s principal entertainment vehicle is the burning of money. It used to be right after the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, though now it has been extended backward. And it ends roughly at the beginning of NFL and/or college training camps, depending on where you live and which of those two beasts you profess your God to be.
But let’s get back to the management succubus who has set us on the path that has led inexcusably to the current point. The idea that baseball no longer holds the interest or attention spans of the young, cool and inadequately trained in the value of money is now accepted as fact, and as any marketing nitwit will tell you, nature abhors a vacuum.
So here’s what we’ve got. Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor in what is very simply a lazy-stereotype-laden comedy tour that isn’t funny let alone even mildly convincing. They have both been on the stage too long, with a month still to go before the final shame-off August 26, where they simply enter the arena, stand with their backs to each other at the ring rope and spend 45 minutes trying to target-spit into the eyes of the high-rollers. Why the promoters didn’t just muzzle Mayweather and McGregor and use actual professionals like Key and Peele and Aisling Bea and Ed Byrne to work the crowds for a million per is simply a lack of imagination at work.
Here’s what else we have. Our idiotic fascination for Lonzo Ball’s two best Summer League games being achieved wearing shoes other than those promoted by his father/huckster as though his skills and intelligence are all in his feet.
What this actually is, of course, is people using Lonzo’s momentary and mostly microscopic achievement to call LaVar a tedious swine without ever using his name or his product catalog because he, like McGregor and Mayweather, beats down crowds and calls it entertainment, and people have signed on in a weird backdoor way – by finding reasons to like the son as a weapon against the father.
Thus, Lonzo Ball gets to learn how to be a professional athlete of note while carrying the load of his father’s impression upon the nation as well as the loads of those who believe that sins of the father must revert to the son. Popularity’s dominant property is its corrosion, and Ball will have to have very fast feet and well-constructed shoes indeed to dance away from the rising tide of a bored fan base with an ax to grind.
It isn’t as instantly gratifying a train wreck as Mayweather-McGregor, but it is a triumph of the new marketing strategy of wholesale idiocy that diminishes the watcher as well as the watched.
Neither of these events are in and of themselves interesting. Mayweather-McGregor is simply a kangaroo boxing a bear because circus entertainment no longer has circuses as venues, and Ball’s summer bears almost no relationship to the true test of his career – how to be the best player on a terrible team and then make the adjustment to being the third best player on a rebuilding team.
Ball has a longer shelf life because of that single useful component, but it is made less rather than more interesting by the presence of his father, who is now indelibly part of the tale at a time when most parents leave their children to find their fortunes by the virtues of their skills and wits.
McGregor-Mayweather has the sole benefit of being cringeworthy both before, during and after the event, a month-long smear of degradation that reduces all involved, including those who buy the fight, into penitents, into rolling apologies. It is an event in which nobody gets out with any shred of dignity, with the single revolting example of the grisly accountant-beasts who will take the Internal Revenue’s cut immediately after the fight.
And if that isn’t Satan winning, then you don’t know how to score a game in which Satan plays on all the teams at once and sees to it that the game is scheduled in the middle of July because some client of his told him it was the best time of year for personal and professional disgrace with a scoreboard on the end of it.