Chronicle Conversation: 1-on-1 with Hall of Famer Don Nelson
Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Don Nelson, former coach of the Warriors, talks with Greg Papa about his old team and the Lakers' new hire.
Personal life got an opportunity not only to coach. When he was young player but also. Good chance to work for him when he became the general manager of the Golden State Warriors -- a confirmed a coach towards the end of his career which was me. And then the ensuing got a chance to I was who's boss for awhile -- he was my boss and I cherish every moment with all you guys. Thank you very much. -- in the middle of their sacks Sanders and Bob Lanier and I know someone in the Springfield mass and now he has every -- sun chronicle live for the chronicle conversation power and sir I'm just. Just great couldn't be better the hall of Famer and I your speech was just fabulous we we spoke CF but a week before you went to Springfield. And it was so genuine of the did you have any notes in funny when you delivered that speech. I have a couple things up too much so it is thought I was. Kind of explain you know what basketball -- through my life and then had a lot of people to thank. To help me along the way. You know so -- -- to vintage Nellie and I a lot of great faces in the crowd of people you played the passenger John have a check was there and many others Mark Jackson the coach of the Warriors reserves saw him in the crowd and so are you watch and the Warriors play much this early year they got off to a you don't decent start three and soon they lose Bogut for a couple of games they wind up losing them both -- -- -- finishing your your former franchise -- much. Not too much. So the Sacramento game and they didn't play real well that particular night -- I really do like to -- -- like the things that that they're doing them I think talk or work out in their favor before very long. The bed at night you watched Bogut struggles early in the game matching up with cousins and and later in the game and Ankiel played on. Down the stretch I know you're a big fan of Andrew Bogut for what what's your take got it down the -- latest near injury about the you know inevitably shut it down for a week to ten days now the news today as he's not to make the road trip. A starting on Friday in Minneapolis was probably going to be a couple of weeks trees on the floor for this time. Was less than that they didn't expect -- you know when you come off of surgery. Especially when you're that size carry that kind of wait. It's gonna take a while and I don't think. But they expected that he would be playing big minutes at this time of the year that they -- take it easy with a I wouldn't call it a setback I think it's just make sure that he gets well and he's had a history of injuries that's really the only negative. In the -- game I -- the guy really can play. He's an all star caliber player when I know with size and defense of abilities you blocked shots he does everything really can scoring could pass. So that's really good screens and -- -- really does at all. Tonight you're watching against the kings -- curry struggled with a shot and he missed his first and that -- -- three for fifteen he's had a couple of nights where he's not shot the ball well that airplane come more. Off the ball when your check is in the game jacks play the point encourage playing off the ball you always like stuck with the ball his -- -- it. I like them both ways. You know I didn't have the of how great backup point guard that I could go play of off the ball that much and so. What I had to do really was kind of -- -- in the -- in the point guard having the ball more but no I love to have. Point guards who can shoot -- somebody -- play a point forward would be a perfect scenario -- to run the offense because point guards can get open off of screens. Easier the most. The Warriors just before the start of the new year had that deadline to sign him or he would have been a restricted free agent this summer they -- a four year deal. For 44 Melanie has the you know the history of the ankle problems put on your GM camp would you. -- carried a four year deal for the opener. Well I think except current special I think you feel if he could be another Steve Nash and he's had some setbacks was. Was injuries which you can't really that let that affect cute. As long as you know that there's not going to be a history of that happening -- Sprewell got that behind him -- last -- -- and his his body matures and an injury goes away well he'll be the player that we all of thought that he would be. -- mentioned Steve Nash is strange to see him in purple and gold these earlier games he's been out actually with the fracture the leg and part of the reason I got off to the the horrible start -- one -- four. You're you're good friend George Karl was on television that night he was very outspoken about the firing of Mike Brown the Lakers fired just I just five games into the new. Here Nelson and George's so this is bad for basketball it's bad for the business. How do you react to that five games and 82 new offense so -- if the Lakers gonna fire him that so what they finally offseason. Well you know you don't know all the situations. That led to the firing. For certainly. You know they should have some idea of what the guy -- was all about. They've been watched you for a full year. Went I think general of the Princeton offense is you know is very different called. To play in the pro games that would begin really at -- four seconds and a prince Princeton offense should be more time in the forty seconds at least. On the clock. So it's a difficult. Offense. But you guys are good for coaches and to see a fifth a fellow coach get fired five games. But you don't prove. Franchise have to the franchise that to make those decisions than when they make it more you got to live by it. What was your take and he had dalliance with Phil Jackson coming back and ultimately going to my agent Tony is the head coach that you saw I was a surprises anybody first of all I didn't know that Phil Jackson was -- -- coaching but. What they said that he was that he wanted to talk to them I thought it was a slam dunk those cut and dried that he would be their next coach and I think everybody did. And -- -- -- -- Kurt -- who. Here's on the inside really well also with the Lakers it was Phil's going to be his assistant coach. He's a lot of those things were not true about the demands so there were no demands of all the didn't set a date. To talk about the contract. And that was to happen Monday we'll Phil gets a call on Sunday that they've ordered filled the position. I don't really know what they're what was going on there but I was -- surprised -- -- This collection of talent and I got your guys Steve Nash and they've got Colby and they've got brought -- -- and they got Dwight Howard will when they get this up and running. Can anybody in the west hang with these guys. They shouldn't be able to -- old players. Do get injured more. And when they get injured it takes them longer to recover. And so the Lakers now are getting old but. You know they've got a pretty good young center there and I'd imagine he'll do just fine with his back injury. The Lakers are the strongest team in the west when they're healthy and when they know what they're doing where they're going in and I think GM Tony is actually a good match for Steve Nash obviously they know each other. Padilla Tony knows all those guys because of the news -- coach. So with the USA team and so we you know he has relationships -- -- I'm not saying it wasn't a good hire I think you know. But I was just surprised that it's still wanna move I thought Phil would get it. Oklahoma City on the west a year ago and they have been a curious call before the season's start of the trade one of their best players James Harden. Actually Houston Rockets minus Harden can Oklahoma City which -- and Westbrook challenge the Lakers. Yes akin. You know you have to -- Newton challenge anybody. He's a very special player. And they have a really good team they've been together for a long time and I think they'll find a way to be as good as they were with Harden Harden I think is the star player. But man you look what they got for the guys that get multiple first round picks besides what heck of a player to replace him. I don't know how you don't do that deal -- through them and know that you're gonna lose a guy anyway because he was from your star player. And he could ever be that star player their there's one star there maybe two was Westbrook. But you know he was going to be the third guy there he wanted to be -- to -- the main guy and so. I thought I knew it was special that he let them know. And let them make a deal didn't just jump ship him. -- and leave room was with no options. And here's the main guys back in town for hall hall of fame night tomorrow night you're -- -- -- at ORACLE -- of the Warriors take down -- the Atlanta Hawks so it's going to be nice to come back and and say. Hey get to the fans of the Bay Area again it will be a little bit special game for me and I'm looking forward to watch in the lawyers play a person I haven't seen him go for awhile now. And just say hello -- -- lawyer friends in the area have been here many many years coaching you know -- Twice and in and out and remember a bit of a gap in between but. A lot of great friends here and really enjoyed my time here. Probably more than any other place they're gonna have AM pregame VIP reception with Nelson and after a post game VIP reception halftime. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- But the hall of Famer John Nelson could see it looks forward to.