Warriors make purchase of D-League team official

485352.jpg

Warriors make purchase of D-League team official

June 28, 2011WARRIORS PAGE WARRIORS VIDEO

CSNBayArea.com staff

As reported Monday by Comcast SportsNet Bay Area's Matt Steinmetz, the Warriors announced the purchase of the NBA Development League's Dakota Wizards.

The Warriors are hosting a conference call with general manager Larry Riley today. We will have a report from CSN Insider Matt Steinmetz later today.

Here is the official release from the team:
PRESS RELEASE
OAKLAND, CA The Golden State Warriors, led by Co-Executive Chairmen Joe Lacob and Peter Guber, have purchased the Dakota Wizards franchise in the NBA Development League from Bismarck Professional Basketball LLC, it was announced today at a press conference in Bismarck, North Dakota. The Warriors will become the fourth NBA team to currently own and operate their own NBA D-League affiliate, joining San Antonio, Oklahoma City and the Los Angeles Lakers. Per team policy, terms of the agreement were not announced.

The Wizards will remain in Bismarck during the 2011-12 D-League season the franchises 17th in North Dakota and the club will explore options of a potential move to Northern California the following season. Jim Weyermann, one of the most successful and respected business figures in minor league sports and current President of the San Jose Giants, has been named the Vice President of New Franchise Development for the Warriors and will oversee all operational aspects of the D-League team from a business standpoint, including a potential relocation to Northern California.

The purchase of the Wizards will result in the ceasing of the Warriors D-League affiliation with the Reno Bighorns, which served as the teams affiliate each of the last two years. Dakota will mark the Warriors third D-League affiliation (also Bakersfield Jam from 2006-07 to 2008-09) since the inception of the league prior to the 2006-07 season. The Wizards concluded the 2010-11 season with a 19-31 record and in fourth place in the eight-team Eastern Conference.

Were really excited about the opportunity to acquire an NBA D-League team and view it as a proactive decision, said Lacob. As we have previously mentioned, one of our goals is to provide our organization with any elements that we think could provide us an advantage. The fact that we will now operate our own D-League team complete with our coaches and organizational philosophy will put us in a better position to evaluate and develop potential NBA players, including any of our first or second year players who may spend a stint in the D-League. We think this is a critical step and another plus for our organization. And, we could not have found a more qualified candidate than Jim Weyermann to oversee the team from an operations standpoint.

Additionally, wed like to thank Steve McCormick and the ownership group of the Dakota Wizards for their professionalism during this process. We are looking forward to working with the staff in Bismarck this season and feel this was the ideal situation due to their strong and passionate community.

Under NBA and D-League rules, the Warriors will have the ability to build and determine their own roster, but will not own the rights to the Dakota players unless the team signs a specific player to an NBA contract. No other NBA team will share this affiliation with Golden State. Last season, the Wizards were the D-League affiliate for the Memphis Grizzlies and Washington Wizards.

Im really encouraged by this acquisition of a D-League franchise and applaud Joe and Peter for their commitment in this area, said Warriors Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Larry Riley. We have always emphasized the D-League as an organization and, quite honestly, have had very good results and success with the players that we have either signed or developed in the D-League. I think this simply enhances our chances for that trend to continue. The fact that we have an opportunity to align ourselves with an established organization in Bismarck will aid in the overall process.

Im excited about this new opportunity and challenge, said Weyermann. I have a great appreciation and understanding for how minor league organizations can serve as a tremendous resource for their parent clubs. The Warriors are in the business to win basketball games and the acquisition of the Wizards will enhance their chances of achieving their long-term goals on the court.

First, Id like to thank the tremendous fans of Bismarck for their continued support of the Wizards, said Wizards owner Steve McCormick. The community has embraced the team for many years dating back to the CBA and IBA days. The new ownership group that will soon be in place, headed by Mr. Lacob and Mr. Guber, is extremely committed and I can assure you that the organization is in capable hands. Our fans will be the beneficiaries of that commitment during the upcoming 2011-12 season.

For more information on the Golden State Warriors, visit www.warriors.com. For more information on the Dakota Wizards, visit www.nba.comdleaguedakota, or the NBA Development League homepage at www.nba.comdleague.
Courtesy Golden State Warriors media relations.

Giants lineup: Hernandez in, Slater out

gyorkos-hernandez-giants-white-night.jpg
AP

Giants lineup: Hernandez in, Slater out

Bud Black and Bruce Bochy issued their lineups for today's series opener at AT&T Park:

Rockies (47-31) 
1. Charlie Blackmon (L) CF
2. DJ LeMahieu (R) 2B
3. Nolan Arenado (R) 3B
4. Mark Reynolds (R) 1B
5. Raimel Tapia (L) RF
6. Ian Desmond (R) LF
7. Trevor Story (R) SS
8. Tony Wolters (L) C
9. German Marquez (R) P (5-3, 3.92 ERA)

Giants (27-51)
1. Denard Span (L) CF
2. Joe Panik (L) 2B
3. Hunter Pence (R) RF
4. Buster Posey (R) C
5. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
6. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
7. Ryder Jones (L) 3B
8. Gorkys Hernandez (R) LF
9. Jeff Samardzija (R) P (2-9, 4.74 ERA)

Earthquakes players react to Kinnear's firing, Leitch's promotion

wondo-pray.jpg
USATI

Earthquakes players react to Kinnear's firing, Leitch's promotion

There are few players in Major League Soccer who are as synonymous with their club as Chris Wondolowski is with the San Jose Earthquakes. 

So it speaks to the current climate that is the Quakes when on Monday an emotional Wondolowski fought back tears and apologized as he cut an interview with media members short as he attempted to discuss the firing of Dominic Kinnear. 

The forward, who has played for Kinnear in San Jose and Houston, apologized as he walked away from the scrum on the training pitch back to the team locker room inside Avaya Stadium. 

The news that Kinnear is gone after 2 1/2 seasons with the club hit the players just as shockingly as the team’s fans on Sunday. And on Monday, while general manager Jesse Fioranelli did his best to clarify the intention behind his decision, players and new head coach Chris Leitch tried to steady the ship as the organization is confronted with the only truth that matters: the show must go on. 

“Still swirling, whirling — didn’t see it coming,” Wondolowski said about Kinnear’s firing. “I thought it was a bit interesting. I owe Dom and (assistant head John Spencer) where I am today. So, it’s definitely tough.” 

"We found out as a team Sunday morning,” said longtime Quakes midfielder Shea Salinas. “Came as a surprise to us as it did probably most of you. This is definitely unexpected. And my first reaction is just a little bit of remorse and sadness for Dom and John Spencer. They love this club, they love our team. They wanted us to win and they were doing everything in their power to do so. And I think that’s important to remember, that these guys poured every once of energy into this team.

“We got to speak with Dom [Monday] morning. I haven’t spoken to him personally. He came in and addressed the locker room and just gave us his best wishes and it was really nice and professional of him to have hear what he had to say."

“I hope everyone uses this as a signal to reflect on his own play [during] the first half of this season,” said newcomer and 2017 revelation Florian Jungwirth. “Everyone knows they can do better and like I said, I hope everyone uses it as a signal.” 

The Quakes were riding high after defeating Real Salt Lake on Saturday night 2-1 and propelling themselves back into the MLS playoff race — a place they haven’t visited since 2012. But, according to Fioranelli, the decision to fire Kinnear had been made the week prior after two-to-three months of internal consideration. And regardless of the win or where the Quakes currently sit on the table (fifth in the Western Conference), the time for change at the top was necessary. 

“First, most importantly, it’s the respect we have for Dominic and what he’s done here for this group,” Leitch said. “And I know that respect is shared by everyone in that locker room.”

“Change is scary. And change is also exciting,” Salinas said. "It’s a balance. it’s the same guys in the locker room. We have the same objective. We’re going to go out there to give it our all to win every game.”

Leitch, who will step over from his role as the club’s technical director to front the team on the pitch, echoed his players’ sentiments as the organization looks to turn the page. He’ll attempt to do so with the help of Alex Cavelo, as he'll fill in for John Spencer who was let go along with Kinnear. 

“I’ve been around this club an awfully long time,” Leitch said. “I know a lot about this club. It sure means a whole hell of a lot to me. So, my focus is squarely on that and reaching our goals for this season.”

Without going into specifics, the first-time MLS head coach said the talk of his becoming the team’s head coach started just recently. 

“You always want to be as close as you can to the game so, coaching is extremely interesting as that is the closest part to the game,” Leitch said. “When you work for a club, you do whatever the club wants, you do whatever the clubs need. So in this case, this is what the club needs. It’s always the goal to help the club in the biggest way possible.”

“Chris Leitch is not just the bridge. He is part of the foundation of this club,” Fioranelli said. “For that reason, we did want someone to come from abroad and take over this team We wanted someone that cares, someone that knows the players, knows the team to take on this important next chapter.

“He’s absolutely equipped to take on this challenge,” Fioranelli said, adding that the idea of hiring internally, while sending a message of promotion from within the organization all the way down to the club’s youth endeavors, played a huge part in naming Leitch the head coach.  

While off the pitch, part of the plan is to send a confident message from the general manager all the way down to the season ticket holders, in between the lines, the Quakes face a mountain-esque task of three games in eight days and the pressures that come with being a club that promised improvements to its fanbase since opening a new stadium a pair of seasons ago. 

“My confidence rests in these players,” Leitch said. “I know this is a damn good group. I know that setting expectations anything lower than playoffs is going to be lower than what this group wants.

“Goals are quite simple, they’re all collective. First one is make the playoffs, the second one is we got to make the playoffs and the third one after that is we got to make the playoffs. To say anything less would be to minimize the group that’s in that locker room.”