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Don Nelson may be back for one final season

Aug 2, 2010, 9:29 AM EDT

NBA_nelson_250.jpgThe impression — even from new incoming owner Joe Lacob himself — is that there will be big changes for Golden State. Which is good, because what the Warriors have been doing has not worked for a long time. Not on the court in particular. Housecleaning is called for.

Which means coach Don Nelson will be gone… but maybe not for another year.

It’s a timing issue, as Marcus Thompson of the Oakland Tribune points out.

“The real question is when
we begin the future,” Lacob said, “and whether Nelson is the right guy
to have as our coach in the meantime. We will have to make that
decision.”

Lacob won the bidding for the team on July 15, but now he has to get all the minority owner ducks in a row, plus let lawyers get rich on the reams of paperwork that has to be done. It takes time.

He said he expects to take control of the team in late September. Right when training camp starts. While there may be some good candidates sitting on the sidelines, most people around basketball have chosen their dance partners for the upcoming season by that point. It will be hard to get a top-flight candidate at that time.

Even if Lacob thought he could get someone good, there will not really be time to fire Nelson and hire a new coach, have said coach put together a staff plus put together a detailed new game plan before camp starts. Changing coaches and systems — and whoever comes in will have a very different system — in the middle of camp puts a team behind the eight ball.

Then there is the money issue — Lacob would still have to pay Nelson his $6 million plus whatever a new coach would be owed.

Lacob could turn the team over to top assistant Keith Smart, but that is not a radical change in direction, that is not a different voice in the locker room. And Smart would face the same time crunch issues in making any changes he would want to implement as any other new coach brought in.

This may still happen, Nelson may be gone. Lacob has said he wants a younger, new generation coach out of the Scott Brooks mold in Oklahoma city. But the timing may force Lacob to be patient, and test the patience of Warriors fans as they get one more year of Don Nelson system.

Sorry Ekpe Udoh, even when you do get back from your wrist injury, this news will mean a lot of sitting. No matter how well you play.

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