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By TED SILLANPAA

The Golden State Warriors are fortunate that the San Francisco 49ers’ quarterback controversy has overwhelmed the Bay Area media to the point that no one seems interested in the fact that even a better-than-expected start to the NBA season can’t keep the franchise from remaining one of the worst in professional sports.

The Warriors traded popular, high-scoring guard Monta Ellis and developing power forward Epke Udoh to obtain the rim-protector that every championship level team needs in 7-foot Andrew Bogut. Bogut had played very well for the Milwaukee Bucks, when he wasn’t injured.

The fact that the Warriors acquired him in March, after he fractured his ankle and had season-ending surgery, set off alarms all over the Bay Area. The Warriors insisted that there was nothing to worry about and that Bogut would be healthy and manning the middle in 2012-2013. His injury would heal. He would be fine. Golden State’s wildly faithful fan would have their big, capable center.

Well, it turns out that the Warriors lied to the media and their fans at the time of the trade. After averaging about 18 minutes, playing four of the season’s first five games, Bogut was sidelined again in November. The injury, that was much worse than reported by the Warriors, had flared up. The organization reported that he just didn’t have that lift, that explosion, and explained Bogut would be fine very soon. (No reason to hold off buying tickets, folks! The Warriors would be full strength any day … any day now … Bogut’s fine … just buy your tickets. Really. He’ll be fine.)

Then, Bogut got tired of being asked when he would return and admitted that the Warriors had lied and that the ankle surgery was really more serious than reported. Bogut said he would be out indefinitely — which was considerably longer than being on the verge of returning any day.

Exactly how outraged would you be if you’d paid for Warriors tickets on the promise that you’d be seeing a lineup with a proven, 7-foot center in the lineup … only to read Bogut’s explanation that he’d actually had microfracture surgery on his ankle and that his ankle was hurting and that … he had no idea when he’d play again.

“We don’t want to fool anybody, anymore. We don’t want to keep creating a little bit of excitement of, ‘Hey, Andrew might be playing Saturday. It might be Monday. He’s back.’ “

That’s what Warriors’ general manager Bob Myers should’ve said, oh, during the summer. At the very least, he should’ve said that when the club decided to remove Bogut from the active roster just five games into the season. Myers didn’t make that statement, though.

Bogut told the media, “We don’t want to fool anybody, anymore.”

Myers said the organization never intended to mislead anyone. But, it’s quite possible that one of the most mismanaged franchises in the NBA didn’t realize that selling tickets on promise of Bogut’s return was misleading and unethical. Bogut actually admitted that the team had asked him not to talk about how he’d underwent serious microfracture surgery, when small holes were drilled into bone to spur tissue growth.

Bogut didn’t want to mislead fans. The Warriors did it for months and would be doing it today if he hadn’t put a stop to it.

And, co-owner Joe Lacob wonders why Warriors fans nearly booed him out of his own building during a halftime ceremony honoring Chris Mullin last spring? The club, even with a nice start to this season, is the most poorly run organization in the NBA.

Thank goodness that Bogut finally put his injured foot down and said he was out indefinitely. The Warriors led fans and their media to believe Bogut would be back any day when Bogut knew all along that he might not be back at all this season. Bogut got tired of lying. No one knows how long the Warriors could’ve kept at it.

Telling the truth was the right thing to do and the Warriors never do the right thing.

The mishandling of the Bogut situation should be overshadowing the nice start to this season. But, hey, the 49ers have two competent quarterbacks and only one can play … so, who cares if the local NBA team is lying to its fans and asking its star player to do lie as well? The Warriors did beat the Pistons to stay a couple games above .500. Everything’s cool. Right?

Uh, no!

Bogut revealed that he underwent more serious microfracture surgery, in which small holes are drilled into bone to spur tissue growth. The San Francisco Chronicle first reported the surgery, which Bogut said the team asked him not to talk about.

Basketball players, particularly 7-foot basketball players, have a very, very difficult time coming back from microfracture surgery. (Greg Oden had microfracture surgery on his knees.) It’s not something the Warriors would’ve wanted to talk about when they’d traded Monta Ellis to get Bogut. It’s not something the Warriors wanted to mention when they were selling tickets for this season.

The true severity of Bogut’s injury is something the Warriors were duty bound to talk about openly and honestly. They did not.

How can anyone trust the Warriors organization again? Why did anyone trust them when they made the Bogut trade to begin with?

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Comments

24 Comments

  1. K.T. Hastings

    Argh. I’m not a Warriors fan but this isn’t right. Microfracture surgery is turning out to be a treatment that, for full recovery, has a lower batting average than an American League pitcher in interleague play. Only a “They’re HOW many games ahead of the Lakers?” start will keep this down to a low rumble.

    December 6th, 2012 12:35 am

  2. Alex Cartwright

    Ted, who are the warriors, again? Lower case ‘w’ on purpose

    December 6th, 2012 9:56 am

  3. Brian

    Nice article Ted…
    I am a Warriors fan and will continue to support them. Lying to the press and fans? Wrong of course! However, I don’t know that I would agree that they are one of the worst franchises in professional sports. To shed a little light on the silver lining of the dark Bogut cloud though… If it were not for the Bogut injury, Festus Ezeli would not get near the playing time that so many rookies need to learn the NBA. He is getting much needed experience playing against other teams starters. It seems like a catch 22 for most rookies, they lack experience and thus are relegated to playing off the bench, if at all. Sometimes talent can be stunted by riding the bench for a couple seasons.
    How do they get experience if they don’t play?

    While I’m not glad about they Bogut injury, it’s great that Ezeli is being used and learning at a high level against other starters. I think that he is our future center. And the future may come sooner than later.

    December 6th, 2012 11:41 am

  4. swiller

    I think they had to move Ellis or Curry. Getting a true center was a good move and I really like Bogut from a fan standpoint. It was very risky and in true Warrior fashion they never get a break. They certainly deserve criticism right now.

    I will echo Brian thoughts. The Warriors are playing good ball without them and it gives the young guys and team time to gel and get confident. Just like Shaq and other big men. If he can come back a month or two and get ready for the playoffs all can turn out fine. JUST DON’T RUSH IT! Watching Bogut play those first few games, may have done permanent damage.

    December 6th, 2012 12:17 pm

  5. overtime

    Swiller…Thanks for reading. I agree that they needed to use the Ellis trade chip to get better. Liking Bogut’s character and work ethic and talent when he’s healthy isn’t the question, obviously. I wonder how we can trust the Warriors front office types about anything … ever … moving forward? They were willing to risk Boguts’ future and lie to fans to, I suppose, sell tickets. Ted

    December 6th, 2012 1:18 pm

  6. overtime

    Brian…Thanks for reading. You’re insights are solid. The Warriors are just dysfunctional in the front office … a mess. That’s a separate story from Ezeli getting playing time and doing well, you know? We spent years wishing for an ownership change and what we got was ownership that hired Jerry West, says “Trust us, we’ll build a winner” and then lied about Bogut’s injury … told Bogut to lie, when it’s clearly not in his character … and sold lots of tickets. If they lie about this…and then lie about the fact they lied…it just bothers me as a fan. TED

    December 6th, 2012 2:04 pm

  7. overtime

    Alex…The level of support the Warriors get amazes me, even as a guy who rooted for them when Rick Barry played. So, for the “warriors” to be packing that arena and lining the pockets of ownership that won’t even be honest with us is galling. Thanks for reading. TED

    December 6th, 2012 2:06 pm

  8. swiller

    You make good points Overtime. Lying to the fans is the worst thing they could do and unnecessary. Warrior fans have proven to tolerate and support bad teams.

    Then there’s is the flawed new stadium plan. I love the idea of moving to SF. But on a pier under the Golden Gate Bridge? All I can think of is the next big earthquake and traffic off the Bay Bridge. I hope Treasure Island can house a venue some day. The world fair had the right idea.

    Keep Red’s Java House where it is!

    December 6th, 2012 5:09 pm

  9. swiller

    Sorry, meant the Bay Bridge. lol!

    December 6th, 2012 5:10 pm

  10. chuck

    Monta Ellis needed to go. i loved him to death but we just were never going to go anywhere with him and high volume shooting. If we didnt trade him we wouldnt have Richard Jeff, Festus Ezeli, Bogut, and we probably wouldnt have lost all those games and wouldnt have Harrsion Barnes either. Besides Monta would have no doubt Opted out of his contract at this seasons end with us just like hes gonna do in Milwaukee. I totally agree tho that Monta had great trade value and we could have done a way better trade

    December 6th, 2012 5:21 pm

  11. overtime

    Chuck…Thanks for reading. No question about the need to trade Ellis. I read somewhere that they also fouled up in just trading Stephen Jackson for Richard Jefferson after the Ellis deal. Jax had an expiring contract. Jefferson gets paid about $22 million this year and next combined. In fact, word was that if the Warriors had Jackson’s contract (and it’s not as though getting Jefferson was in any way valuable) … the Warriors would’ve been able to come up with a salary match when the Thunder, reportedly, contacted them about a deal involving Klay Thompson for … James Harden. So, if you squint, you can see the Warriors blowing a shot at Harden. TED

    December 6th, 2012 6:32 pm

  12. overtime

    Swiller…The new arena plan is probably tied to the SF downtown growth centered around AT&T Park, right? It’s not like the average Joe will be able to afford tickets, whether it’s under a bridge or not. Ted Sillanpaa

    December 6th, 2012 6:34 pm

  13. NotSoOldBlue

    This is an attempt to create a scandal where none exists. Everyone knew it was a long shot that he’d be ready to start the season and that he was damaged goods.

    But an injured Bogut was the best we were going to get for Ellis. A selfish small shooting guard, no matter how talented, is never going to be the linchpin of a successful playoff team.

    So even if Bogut never plays a game, it is addition by subtraction. We lost Ellis and Udoh and gain Barnes, Jefferson and an injured Bogut. Losing Udoh may be the bigger loss… And don’t forget that we know have a more logical backcourt with Curry running the show and Thompson growing into his role.

    If Bogut ever gets healthy, it becomes one of the best trades ever. If he doesn’t, it’s still a net positive for the dubs….

    December 6th, 2012 6:37 pm

  14. overtime

    Blue…Thanks for reading. As much as even I felt that they needed to trade Ellis to balance the backcourt, it’s absurd to suggest that Monta Ellis and Epke Udoh (and an injured Kwame Brown) would fetch only a potentially seriously injured Bogut in trade. I wasn’t a fan of how Ellis played and I prefer Curry as the Warriors lead guard. Under no circumstances would I be OK with an organization misleading fans in order to sell tickets. A net positive simply by unloading Ellis and Udoh? You really lost me there. Stay in touch. Ted Sillanpaa

    December 6th, 2012 7:11 pm

  15. Mr. Smith

    i’m a longtime Warriors fan and i can tell you nobody really cares about management ‘misleading’ the fans. When Bogut’s ready to play he’ll play. I haven’t been this excited about the Warriors since the Run TMC days. Everytime they step on the court i expect a victory. We are no longer undersized and getting beat up by bigger teams. We have 3 young exciting players, and when Bogut gets back and does anything, it’ll be all gravy. Make no mistake, this is ALL due to the new management. Drafting smart(Thompson and Barnes), signing key reserves(Landry and Jack), and getting bigger. The ‘We Believe’ and Run TMC days were exciting, but the only thing that lead to was a second round playoff exit. I am close to 40 and have wondered whether i will ever live to see a Warriors championship. We’ve got a lot of nice pieces and for the first time in a long while i have a glimmer of hope.

    December 6th, 2012 8:49 pm

  16. overtime

    Mr. Smith…Thanks for reading. The Warriors are playing well. They’re counting on folks like you not to care if you’re lied to and misled. I disagree with the theory that Bogut’s return would be “gravy.” They’re 11-7 now, but it’s a flawed team that was built on the promise of a veteran, 7-footer being healthy in the middle. Ted Sillanpaa

    December 6th, 2012 8:55 pm

  17. Mr. Smith

    Hi Ted. I’m not sure why you think fans would or should be outraged. Warrior fans are loyal and love basketball. We fill up the stands no matter who’s out there. Todd fuller, Paul Mokeski, Uwe Blab. Management wasn’t quick to yell it from the rooftops that Bogut had the microscopic surgery. Who cares? We know he is a good player but i doubt people are buying tickets to watch him play. Fans have suffered so much losing with the Warriors that nobody realistically expects them to be ‘winners’ anytime soon. Flawed team? I’d say this is the most complete Warriors team i’ve ever witnessed in my lifetime. Guards who can light it up, small forward with unlimited potential, rebounding like crazy and playing D and winning. Bogut had the surgery, tried to play, couldn’t, and will rest more. This is reality and management not being completely forthcoming will not change this. So what’s there to get upset about? It’s not going to change anything. All i care about is we are finishing games(on the road no less) and for the first time in my life i’m seeing a team that isn’t getting bullied around everywhere on the floor. Don’t listen to the haterz Mr. Lacob. You have changed this diehard Warriors fan’s life.

    December 6th, 2012 9:39 pm

  18. overtime

    Mr. Smith…I loved Mike Dunleavy when he was with Golden State. Loved him at Duke. Defended that draft pick. I noticed your email address mentions Dunleavy. … I expect ownership of businesses I deal with to be honest with me. I’m not upset and losing sleep. Honest. Just pointing out a problem that will haunt the Warriors again later. Ted

    December 6th, 2012 11:27 pm

  19. stickdog

    Winning cures everything.

    December 7th, 2012 12:54 am

  20. Caller

    Bring back Monta.

    December 7th, 2012 11:59 am

  21. overtime

    Stickdog…thanks for reading. But…winning cures everything? You better talk to Alex Smith about that. Stay in touch. TED

    December 7th, 2012 12:48 pm

  22. overtime

    Caller…Thanks for reading. Apparently, the 11-7 record and you alone are concerned about the Ellis trade fetching Bogut … and folks being misled about the severity of his foot injury! You and I are in the minority. “Lie to me! I don’t care! We’re 4 games over .500 and have Festus Ezeli!” Stay in touch. TED

    December 7th, 2012 12:50 pm

  23. Mr. Smith

    Ted. Any type of analysis about the Warriors is much appreciated. Looking forward to future articles by you. I think what excites me as well as other fans is that we do see a change in the culture of the Warriors which is evidenced by the players on the team. All the players seem to be stand up guys who are about winning and improving their games. Montae had to go, I think most astute observers of the game could agree on that. Management is putting an emphasis on character players buying into a system which we hope and believe will turn into a winning franchise. I loved Dunleavy and do now to because he’s the ultimate team player. He’s not flashy and has athletic shortcomings which i believe was why he was hated here in the Bay. But as a fan for over 35 years, can’t we say that the flashy players which lead to 2 playoff appearances just isn’t gonna cut it anymore. I would love to see a team that conistantly gets to the playoffs and heaven forbid make a run at the championship in my lifetime. The Giants and 49ers recently show that it’s more than the players, but the organization as a whole. Do you think Landry and Jack would have signed with us during the Cohan years? In games that are usually decided by 10 points or less, it’s a couple possessions here and there that decide it. One bad seed could change the whole attitude of the team and the outcome of games. The real glue is David Lee. As much criticism as he receives for his contract, you can see him giving 110 percent every night, encouraging, yelling, and supporting his teammates. I agree management should have been more honest. If asked for a little more patience, Warrior fans would have had no problem with that. A lot of us have been patiently waiting for decades.

    December 7th, 2012 3:14 pm

  24. overtime

    Smith…You make fine points. As I’ve mentioned here, I followed Rick Barry’s Warriors and … anyway … few have waited any longer than I have for wise player personnel moves, solid ownership, etc. The Warriors aren’t a playoff team with Festus Ezeli and Biedrins guarding the hoop … with Bogut, healthy, I really liked the team. Better than some of the terrible seasons is nice. I think the handling of the Bogut thing is more an indicator of management tendencies than putting a nice little team together. But … your opinion means every bit as much as mine, so I appreciate it. TED

    December 7th, 2012 9:56 pm

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