The Robert Rowell-Chris Mullin skirmish in Golden State has seemed to be preparing for wholesale war for months now, and today Marcus Thompson III brings news Rowell (an implement of team ownership) has canned Mullin's top aide, assistant GM Pete D'Alessandro. Even worse, the Warriors replaced D'Alessandro with an ally of coach Don Nelson, assistant coach and former Grizz executive Larry Riley.
Nelson, by taking an extension with the team despite all the signs Mullin was being pushed out, has already aligned himself with ownership. It's an interesting turn of events, for sure: Nelson and owner Chris Cohan reportedly hate each other's guts, stemming from Nelson's first stint in Oakland in the early '90s (the Webber era) and resulting lawsuits when Nelson asserted he hadn't been fully paid. Mullin, a longtime confidante of Nellie beginning in Mullin's playing days with the W's, had to lobby Nelson to take over the aimless team two years ago. That hasn't exactly gone as planned.
Thompson suggests some reasons behind Rowell's move, but misses what to me is the easy explanation: the Warriors are trying to get Mullin to quit. They have already neutered him in the Baron Davis, Monta Ellis and Stephen Jackson situations ... heck, even with Nellie's extension! Now they are "killing his family," so to speak. Is it money? Is it PR? I don't know ... but it seems clear Rowell and Cohan (however involved he is at this point) would prefer Mullin to excuse himself from the table rather than be excused.