It may be eight days before the start of training camp, but 49ers owner Jed York has started to run interference for new head coach Jim Tomsula already.
In an interview with The MMQB, York likened the exodus of Jim Harbaugh to the situation that the Warriors faced a year ago, although at least he didn’t insult our intelligence with predictions of a similar outcome.
“Culture is huge. That’s the difference between a championship-caliber team and a championship team,” said York, unable to resist a dig at his former coach. “You look at the Golden State Warriors. They were the dumbest team in the NBA for letting Mark Jackson go, who won the most games in the franchise’s history.
How could you be so dumb? They bring in Steve Kerr, who has been around the game for a long period of time but has never coached before. Kerr changes the culture, comes in with a different perspective, and look what happens.”
OK, Balls gets the first part. Jackson and Harbaugh have oppressive personalities that can grind on people. In coaching years, both had been around a while, and there were signs of a disconnect with their players.
It’s just that the Niner Faithful would feel a lot better if their team had a Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green on the roster.
Kerr and Tomsula couldn’t have been dealt more different hands. Kerr inherited a young, talented team with untapped potential. Tomsula got stuck with a used Volvo, basically, a team gutted by old age and retirements and with very little young talent to bridge the gap. Any comparison to Kerr only makes his job more difficult.
So, yeah, maybe it was time for Harbaugh to hit the road. But it’s kind of dumb to hand the keys to someone with no experience at the position and give him leftovers to work with, then put the product in a fancy new stadium and expect the public to buy the whole thing.
CHANGING PLACES: The latest Forbes rankings give a strong hint about where the local sports franchises are headed right now.
At a net worth of $2 billion, the Giants moved to 14th overall as the third-most profitable team in baseball last year. The 49ers ($1.6 billion) dropped from 20th to 22nd overall, 15 spots ahead of the Warriors ($1.3 billion), who jumped to 37th place.
The smart money says the Warriors will catch and pass the 49ers in the next three years, by which time one will have moved to a new arena in San Francisco and the other will have withered away in Santa Clara even in the more-prosperous-than-ever NFL.
HOW ’BOUT DEM SPURS? So much praise has been heaped upon the San Antonio Spurs this offseason, it’s only a matter of time before someone compares them to the 1990’s Chicago Bulls teams.
And that’s just fine with the Warriors, who are wise to play along with it.
After coach Kerr recently joked that counterpart Gregg Popovich should resign if the Spurs didn’t win it all next season, general manager Bob Myers joined him on their bandwagon.
“Even though we had such a great season, I think a lot of people still probably didn’t think we’d come out as champions,” Myers told NBA.com. “So I don’t think we’re used to being favorites. And now that the Spurs are the favorites, we can let them go back to being the favorites.”
What the Warriors have done is take the pressure off themselves and put it squarely on a Spurs team that faces enormous expectations already. Better to play the no-respect card later.
CAN’T WAIT: The Spurs-Warriors rivalry packs so many story lines and so much talent and back-and-forth banter, the regular season can’t get here soon enough.
“I cheer for them to do well, but I don’t want them to get every free agent,” Kerr said. “But Pop’s my guy. I’m always happy for him when he has success. Part of that is we’re going to try to kick their asses and they’re going to kick ours. It’s a good mutual respect.”
JUST SAYIN’: LeBron James made his motion picture debut in “Trainwreck” this week. And when the Warriors unveil their NBA championship movie in Oakland tonight, James will have some ideas for Trainwreck II — and he won’t have to act at all.
PLAYER IS ALL IN: It’s easy to pile on Tiger Woods these days, but former South African great Gary Player isn’t about to give up on the 258th-ranked player in the world just yet.
“We need Tiger Woods. Why? He’s a man of color. We need a black champion,” Player said at the Berenberg Gary Player Invitational in England this week. “Go to Africa, where we’ve got all these young black kids used to seeing a white guy as the champion. Now they’re getting inspired. They’re sitting in front of their TV sets. It inspires them. It gets them interested in golf.”
Player’s advice: Find a qualified instructor and stick with him.
“You’ve got to go for a lesson with someone who has been in the arena,” Player said. “If I want to know about business, I’ll go to a businessman, I’ll come to you for good interviews; everyone has got their skills.
But Tiger Woods, he needs it overall — mentally, physically and theoretically — so he can get back to normality.”
THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMM: Los Angeles slugger Albert Pujols is on a pace for 51 home runs this season. Presumably, this is the same Angel who hasn’t hit more than 30 homers since he left St. Louis three years ago.
THE LIST: The NBA announced that any televised game can be purchased for $6.99 next season, but when you consider that all of them are available for $199.99 via League Pass, Balls likes this scale better:
– Two playoff teams: $4.95 per game
-One playoff team: $2.95
-No playoff teams: $0.95
-Any Philadelphia 76ers-New York Knicks game: The NBA pays you $6.99.Golden State WarriorsJed YorkJim HarbaughSan Francisco 49ersSteve Kerr