"Holy Toledo!"

January 29, 2008

What Is Going On In Oakland?

Filed under: Baskettball, NFL — Bill @ 5:26 pm

Perhaps it’s something in the water around here. Maybe all this rain has created some sort of Chinese water torcher for those in power of the Warriors & Raiders. Determining the cause might be difficult but there is no denying that something odd is going on around here.

Let’s begin with today’s announcement by the Golden St. Warriors that Chris Webber is returning to the scene of crime. For every Warriors fan warning lights are flashing brightly! Seeing Webber reunited with coach Don Nelson is about as unlikely as anyone would have guessed.

Haven’t we seen this movie? I seem to recall it ending badly for the Warriors. Thirteen years ago Webber demanded to be traded out of Oakland because he couldn’t handle the rough treatment Nelson dishes out to his younger players. A year later Nelson was gone, and the franchise was doomed to wallow in the cellar for years.

Fast forward to the fall of 2006. Due to the influence of Chris Mullin, Don Nelson returns to Oakland to try and resurrect this terrible franchise he helped destroy. To Nelly’s credit, along with a brilliant & well-timed trade by Mullin, the Warriors actually made the playoffs. Holy Toledo!

Claiming “we both have matured” Nelson is all smiles and seems giddy about the return of Chris Webber. I, on the other hand, have my doubts.

Just last April Webber was a Detroit Piston. While playing there he whined about his lack of playing time, getting only 25 minutes per game. He will likely get less for the Warriors. The Pistons did not resign Webber, nor did any NBA team. Has Webber really matured?

There is no doubt that Webber will help in match-ups against bigger teams in the Western Conference such as Utah, but Webber doesn’t like to play defense. He seems soft, wants to avoid contact, he certainly cannot be called a “banger” on the inside.

I hope I’m wrong, but no team with Chris Webber has ever won an NBA championship, or for that matter even reached the NBA Finals. He’s like a bad penny.

Has Al Davis lost his mind? If so does he remember where he left it? While I was gone on vacation a story broke that Al had sent Lane Kiffen a letter of resignation to sign. Kiffen did not sign it.

The story goes that Davis was unhappy about Kiffen’s name surfacing as a possible candidate for the head coaching jobs in Arkansas, Michigan, & UCLA. Kiffen denied those rumors, but apparently that wasn’t enough for Al. (This is the same thing that happened to Grduen if you recall when his name came up as a possible candidate for Notre Dame)

Then there was the report that surfaced that Kiffen & popular defensive co-ordinator Rob Ryan were feuding, and that Kiffen wanted Ryan out. Three days later the Raiders announced that Ryan was staying. Obviously Al stepped in and set the record straight to Kiffen.

If Al wanted Kiffen out why wouldn’t he just fire him? The answer is money. Lane Kiffen has two years left at $2 million per year, so if Al fires Kiffen he owes him $4 million. If Kiffen resigns he walks away from the money. That won’t happen.

Despite the fact that (Raiders PR man) John Herrera denies all of this, there are two things that lead me to believe this story has merit.

First, while at the Senior Bowl Kiffen was asked countless times if this story was true. Kiffen said, “No comment.” If the story was not true he would have said so, but he didn’t.

Second, look at the clothes Kiffen wore while he was coaching the North squad at the Senior Bowl. While every other Raider coach was covered in silver & black Raiders gear Kiffen was not. He wore no team specific clothes at all. This is extremely odd behavior for an NFL head coach. Makes you wonder doesn’t it?

After a several seasons of watching Raider teams barely show up for games this was the first time we have seen them really play hard for their head coach. Kiffen is a bright young guy who knows how to evaluate the young talent coming out of college. For the first time in years Raider fans saw improvement, and had reason to believe that success was around the corner. And now this…..

If Kiffen is out when will it happen?
Very soon, perhaps in the next week or so.

If Kiffen is fired who will replace him?
Names like James Lofton (who was interviewed on Monday by the Raiders), Jim Fassel (who Al has considered in the past), and (god forbid) Dennis Green, as well as current Raider coaches Greg Knapp & Rob Ryan.

Perhaps Al should just hire himself, because nobody will ever live up to his unreasonable expectations.

(If they hire Dennis Green I am packing up all my Raiders memorabilia and moving to Hawaii.)


  1. Scary to think Al could live another 15 years and not give up control… Nice unis, though.

    Comment by Ralph Zig Tyko — January 29, 2008 @ 7:51 pm

  2. If Al was driving they would take away his keys.

    Comment by Bill — January 30, 2008 @ 10:40 am

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