Monday, March 5, 2012

Hopefully (for the Hornets) Stern Vetoes Again

Staff writer Adam Levine says a prayer for Hornets fans, who are at risk of enduring Mike Dunleavy's curse. 

ESPN LA’s Ramona Shelburne, one of our favorite LA sports writers, reported last week that Mike Dunleavy could be back in the NBA. He is the lead negotiator and part of the group that is the favorite to win the bid to buy New Orleans Hornets.

Upon hearing the news, I immediately felt sorry for the city of New Orleans—nobody should have to endure his opposite-Midas touch again. After failing at four NBA coaching jobs, during which he racked up a few of the most famous choke-moments in recent history, this may be the only way Dunleavy can ever return to the league. Having endured years of “Dumbleavy” woes while he headed the Clippers, I can only say an NBA-prayer for the fans of New Orleans if they have put up with him in any capacity. But hey, look on the bright side: if you own a part of a NBA franchise, you are not allowed to take an active role in the team as a player or coach. Sorry Hornets’ fans, Mike won’t be suiting up and putting that under-.500 coaching record to work.

The investment group is led by Orange County businessman Raj Bhathal. With the Honda Center in Anahiem actively trying to get a NBA team in the building, could they be hoping to move the failing Hornets to Anaheim? Are they trying to pull a hijack-move a la Clay Bennett? Regardless, even if the team does stay in New Orleans, I’m sure Dunleavy will find ways to alienate everyone involved with Hornets basketball like he did in Clipperland.

Let’s take a stroll down memory lane...

I oh-so-fondly recall the way he constantly, and not-so-privately, feuded with stars on the team, including Corey Maggette and Baron Davis. Must I remind you of how he even lambasted fans with graphic language? (Okay fine, that was pretty funny... see: Adam's bio). Or how owner Donald Sterling didn’t even want to pay him the remainder of his contract, resulting in a petty legal battle. We could reminisce about how, when making General manager decisions (yes he was also the General Manager in case you forgot or blocked it from your memory), he drafted Yoroslav Koreolov over Danny Granger and Al Thorton over Nick Young. Or about the infamous substitution of rookie Daniel Ewing, which lead to Raja Bell knocking down the biggest 3 of the 2006 playoff series against the Suns? He also helped force Elgin Baylor out of the staples center, deserved or not.

The list of coaching and managerial blunders goes on; you wanna sit here all night? To fully grasp his his "Reign-of-Error", it's important to keep in mind that Mike Dunleavy was not only head coach, but also simultaneously held the reigns as the General Manager. No NBA coach since the Heat’s legendary Pat Riley has held both duties at the same time. If seasoned winners such as Gregg Popovich, Phil Jackson, and Jerry Sloan were never offered dual GM/Coaching responsibilities, why on earth would a mediocre coach like Dunleavy get the nod? After pushing it for a couple seasons, he was somehow able to talk Sterling into pushing Elgin Baylor into a figurehead role and overtake control of the team. After several seasons of losing games, out of shape stars, and underachieving role players, Dunleavy was finally fired.

Typically, owners are not as involved on a day-to-day basis as the coach and GM, but ultimately they do weild significant power over the team. And although almost anything would be an improvement in New Orleans (considering the current state of the organization), Dunleavy isn't the guy you want weilding that power. Who knows exactly how he'll sabotage his next team, but at least he won't be on the sidelines (well, unless he's courtside).

Also, if he moves the team to Anahiem, maybe he can convince Darrell Bailey to become Hornet Darrell - that is, if Darrell can erase 2006-2009 from his memory. 

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