Don Nelson Rumors
Another thing working in Carlisle’s favor: communication. He and Cuban, as well as Nelson and the players, talk constantly. Rare is the moment when the left hand doesn’t know what the right is doing. “Obviously, he’s easy to get along with,” Don Nelson said with a laugh. “He must be to stay this long.”
These days, Nelson has retired to the shores of Hawaii, where he is unplugged from the NBA transactions wire and unburdened by old beefs with former players. Still, his bouts with Ellis are well known. Nelson inherited Ellis in his second year in the league and coached him until the 2009-10 season. “Well, the first thing that pops into my head is that he’s …” Nelson starts, and you’re expecting to hear a sort of basketball pejorative: selfish scorer, one-dimensional ball hog. And yet, Nelson makes a surprising declaration. “…a terrific player,” he finishes.
In other words, the revolution that Nash started in Phoenix — echoing previous attempts by Don Nelson with the Warriors in the 1990s — came full circle a week ago in Cleveland. “We were a little early,” said Nash, who retired this year after an injury-plagued last three years with the Lakers. “I mean, maybe if we would have got a few more bounces we would have won and we would have broken through that barrier, but that train of thought broke over the last 10 years, and I mean, I think the vindication for Mike is that this series ended up being a small-ball series for the meat of it.”
Riley also liked that Curry was the son of a successful and respected ex-NBA player. Riley sold then-Warriors coach Don Nelson on Curry as well. Austin and Dell Curry still tried to keep the Warriors away from Stephen Curry. But Austin told then-Knicks president Donnie Walsh that unless they could trade up, he expected Golden State to draft Curry. Austin said Walsh didn’t believe him because the Warriors already had guard Monta Ellis. “I said, ‘Larry, I like you a lot and respect you a lot, but don’t take Steph. This is not the right place for him,’ ” Austin said. “We wanted him in New York.” Said Riley: “Dell was the same way. He was almost cold.”