Golden State Warriors Snag Lou Amundson: First Take

In the surest sign to date that Don Nelson does not intend to play small this season, the Warriors just signed the 6-9″ 240 lb. Lou Amundson to a 2-year $5 million deal. There will be no more reliance on 20-year-old matchstick men to hold off the behemoths in the paint.  There will be no more courting of injury disasters such as befell the Warriors front-line last year, when both Brandon Wright and Anthony Randolph disappeared for the season.  There will be no more Corey Maggette at power forward. The Warriors are going to play big this season, even when they go to the bench.

And they are going to play with veterans. High basketball IQ veterans.


As most basketball fans are aware, Amundson is known as a hustle player off the bench.  You can’t say he’s great at any one thing, but he plays hard and he plays tough. He will never dog it. He will never, a la Brandan Wright, shie away from contact. He will never, ever, back down in the paint.  He is the answer to the question “Who will lead the Warriors in Melted Brains, now that Anthony Randoph is gone?”  As this video shows:

And while not a great shot blocker, he does have the ability to make his presence known in the middle:

What Amundson is not, in any way, shape or form, is an offensive player.  He cannot shoot at all, and is a disastrous 50% from the line.  I think its safe to say that Amundson can never share the floor with Andris Biedrins, and can never be on the floor at the end of games.  He needs to be paired with a shooter on the front line, which will make playing alongside Brandan Wright difficult as well. He does run the floor well, though, so maybe Nellie can get away with Amundson and Wright together for short stretches. But I think we will all enjoy watching Amundson play with Udoh a lot more.

A few more quick thoughts:

  • Would Tolliver have been better?  From an offensive standpoint, definitely.  Tolliver can do almost anything you ask him to do on the court from the four position.  He is extraordinarily versatile, and a perfect fit for a Nellie team.  And it appears that the Warriors would have preferred to sign him.  However, I think the loss of Udoh takes some of the sting out of replacing Tolliver with Amundson. The Warriors needed more size to hold the fort until Udoh returns, and they got it.
  • Why in the world would Tolliver choose the TWolves, of all teams, over the Warriors?  With the Warriors he had the beautiful Bay Area, a transcendant point guard in Stephen Curry, a system made for him, and a guarantee of significant minutes.  In Minnesota he has arctic blasts, frozen tundra and endless winter night, Michele Bachmann, no point guard at all, and the worst system in the NBA. What in the world could have possessed him?  I have wracked my brain over this, and this is the only thing I could come up with: David Kahn must have promised the 6-7″ Tolliver that he would get minutes at small forward, which is the dream of all tweeners (think Al Harrington, Matt Barnes, Brandan Wright and yes, Anthony Randolph). Kahn is just stupid enough to have done this.  Let’s watch and see.
  • Brandan Wright’s quick hook just got quicker.  If that’s possible.
  • As the Marc Stein ESPN article makes clear, the Warriors were able to outbid the Hornets for Amundson because of the shrewd cap management of Larry Riley.  Doesn’t it feel great to have real professionals in the Warriors’ front office?

42 Responses to Golden State Warriors Snag Lou Amundson: First Take

  1. Very glad to see this come through. I echo your sentiment about that top notch horse trader Larry Riley, he’s done a good job this offseason. But perhpahs you should offer a second title this post, “Pining for Tolliver”.

  2. I don’t dislike BW, but I expect him and his expiring contract to be traded. The rookie contract isn’t worth that much $-wise, but as soon as the Ws can find the right fit for it in a deal (which I suspect they’ve already been attempting), I think he’s gone . I root for his success either way though.

  3. This signing corrects the Dubs mistake of not signing Amundson when they had him in summer league a few years ago. He looked like the best player on the floor at times with his hustle. With his signing there is little downside to trading Wright–unless of course one still clings to the irrational belief that BW is the messiah. Unlikely the Dubs can get much considering BW’s non-performance in the summer league. I’d take a chance on a BW for Rudy Fernandez swap.

  4. Fanhouse writes about the Amundson signing that also includes a video interview.

  5. Maywether is 5’8″, with CJ’s superior length and speed, I suggest jab and run CJ run!

  6. As usual, your analysis is spot on, Feltbot, and thanks for the info on Rodney Carney as well. He looks like a solid, if not flashy, add.

    I am rejoicing indeed over the Amundson signing, and for more reasons than our matching ponytails. I like this move a lot. (It was priceless when he pranked Shaq, and that shows some cojones.) Regardless what his shooting weaknesses might be, getting Amundson is a great move for us where we need it most right now. Like David Lee, his videos and interviews demonstrate a high basketball IQ, toughness and character. I am glad to have him on our side now, since he used to irritate me no end with his defensive proficiency and tenacity when he played for the Suns. Their loss is our gain. He will indeed thrive in Don Nelson’s style of basketball, along with our other new players. There must be a reason why they all talk about how much they want to play in an up-tempo system.

    I also would really like to see Nellie finally lose his completely undeserved reputation for not valuing defense. With the player additions to the team this season, he will be able to show what he can do with a legitimate, if not stellar, defensive presence. Major props to Larry Riley for finding and relentlessly pursuing good players and managing the money well so that we could get them.

    It also looks like we could use that free throw shooting coach for more than one reason now. I’ll take the tradeoff, and maybe Louis Amundson has been working on his free throw form all summer and will dazzle us all. If so, I will utter a very refined and polite “woo hoo” so as not to besmirch this blog’s well-deserved reputation as the gathering place for Warriors cognoscenti.

  7. Not only do we attract articulate cognoscenti (perhaps a redundancy), is it possible one of them is a female?!? Take that, you pasty-faced Kawakami nerds!

  8. Whether you love Nellie or not, players want to play in his system. That includes Amundsen. And I am pretty certain that Nellie will return to coach the final year of his contract. Here’s my speculative reasoning: The Lacub/Guber team could have pushed ownership approval through by now…if they wanted to. Instead, they chose to drag it out until late October by adding minority owners. They already indicated they could have closed the deal with their own funds. Of course, they could close the deal and add minority owners later. I believe rather than take ownership this close to training camp with no ideal replacements available and combined with the vocal minority of fans who want Nellie gone; they would rather take the reins of the franchise at such a date where a change in head coach is impractical. From Lacob’s various interviews, I gathered that he respects and admires Don Nelson and, in fact, he wants to keep Nellie for this year of transition. And let’s not forget Lacob is a poker player and this approach fits perfectly into the mindset of a poker playing venture capitalist. In other words, delaying the change in ownership has given him a good excuse for not cutting Nellie lose and, hopefully, minimizes the ire of the fans anxious for Nelson’s ouster.

  9. I like your reasoning, Ape, especially the idea that Lacob is playing poker by hiding his real cards. I’d like to think that underneath the poker face, Lacob recognizes how good a coach Nelson is, how well Nelson played the lousy hand he was dealt the past few years, and how good the cards are looking for the coming season. If Riley can pick up another face card or two, we’re in for some extra excitement.

    As to the (so-called) fans anxious for Nelson’s ouster, they may be noisy but they’re largely irrelevant to a smart owner who’s got his arena sold out pretty much every night. They help create “buzz,” that’s all.

  10. Sounds good to me Ape, altho I’m curious to see one thing Lacob has said that indicates respect for Don Nelson. I’ve sensed real ambivalence, at best.

    Andria, I would love to get my hands on Biedrins and Amundson and teach them my eccentric (but correct) theories on free throw shooting. I think I could transform them overnight. Such are the tepid fantasies of feltbot at this stage of his life…

  11. Ape: strong analysis as usual. Hope you’re right.

    Question for the cognoscenti (only half-serious…and yet…):

    Amundson seems to have a good sense of humor about himself, as evidenced by this vid:

    Could he be talked into learning the Rick Barry free throw, thereby removing the shame for AB? Maybe he could talk Biedrins into it after they have a chance to bond. They could be the “Under-dogs” or the “Barry Brothers” (guess that one’s taken) or the “Scrappin’ Grannies.” Okay maybe not.

    Just a thought

  12. fb: As I was taking too long to post my last comment, you were posting your own free throw concept! Something in the air.

  13. One thing is certain. Lacob (I assume he’s running point) isn’t rushing into anything or cleaning house just for the sake of cleaning house. Nor is he trying to put his imprint — or his ego — on the organization. Or dumping cash senselessly.

    Actually, the only decision I’ve heard Lacob say was his was the Lin acquisition. I like that deal — small investment with big pot odds, and it’s already started paying off. This also means that if Lin doesn’t pan out, he’ll take the blame, not Riley. Lin, however, I’m sure will justify his income and selection next year, even if in a minor role.

    Which also suggests that he’s let Riley make the other decisions. (Nelson said he stays out of these, which I don’t quite believe, and I’m sure Riley has consulted with Lacob, but still.) My take is that Riley is making up for past mistakes — a lot of expensive pieces that didn’t fit, whoever made those decisions — and has been taking his time the past year assembling a team that makes sense. This is Riley’s team.

    And — considering what was available, the salary cap, who would come here, and throwing out those fantasy trades we’ve been hearing about — how much better could he have done? This feels more like a team, with players to fit specific needs, who have set roles to play. Also there is room for growth with those expiring contracts.

    As for Nelson, I’m sure Lacob wanted to satisfy those who needed satisfying that he considered all other options, and did so by putting Nelson on hold. I wouldn’t doubt he has put feelers out, probably without results. Nelson is going to start because he’s the best option available. Lacob is just waiting for the right time to make the announcement.

  14. Meet the new Warriors:

  15. To follow up on my conspiracy theory and to rebut TK’s post this morning. From Lacob’s Kawakami interview: “It may be that some changes will be made that people want to see. And it may be that some don’t get made immediately that people think has to happen.”; “timing will matter”. And from my recollection from one of Lacob’s interviews, he was a huge fan of the We Believe; We Believe equals Don Nelson. Lacob has purposely been vague when asked about Nellie, he knows the temperature in the room (especially when talking to Kawakami). He really is in a political situation, as the president elect, he knows he has to make some decisions that go against public opinion and every move he makes is calculated. So, I think It will really come down to Nellie. He can keep the job if he wants to but he has to show Lacob something. And I think that something is passion for the game. So if you’re getting paid whether you do the job or not, forgot more about basketball than Lacob will evey know, don’t like taking orders and your 70; how far backwards are you willing to bend? It really comes down to passion and love of the game. If he’s still got it, I think he has the job.

  16. Aperacer, I think Nelli wants to coach this team. I read TK’s blog that you referred to and responded (posted below) earlier this AM on his site. (BTW, “Jim E” is a blogger who posted there before I did and made some good points)


    If you read this piece from Matt Steinmetz from last week, it quotes Larry Riley and implies that BOTH Riley and Nelson are working on putting the 2010 team together.

    I totally agree with Jim E in regards to Nelson’s history with players cut from the same mold as Amundson. If anything, the offseason moves reaffirms Nelson’s desire to coach this coming season. Nelson wants to win, which is why the last 2 seasons have been so hard for him to approach as a coach nearing the end of his career. Between injuries and extreme youth the Warriors were both hopeless and helpless to reach any seasonal win totals of relevance.

    At least heading into this season, GSW has greatly improved their rebounding capabilities, which should lead to better defense, which should lead to more wins. The notion that Nelson could care less about stopping the other team from scoring is absurd in it’s very context, since that suggests that Nelson, the supposed “offensive genius”, only cares about his team leading the league in scoring. While “genius” is an appropriate way to describe many aspects of Nelson’s coaching career, his ultimate desire to win should never be minimized or disregarded. Nelson is not stupid. Even his detractors have never accused him of that. He knows that defense will always play a role in winning, and especially winning championships. So to build a team (and make no mistake, the Warriors are in the process of attempting to build a highly relevant team for the future) without some defensive foundation would again be something that Nelson is not, stupid. Contrary to what Kawakami suggests, I believe Nelson not only likes this current roster, but has also had a hand in assembling it.

    To briefly summarize, I’ll again refer to Jim E, who put it so eloquently when he stated, “This is a stupid column.”.

  17. “small investment with big pot odds”

    That’s speaking my language, rgg!

  18. Ape and Steve, thanks for bringing it to my attention… I just added my 2 cents in the comments to TK’s blog.

    Altho I’m not sure why I’m telling you this, I can’t stand the thought of driving his traffic :>

  19. Trey Kirby, “Ball Don’t Lie”/Yahoo repeated TK’s comments whole:

    The signals are strong: If the timing is right and the discussions progress, my belief is that Joe Lacob is planning to move on from Don Nelson and probably install Keith Smart as the Warriors’ interim coach for the coming season. Nothing is concrete. The rush of training camp — due to start in late September (earlier than I thought) — complicates everything. And if the league approval for Lacob’s official takeover as Warriors owner is delayed in any way, you know that Chris Cohan isn’t lifting a finger to replace Nelson. But, other than the atmospheric stuff from Lacob’s words and actions, there are tangible examples of Lacob — and GM Larry Riley — pretty clearly moving from the Nelson philosophy, style and era. Eventually, they’ll officialy move on from him.

    “Atmospheric stuff,” “tangible examples [the recent picks]” — sheesh, this is crappy journalism, and now the nation is picking it up. With this kind of specious journalism, no wonder the country is so screwed up. TK is one of the most obtuse commentators I’ve read — but we know this here.

    Tim, repeat aloud: YOU’RE — JUST — MAKING — THIS — CRAP — UP.

  20. I just carpet-bombed TK’s blog again. I must be bored.

  21. Felty — Just as an alcoholic should remove booze from his cupboard, you must take a similar step by removing his site from your bookmarks. I realize it will be difficult for you to avoid his blog if you’re addicted to the notion that Kawakami and his readers learn something from your educated posts, and will be better for it. Believe me. They don’t and they won’t.

  22. The first positive take on the Warriors I’ve seen yet Steve. Does this guy know something about Chris Hunter that we don’t? Does anyone know anything about Chris Hunter?

  23. Felt, I was wondering the same thing (about Chris Hunter). Well, Nelli should know, and according to Steinmetz’s report from last week Nelli was supposed to “roll into town” this week. Nelson or no Nelson this season? With camp about ready to start we’re going to find out very shortly. Some of the blog rumors in recent weeks have Keith Smart taking over. Please, no! As much as I’m hoping for Nelli to return is also equal to my dislike for Smart as a possible replacement for Nelson. Felt, I can’t recall ever reading your thoughts on Smart? Do you think this guy is head coaching material?

  24. Nice interview with Monta
    Monta Ellis Interview

    I’m starting to get an exaggerated feeling of optomism that this team will be more than the sum of the parts. The early arrivals to training camps, the quality of the new players in terms of character, gumption and attitude tells me we will have something very special this year.

  25. Wow, Monta Ellis at peace, committed to leading the team? How far he’s come…

    I am extraordinarily excited about this new Monta Ellis, and this Warriors team. There is just one more piece needed to make this a playoff team.

    And it’s not a player.

  26. Great interview Aperacer, and thanks. This is good news. The team is going to need mental toughness and spirit, and a lot of it is going to come from Ellis. Also somebody to keep the team together and in line, and Curry’s not experienced enough to do this. And if Curry slumps his sophomore year, Ellis will be behind him so he can work his way out. I don’t know about wins, but we’re going to get a lot of spirited, hard fought games, all the way this season. This is cause for excitement.

    Ellis didn’t have that much to work with last year, either — a rookie, Maggette, and an undersized, rotating front court, so I don’t know what conclusions can be made about last year’s performance.

    Ellis’ commitment is also good news for the coach next season. And I don’t think we have any evidence he can’t get along with Nelson, who has an offense that will best make use of his talents and this squad. Everybody was frustrated last year, with good cause. In fact I see Ellis’ commitment as an argument in favor of Nelson — veteran coach and veteran player with the same goal in mind.

  27. Believe it was many months ago on the KNBR F&B show. The topic came up about this supposed lingering friction between Monta and Curry. Fitz was trying to convince everyone it just wasn’t true. (Fitz just being a homer again? I’m sure that’s what the nay-sayers were thinking.) He stated: Don’t be suprised if Stephen Curry is at Monta’s wedding.

    Well, I always wondered if that actually happened. Guess it’s confirmed. Can’t wait to see this duo shoot lights out again. PLEASE STAY HEALTHY!!!

    40 days…

  28. What’s clear about Monta is that he is taking responsibility. That’s huge. How many NBA stars (past Warriors included) do “their part” but don’t take responsibility for the teams success or lack there of. RGG, with due respect, I see this team full of types of characters who will step up and be the steadying force. In particular, I think Lee is a guy who can keep it together. Curry’s maturity is beyond a sophomore. He’s more like a graduate student who just completed an internship overseas with talent loaded organization. I’m guessing the contributors here and our gracious host are like me, eating up all the news and interviews on Comcast, KNBR and the Warriors page. The smiles, positive attitude and hard work are in full force at the training facility. The keys I’m waiting for are the arrivals of Nellie, Curry and, most of all, Goose. If Andres rolls in early, that would be a huge positive sign considering his Latvian interview.

  29. Aperacer —

    No argument at all! It is the strength of the team, the maturity and commitment of the major players. In Curry, Ellis, Lee — and I’d add Reggie Williams to a lesser extent — we’ve got guys committed to making the team work. They’ll set the tone for the others. This could be a team that leads itself, together.

    And again I see that as a plus for Nelson. He won’t have to do high wire acts to get his star players to play, perhaps not a talent with him.

    My point about Curry is that support will help this year — and it appears he’s got it now. Curry had to prove himself last year, really on his own, though with the backing of Nelson. This was a great experience for him and should pay off. He had to walk on coals last year. Now he can walk on land. But he’ll have some slack and support if he stumbles. He’s really facing much greater expectations this year. Last year he only had to prove he could play for what was really a losing cause most of the season. Now he’s expected to lead — and win.

  30. RGG, I think we’re on the same page. You are very accurate in describing Curry’s first year.

  31. “He puts you in different positions to be successful.”

    Reggie Williams on Nelson, from his interview/video at Comcast, 9/4 (“Warriors’ Reggie Williams Has College Jersey Retired”)

  32. Aperacer: Thanks a lot for the Monta link. It was a pleasure to read.

    Here’s to your “…feeling of optomism that this team will be more than the some of the parts” being true intuition. Cuz that sure SOUNDS like a Don Nelson coached team.

  33. Extra content from the Monta Ellis interview:

    And check out the vid at the end.

  34. Top 10 plays: Monta Ellis.

  35. Thanks Brytex for the added piece. Here’s Monta Ellis handicapping the Warriors for us this season: “We’re going to make history this year.”

  36. I can’t help myself. I just torched Adam’s latest on his blog. I will not let his unadulterated garbage stand without comment.

  37. That Monta Ellis interview was all good. However, I’d like to caution my fellow cognoscenti about the potential fallout. Note this was an exclusive given to Fanhouse writer Sam Amick, a former Sacto Bee sportswriter who covered the Kings for years. In the competitive and ego-driven world of the media, the self-centered types like Kawakami and Cohn will not be happy they were shut out of this interview (Why did the Warriors PR staff not open it up to all writers, they will grouse.). Mid-level egos like Steinmetz may also be miffed.

    My point? Some of them are vindictive and will search for negative stuff designed to put a major wet blanket on these new warm fuzzies. Unnamed sources, rumor and conjecture will no doubt play a part. Just know that it’s probably coming, and prepare to be skeptical about whether their hit pieces have any basis in fact. Kawakami and his slimy ilk do not like to be beaten on a major story and can not tolerate optimism about the Warriors. Count on it.

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