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Archive for Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Nelson returning to Warriors

Golden State dumps Montgomery, hires former coach

August 30, 2006

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— The Golden State Warriors have lured Don Nelson back from retirement to see if he can fix a franchise that's been broken ever since he left 111â2 years ago.

Coach Mike Montgomery was abruptly dismissed by the Warriors on Tuesday, and Nelson will be rehired for the job he held for nearly seven seasons, an NBA source told The Associated Press.

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal hadn't been announced, said the 66-year-old Nelson settled his differences with Warriors owner Chris Cohan and agreed to return to a team that has been Golden in name only since the second-winningest coach in NBA history left in February 1995.

The Warriors have the league's longest playoff drought, with eight failed coaches during 12 consecutive losing seasons despite a loyal fan base that still remembers the uptempo excitement of the club's years under its beloved "Nellie," a three-time NBA coach of the year.

Chris Mullin, who played for Nelson throughout the coach's first tenure, will now be Nelson's boss as the Warriors' executive vice president of basketball operations.

With just five weeks left before training camp opens, Mullin made his move with awkward timing - but such inelegance is far from surprising with the Warriors, who have changed plans almost annually since Nelson's departure.

Nelson went 277-260 from 1988-95 and led Golden State to its last playoff appearance in 1994, creating charisma and respectability that gradually vanished over the next decade. Nelson has won 1,190 games in a career that also includes stops in Milwaukee, New York and Dallas, where he won 339 games and led the Mavericks' revitalization from 1998 until March 2005. He left Dallas amid health concerns and a general weariness with the league's grind. Avery Johnson, his groomed successor, became the league's coach of the year while leading the Mavs to their first NBA finals last season.

Montgomery had identical 34-48 records in his two seasons with the club.

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