Thursday, June 13
Updated: Friday, June 14, 1:49 PM ET
If Dunleavy goes to Memphis, his dad might, too
By Ray Ratto
Special to ESPN.com
Duke University is abuzz with excitement, now that the Golden State Warriors are coming to town.
Not that the Warriors are moving to Durham, mind you. There are city and state ordinances against that very thing, under the North Carolina "We Gave Up The Hornets For This?" Act of 2002.
But several Warriors officials are in Durham this week working out Mike Dunleavy with an eye toward taking him in the upcoming NBA draft. And unless we are badly misreading Dunleavy's emotional connections to Duke and to his daddy Mike Dunleavy The Elder, we can expect Dunleavy to show up half-drunk, stumbling through the workout and calling the Warrior reps rude and offensive names.
Because, frankly, the Dunleavy family has nothing to gain and everything to lose by hearing David Stern say, "With the third pick in the 2002 NBA draft, the Golden State Warriors select Mike Dunleavy, a forward from Duke University."
This will not be another knee in the nethers of the poor, underclubbed and overmatched Warriors. Enough, after all, is enough. And besides, where's the news in that?
But with the Memphis Grizzlies nestled in the draft's four-hole, with president, general manager and chief brain-for-hire Jerry West knowing that only the Warriors are in a position to get Dunleavy ahead of him ... well, it isn't hard to solve a three-dot connect-the-dots puzzle.
1. The Grizzlies don't necessarily need a coach; Sidney Lowe is still on retainer and all that. But West is the new sheriff, and the new sheriff always gets to pick his own deputies if the old deputies don't meet his needs. Plus, a good rumor never lets the prevailing fact of the moment get in the way.
2. West likes Dunleavy Sr., and Dunleavy's chief assistant in Milwaukee, Jim Eyen, because he hired them both before in Los Angeles.
3. Dunleavy The Elder would seem to have a considerable rooting interest in the Grizzlies drafting Mike Dunleavy The Younger.
And the picture we can see after drawing these three lines is of Mike Dunleavy The Younger showing up at his Warrior workout with no pants, one shoe and a cast on each arm.
This impacts Duke because, if for some reason West doesn't want to relive his Dunleavy days at all, or decides that Lowe deserves more of a chance than he's gotten to date, maybe The Younger will skip the whole thing entirely and go back to Duke. He has less than a week to pull his name out of the draft, and though he has said recently, "There is no team I wouldn't go to," he reportedly has made it known that he had no interest in being drafted by the Clippers.
In short, he can change his mind, and apparently he has at least once.
As for the question about the Clippers, one can only wonder why the Clippers are the only team he would have singled out, change of heart or no. What of the Warriors, or Nuggets, or Bulls, or Cavaliers, or Hawks,
or any of several other teams far worse than the Clips? Maybe that's why he decided to back away from his alleged disinterest in the Anti-Lakers -- because he recognized the list of untouchables may be too long for
him. After all, he's the one who screwed up by rising in the draft over the last two months.
But back to the point at hand, namely, how The Younger (if so inclined) could throw his job interview so that he might help engineer the return of The Elder to steady coaching employment, not to mention top-quality barbecue and cut-rate "Mike Tyson Heavyweight Champion" T-shirts.
He could simply not show, which is usually a strong indication of disinterest. He could call the Warriors and say, "I'm sorry, but I'm scheduled for a dose of whooping cough and will have to reschedule for sometime in July." Or, better, to say it in a foreign language to baffle the Warriors.
He couldn't exactly declare his interest in Memphis, though, because the Warriors would then draft him and try to extract concessions, draft choices or a spry veteran presence in return, hoping as they do to improve from 20-some-odd wins to almost 30-some-odd wins. And the Grizzlies really can't afford to give away too much, given their position just above that of the Warriors.
So it will require some creativity, a bit of guile, and maybe some essence of skunk splashed on his gym clothes. "Don't mind the funk," he could say. "I've just been chasing a polecat out of our dorm."
And good luck to him, too. With Father's Day coming, nothing says loving quite like helping get Dad a job. Especially one that isn't open yet.
Ray Ratto of the San Francisco Chronicle is a regular contributor to ESPN.com.
|Mike Dunleavy's diverse skills (including passing) make him a complete player.||