They announced that executive vice president of basketball operations Chris Mullin wouldn't be returning for 2009-10, and that Larry Riley would be the Warriors' new general manager.
The reality of the situation is that most in the Bay Area and around the league -- Mullin included – knew he was a goner back during the preseason. That's when team president Robert Rowell (pictured, right) made it clear to the media that he and Mullin had had a fundamental disagreement over how to handle Monta Ellis' moped accident.
In short, the Warriors wanted to bring the hammer down on Ellis, who only weeks before the accident had signed a six-year, $66 million contract. Mullin wanted to handle Ellis with more of a gentle hand.
The Warriors not only fined Ellis $3 million, for the entire season they held open the possibility of voiding Ellis' contract. It wasn't until the end of the regular season that the Warriors announced they wouldn't be terminating Ellis contract.
Mullin wanted to fine Ellis $1 million and even floated the idea of holding another $1 million in escrow -- to be given back to Ellis if he adhered to his various rehab commitments and responsibilities, etc.
Warriors owner Chris Cohan and Rowell would have none of it, and Rowell went public with the front office disagreement.
That was the first public sign of a rift between Cohan and Rowell and Mullin. In truth, there were philosophical differences well before that. In fact, the seeds of discontent were sewn two years ago, when the Warriors were very much a player for Kevin Garnett, who was being shopped by the Minnesota Timberwolves at the time
According to multiple sources, the Warriors were close to a deal for Garnett, but it would have required them to take on additional salary that would have put them over the luxury tax.
Warriors management said "No" to the deal, and Garnett ended up in Boston.
A little less than a year later and immediately after the Warriors' "We Believe" run in 2007, Baron Davis approached Mullin about a contract extension. Mullin would spend that offseason and most of the 2007-08 regular season working on an extension for Davis, who was set to earn $16-plus million in 2008-09, but had an opt-out clause.
Mullin and Todd Ramasar, Davis' agent, agreed to a three-year, $39 million extension, which would have kicked in for the 2009-10 season -- after Davis' big payday this past season. But Rowell thought that was too much money and too many years for Davis.
Davis ended up signing with the L.A. Clippers, and all of a sudden, the Warriors were without the player most responsible for their resurgence. The disconnect between Mullin and Rowell and Cohan lingered over the summer, but the Ellis moped accident intensified the differences between the sides.
The technical knockout of Mullin came in early November, when the organization fired Pete D'Alessandro, Mullin's right-hand man. Though the Warriors have never said why D'Alessandro was fired, many believe it was because the organization believed D'Alessandro was leaking information to the media.
Nevertheless, it was right around that time Mullin began removing photos and personal belongings from his office at 1011 Broadway. Up until the time D'Alessandro was fired, Mullin was a regular at Warriors' practices, virtually always watching from his usual seat just beyond the baseline.
After December, appearances by Mullin at practice and shootarounds were few and far between, although he remained a fixture at home games in his suite. Come January, Mullin started taking lengthy scouting trips, as Riley began to assume more of the day-to-day control of the team.
When asked early Tuesday what was next for him, Mullin replied: "I don't know. If there's something out there, I'd take a look at it. If not, I'll sit tight."
Riley (pictured) spent the bulk of his Tuesday press conference explaining his close friendship with coach Don Nelson, and explaining to the media how he'll be his own man when it comes to making decisions.
Nelson always has had a heavy hand when it comes to personnel decisions, even during the times his title was coach and coach only. One of Mullin's strengths was managing Nelson.
Whether Riley likes it or not, the perception right now is that Nelson is running the Warriors.
Riley ensured that although he and Nelson have been friends and colleagues for over 20 years that he's more than comfortable disagreeing with Nelson and would be able to make a difficult decision his coach and buddy might not agree with.
Who knows? Riley might be telling the truth there. But until he proves it, Warrior fans will have trouble believing it.