Don Nelson Will Return to Coach Warriors

Sunday, September 16th 2007, 8:50 pm
By: News On 6

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) _ Don Nelson and the Golden State Warriors agreed to a new contract Sunday, keeping Nelson as the team's coach again this season.

The Warriors did not announce terms of the new deal but the Contra Costa Times reported that Nelson would get a raise from $3.1 million to $5.1 million for the next two years.

In exchange, the third year of the deal would convert to a team option. If the option was not exercised, Nelson would earn $1 million under a five-year consulting deal with the team.

Nelson said at the end of the season that he wasn't sure if he'd return to the sidelines for a 29th season as an NBA coach. He originally said he'd make his decision by July 1, but talks dragged on all summer before nearing a resolution.

``I'm really excited about the beginning of training camp in a couple of weeks,'' Nelson said. ``I can't wait to get back in the gym, back to work and watch this team continue to grow. I'm optimistic that we can capitalize on some of our momentum from last season and build on that.''

Nelson, who turned 67 in May, went 42-40 in his first season back with Golden State, where he also coached from 1988-95. His 1,232 career coaching victories are the second-most in NBA history.

It was the most successful season in years for the Warriors, who had gone 12 straight seasons without a winning record or a playoff berth before Nelson's return.

Golden State clinched the playoffs on the final day of the regular season, then shocked the top-seeded Dallas Mavericks in the first round, beating the NBA's best regular-season team _ and Nelson's former employer _ in six games.

That was Golden State's first playoff series win since 1991 and just the third time an eighth seed had won an opening-round series.

The Warriors lost their second-round series in five games to Utah, although all of the losses were close.

``We think Don is a great coach,'' team president Robert Rowell said. ``His style has always been well accepted by players and is a natural fit for our team. I know that everyone is anxious and looking forward to the exciting, successful brand of basketball that he will once again orchestrate for our team and our fans.''