If their shameless pursuit of a San Francisco home is a money chase, Warriors co-owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber are doing the right thing.
If it's about superficial image, having a sexier address, they're on a rational path.
If it's about proximity to world-class restaurants or profiting off the new gear sure to roll out with a move from Oakland to San Francisco, they made the right play Tuesday in announcing their intention to open a new arena on the site of Piers 30 and 32.
But if Lacob and Guber really believe moving to San Francisco -- or any city, anywhere -- is the panacea, magically providing the ability to develop the winning organization they have promised, their thought process hasbeen compromised by robust quantities of ambition and vanity.
And they're exposing themselves to a fundamental truth: Winning in the NBA is, unlike real estate, completely unrelated to location.
"We have to win; it's on us to do that," Lacob conceded late Tuesday afternoon. "We're going to give a great entertainment value, no matter what. Fans of the Warriors do support the team, even though they haven't been winning. Well, I gotta tell you right now that ain't going to work for us. We've got to win. We can't expect fans to keep coming forever if we don't win. "
This is not Major League Baseball, where teams in New York or Boston or Los Angeles can take advantage of geography or population or demographics or generous TV
This is the NBA, where stacking the deck means paying a luxury tax. This is the league in which the last team crowned was Dallas, which was making its 11th consecutive trip to the playoffs under Mark Cuban's ownership after having missed postseason play 11 of the previous 12 seasons.
This is the league in which it was confirmed Monday night that the 2012 Western Conference finalists are San Antonio and Oklahoma City.
San Antonio and Oklahoma City surely have their charms, but they are upper class NBA citizens not because of their tourist industries but because they have assembled smart and visionary management teams. And those executives and coaches have benefited from savvy personnel moves and intelligent drafting.
While there is more corporate cash in San Francisco, success in the NBA is not about where the house sits. It's about who sits in the house and the decisions those folks make.
If location were a key factor, New York would be a perennial contender. Each of the Texas teams -- Dallas, Houston and San Antonio -- has won at least one championship more recently than New York, which has gone 13 seasons without a Finals appearance and 39 without a trophy.
Meanwhile, a fairly consistent contender was built in the desert (Phoenix). Another was formed in Utah, a genuinely unique state perceived by some to be a country unto itself. Out of a depressed economy rose the 2004 NBA champion Detroit Pistons.
In glamorous Los Angeles, however, the Clippers were the butt of jokes -- despite Clippers owner Donald Sterling being blessed with all the advantages of sunny Southern California, the entertainment capital of the world, overrun with Hollywood stars and movie studios and music professionals.
His team generally stunk like simmering garbage. That the Clippers played in the wretched old Sports Arena, where the rent was cheap and the rodents bold, made the only statement that needed to be made about ownership.
The Clippers didn't immediately get better by moving downtown to share sparkling Staples Center with the Lakers. They got better after drafting power forward Blake Griffin No. 1 overall in 2009 and two years later finding All-Star guard Chris Paul on their doorstep, placed there by NBA commissioner David Stern.
The Warriors like to remind us they play in the NBA's oldest arena, a deceptive statement insofar as Oracle Arena opened in 1966 but underwent major renovation 15 years ago.
We get the semantics. The team craves a new building, with a San Francisco address.
This itch to leave Oakland was a factor in the Oracle crowd's merciless treatment of Lacob two months ago, when a sellout crowd gathered to celebrate the retiring of Chris Mullin's No. 17 and seized an opportunity to unload on the co-owner.
Though Lacob didn't deserve such harsh treatment, he invited it by trading the team's most popular player. By promising the playoffs and failing to deliver. By commanding the stage on a night reserved for someone else. And by making clear his intention to turn his back on thousands of irrationally loyal fans.
These are the fans that five years ago spawned "We Believe," putting Oakland back on the NBA map, turning Oracle into a place praised by visiting players and coaches.
But Lacob and Guber want their own imprint, a bold and splashy move. Guber referred to the proposed arena as a "world-class entertainment venue."
Perhaps it can be called the Lacob & Guber Center.
Well, with obscene amounts of money and infinite patience, they can build the dream palace they want, in the place they desire. No doubt a new bayside arena would be a great addition to an iconic skyline.
It wouldn't do much for the basketball, though, unless the arena came with a superb front office, excellent coaching and all-star talent.
If it has those attributes, location won't matter.