All signs indicate the Golden State Warriors are on the verge of bringing the prodigal son back for a second tour of duty. I'm talking about Chris Webber, the supremely talented big man whose departure from the Warriors after his rookie season is generally regarded as the beginning of the Warriors' descent into insignificance.
Depending on your point of view, Warriors coach Don Nelson was either a bully or a hard-nosed traditionalist and Webber was either a victim or a snot-nosed brat. Their clash led to Webber's decision to force a trade.
That was then (1994) and this is now. The Warriors, in Nelson's second go-round, are a fun team to watch and are respectable, if still short of formidable.
Can Webber make them a great team? Let me put it this way: if he was that valuable, he wouldn't be sitting in his restaurant near Sacramento halfway through the NBA season. He'd be playing somewhere.
Still, C-Webb's return to the Warriors would be a boon. He might help them on the court. After all, he was useful last year to a Pistons team that lost in the Eastern Conference finals. He's certainly not the force he was in '94, but that's not what he'd be asked to be.
Webber's real value would be intangible. It would be a return to better times, a closing of an ugly chapter in a once-proud franchise's history, and a chance for two proud men (Nellie and C-Webb) to show us they've both grown up.
That's a message pro sports seldom delivers.