Warriors owner Joe Lacob sat down with Sean Deveney of the Sporting News earlier today to disucss several topics, including how he feels about the improvements made during the offseason and how the new collective bargaining agreement will affect his decision-making moving forward. You can read some of the highlights from the Q&A transcript below:
On how much the team has improved since last year:
We have improved this team on paper. Perhaps even substantially. We’re still a very young team. We have a young core that hopefully begins to organically grow and get better. We added key free agents, we added size, we added depth. We’re pretty interesting. We have very good shooting, we have very good height and depth. We’re a big team now. We have, at any time, we can put out five individual defenders that are really good defenders. We couldn’t do that a year ago.
On how he thinks the team will stack up against the rest of the Western Conference:
There are some really good teams in the West. But I think we are right there in that group. We believe we are right there. We feel that, if we stay injury-free, we can be a contender to finish in the Top 4 in the West and get homecourt advantage and from there, you see what happens.
On the significance of being able to add a top-tier free agent like Andre Iguodala:
We started a process whereby we wanted to make a run at improving through the ways that you traditionally improve a team. Draft, we have bought draft picks all three years we have been involved here. We wanted to have more shots at bringing in players. Free agency, we wanted to be in the conversation every year. (Andre) wanted to come here and came here for less than he would have gotten somewhere else. It was emblematic of the way he sees our franchise and the changes we have made. We have made it clear we want a championship. We will spend the money. I said I would be willing to go into the luxury tax for that, and we would have. It wound up that we did not have to do it that way.
If he's worried about keeping his young and talented core together under the new CBA:
As time goes by, we will have some challenges in that regard. We will have to deal with that as those situations occur. Steph Curry is signed up for the long term—the long term is four years in the NBA now. (Klay Thompson) is in his third year, (Harrison Barnes) is in his second year. So it is not an urgent problem right now. But eventually, that could become a problem, how do you keep them? It is not going to be a monetary issue because this ownership is willing to spend whatever it takes to build a championship here and be extremely competitive every year. That isn’t something I even think about, we will spend the money.
I don’t want to pay the luxury tax, nobody wants to. That’s why it is a luxury tax, it is very punitive. But if it means winning vs. not winning, I choose winning. So that’s not an issue. At the end of the day, all the things we are talking about are important, but the fans care about one thing: Are you winning? Not the luxury tax. If I am not here to win, then I shouldn’t be here. We need to win.
On the risk of signing Stephen Curry to an extension after he had been injured:
A lot of people questioned signing him to a long-term deal—I would read it, every day, ‘Will he ever be healthy? Ever?’ He had several years of chronic ankle problems. But I looked at that and thought, ‘I don’t remember an ankle ending a guy’s career.’ I believed with good medical attention, he was going to be able to overcome that. And we probably got a discount relative to what someone else would have paid for him at the end of last year, given the performance he had. At that moment, though, yes, a lot of people wouldn’t have signed him. We took the chance, we signed him and now we look like we’re pretty smart.