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Warriors Co-Owner On Green, Lee, Luxury Tax

Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob takes an aggressive approach to running his team, and it’s paid off, with Golden State a half-game in front of the Hawks for the league’s best record. His bold approach extends even to his plans for a new arena in San Francisco, though he told Tim Kawakami of the Bay Area News Group that he now finds a 2017 opening date for that building unlikely and is instead focused on 2018. Lacob had plenty more to say, including a remark in which he expressed his hope that Stephen Curry is “a Warrior for life,” in a podcast taped Friday with Kawakami, who transcribes 20 of Lacob’s responses in a full story. The entire interview is worth your time, particularly if you’re a Warriors fan, but we’ll share three of Lacob’s remarks here:

On Draymond Green, set for restricted free agency this summer:

“I obviously have to choose my words carefully here — we’re not trying to make any claims or anything like that. He will go through the restricted free agency process; I’m sure he’ll get offers from other teams. And he’ll have an offer from us, obviously. Look, he’s very much a part of the core here. That’s the way we view him. He just turned 25 years old and along with Steph and Klay [Thompson] and Harrison [Barnes] we have our sort of core young four, if you will, along with a lot of other really good players. All I can say is we’re going to do everything we can to convince him to stay and be a Warrior for a long time. Of course we have the ultimate [choice] in all that — we can match any deal he gets.”

On the possibility of trading David Lee:

“This is really for [GM] Bob [Myers] to figure out and our basketball ops team. We’re going to figure out how to put together the team for next year. And let’s wait to see how the season ends, first. … You don’t know what’s going to happen. … Sometimes you change your view by the end of the year. Look, if that’s the way it works out, he’s an expiring contact and if it’s better for him to move on somewhere else, maybe that might happen. But it might not. I think we have to wait until the end of the year and assess everything when the season’s over.”

On paying the luxury tax:

“No one should be comfortable with that because the penalties are obviously quite severe. We’d always prefer not to. I can’t sit here and lie and say that I would love to pay the luxury tax. No one would love to pay the luxury tax. But we always have known that there could be a time when it’s required, when the team is at such a point, to keep it together, maybe it’s just that point where we have overlapping contacts that add up … where we have to pay the luxury tax to do that, to keep our long-term plan intact. So the answer, without going on and on, is that we are prepared to pay the luxury tax, yes, if we have to. That’s just a part of the business. It’s not something we want to do. And we’ll all see what happens. A lot depends on what other teams do and how free agency goes and so on. There’s really quite a few factors.”

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