Warriors Owner On Mark Jackson, Kerr, Arena

Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob had nothing but praise for his new head coach Steve Kerr while also relaying the reasons why he chose to fire Kerr’s predecessor, Mark Jackson, during a speaking appearance before venture capitalists in Menlo Park this week, Diamond Leung of The Bay Area News Group reports. While Lacob did credit Jackson for changing the Warriors’ culture, the owner said he didn’t think the team “could be great” without removing a coach he characterized as unwilling to hire better assistants and disliked by many in the organization, Leung notes.

Right now, [Kerr] looks great,” Lacob said. “I think he will be great. And he did the one big thing that I wanted more than anything else from Mark Jackson he just wouldn’t do, in all honesty, which is hire the very best. Carte blanche. Take my wallet. Do whatever it is to get the best assistants there are in the world. Period. End of story. Don’t want to hear it. And [Jackson’s] answer . . . was, ‘Well, I have the best staff.’ No you don’t. And so with Steve, very, very different.

Lacob continued, saying he thought at the time when he hired Jackson that the key for an inexperienced coach who he said “didn’t know X’s and O’s, really” was to hire the right staff around him, Leung relays. “You can’t have a staff underneath you that isn’t that good,” Lacob said. “And if you’re going to get better, you’ve got to have really good assistants. You’ve got to have people that can be there to replace you. We all know this from all of our companies. It’s . . . Management 101. A lot of people on the outside couldn’t understand it when we [fired Jackson].

Lacob also discussed the status of the franchise’s new arena in San Francisco, which could be open in time for the start of the 2017/18 campaign, though the official target date for the ribbon-cutting is the 2018/19 season, Leung notes. Lacob said the arena project costs $800MM, and including office and retail space the price tag in privately financed dollars is “well over a billion.”

We’re going to put a shovel in the ground, assuming the bureaucrats don’t slow us down any more next summer,” Lacob said. “And it’ll be built in 24 months. We’ve hired the contractors already, and we’ll open hopefully in fall of ’17. We told the world fall of ’18. We’re trying to move it up to fall of ’17, and it’s a real possibility we could do that.”

The Warriors recently moved the site of their proposed arena to the Mission Bay area of San Francisco after failing to muster civic support for a plan to build on Piers 30 and 32. The team has been seeking approval as it makes presentations about the design and traffic impact of the building to a local citizens advisory committee.

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