Joe Lacob

Warriors’ Joe Lacob Discusses Wiseman, Payton, Timeline

Warriors owner Joe Lacob, who was known to be a fan of center James Wiseman, said in a conversation with Tim Kawakami of The Athletic that it was “very hard” to trade the big man at last month’s deadline, suggesting that the team “might very well regret that one” down the road.

“But as much as I love the guy, I can’t overrule what our basketball ops and our coaches and our players felt was the right thing to do,” Lacob said. “So it’s a consensus thing. We’re ‘we,’ we’re not ‘me.’ And we’re going to do what the best thing is and we felt it would improve our team short term and kind of went for it for Gary (Payton II).

Lacob added that it took some convincing for him to get on board with the idea of sending Wiseman to Detroit and admitted that he’s keeping an eye on how the former No. 2 pick performs with the Pistons.

“I think James is a really good young player and we’re not going to get many opportunities to draft a young guy like that again,” Lacob said. “And he really didn’t … let’s be honest, he didn’t really have a chance; it’s partially his fault, partially bad luck, partially our fault for not playing him enough. But we’re not getting an opportunity to get a big talent like that with size very often. I mean, it was a very hard decision for the organization, to be quite honest.”

Kawakami’s interview with Lacob included a few more intriguing comments from the Warriors’ owner, including his thoughts on how the negotiations with the Trail Blazers for Payton played out.

The conversation is worth checking out in full if you’re an Athletic subscriber, but here are a few highlights:

On how upset the Warriors were when Payton failed his physical following the trade:

“Very. … I think we all were. We were shocked. Because, you know, on the one hand, he was playing (for Portland), which would indicate he was healthy. But when you ask someone … they only have minutes to make these trades at the trade deadline. It’s kind of an honor code here. Forget what’s in the records, which you see later.

“I think we felt that they were disingenuous.”

On whether being able to reacquire Payton was the only reason the Warriors traded Wiseman:

“No. I don’t think (when) we started out we thought he’d be available, to be honest. He was expensive last year, that contract, we couldn’t really afford it. But given what we did with Wiseman, we took some money off the books. Our biggest weakness, you could argue, has been perimeter defense. So we felt it was a good move to make.

“One thing about (Payton) that I did like a lot, assuming he’s healthy and when he’s healthy, he knows how to play with our team. And the coaches know how to coach him. So he’s going to come in right away, there’s no, like … all these guys make these trades with 22 games to go, and I’m not going to name names, but it’s hard to integrate somebody who hasn’t been on your team. That guy’s been on our team. That’s a big advantage.”

On the Warriors’ supposed “two-timeline plan” (of veteran stars and young prospects):

“There’s only one timeline. I don’t know where this two-timelines thing comes from. There’s one timeline. You have a roster that you try to put together given financial constraints and given what’s available and what you can get. And when you have the salary structure at the top of the roster like we do, which is huge, the bottom or lower half of the roster has to be either minimums or young players. Either way, they’re smaller salaries.”

Bob Myers’ Future With Warriors Remains Uncertain

With Bob Myers‘ contract as the Warriors‘ president of basketball operations set to expire later this year, people around Myers are wondering whether – or even predicting that – his time in Golden State could be coming to an end, according to Anthony Slater, Marcus Thompson II, and Sam Amick of The Athletic.

The Athletic’s trio cites team and league sources who say that Myers believes he should be among the NBA’s highest-paid front office executives, if not the highest, after having built a roster that has won four titles since 2015.

Warriors owner Joe Lacob, who previously stated that the team has made two contract extension offers to Myers, has referred to the executive’s last deal as one that made him one of the NBA’s top three highest-paid general managers, but Slater, Thompson, and Amick suggest that’s not the case.

According to The Athletic, Myers is among the top six or top eight highest-paid basketball executives, but Daryl Morey (Sixers), Masai Ujiri (Raptors), Pat Riley (Heat), Tim Connelly (Timberwolves), R.C. Buford (Spurs), and Leon Rose (Knicks) are believed by industry experts to be paid more.

Myers is well-liked by the Warriors’ stars, including Stephen Curry and Draymond Green, and Lacob and the team’s ownership group have shown a propensity over the years to spend to retain talent wherever possible, so the two sides could certainly still work out a new deal that keeps Myers atop Golden State’s front office for years to come.

If that doesn’t happen, the Wizards, Suns, and Knicks are worth watching as possible suitors for Myers, according to The Athletic’s trio, who also name the Clippers as a possibility being discussed in front office circles. A source with knowledge of the Clippers’ situation pushed back on that idea, however.

Slater, Thompson, and Amick have heard that Lacob has become more involved than ever in the Warriors’ personnel moves in recent years, including scouting draft prospects and creating big boards.

The Athletic’s report doesn’t indicate that Myers has chafed at Lacob’s involvement, but suggests Myers has essentially had to play the role of mediator between the Warriors’ ownership group – which has encouraged the development of young prospects and pushed a “two-timeline” plan – and his veteran stars and head coach Steve Kerr, who may favor more experience on the club’s bench.

Sources close to Myers who spoke to The Athletic wouldn’t rule out the possibility of the veteran executive leaving the NBA altogether and pursuing other opportunities, especially if burnout is a factor.

With several months left until Myers’ contract expires, it’s too early to say how the situation will play out. Two years ago, Ujiri and the Raptors didn’t agree to a new deal until well into the summer, just as his contract was about to expire — it’s possible the Myers situation in Golden State could follow a similar trajectory. For now, it’s worth monitoring as an under-the-radar storyline that could be resolved without further drama or could result in a major shake-up for the defending champs.

Joe Lacob Talks Payroll, Green, Thompson, Wiseman

Warriors team governor Joe Lacob sat down for a wide-ranging conversation with Tim Kawakami of The Athletic, on his show The TK Podcast, and discussed the possibility of an impeding $450MM payroll for next season’s team.

“It’s not possible without losing quite a bit of money at the bottom line, let’s put it that way,” Lacob said of being open to foot the bill for the 2023/24 season. “I can’t really answer the question right now other than to say: When have you ever known me not to be aggressive? We are aggressive. We’ll do whatever we can do if it makes sense and we’re in a winning, real championship mode.”

Though Golden State won the 2022 championship, the team stumbled out of the gate this season. Thanks in part to long-term injuries to stars Stephen Curry and Andrew Wiggins, the team is currently just the ninth seed in the West with a 20-19 record.

Kawakami and Lacob also discussed the erratic play of 2020 No. 2 draft pick James Wiseman, the futures of Draymond Green and Klay Thompson in Golden State, and much more.

The whole interview is well worth a read in full, but here are some other highlights:

On whether the Warriors will actually lose money this season, given their already hefty luxury tax bill for 2022/23:

“It depends how far we go in the playoffs. If we go to the finals, we should be OK. If we don’t, we’ll probably lose money… All I could tell you is we’re just trying to keep up. We have a unique situation in that we have this aging but still great set of players. We have championship aspirations, and it costs a lot of money to do that. And we’re going to try like heck to rectify our finances going forward, but not at the expense of being able to win.”

On if Golden State will retain Green, who has a player option for 2023/24, and Thompson, who will reach free agency in 2024:

“I want to keep those guys here. I want them to be here. As long as they’re playing at a very high level, rest assured they will be here. I would love obviously for some of them to sacrifice (in salary) a little bit, or what they perceive as a sacrifice, to stay and to help our organization maintain a great roster. You always hope for that. It usually doesn’t happen. And I can’t blame them because they have limited life spans as players and they want to make as much money as they can.

“… Draymond and Klay, first of all, they’re both under contract for next year, so let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves here… In Draymond’s case, he gets to decide, he has the power. He gets to opt in or opt out, do what he wants. I’d love for him to stay.”

On how the team is weighing Wiseman’s development against the win-now needs of the roster:

“There’s always a timetable in sports, whether we like it or not… But he’s 21 years old. You have to put this in perspective. And he’s an immense talent, he’s an incredibly hard worker, he really cares. These things matter. He had a lot of really bad breaks as we all know, it’s been well chronicled… He’s also in an organization and on a team which is trying to win championships. It’s different than playing somewhere they’re just throwing everybody out there, young guys are putting up numbers, getting a lot of experience. It’s hard for our young guys to do that here.”

Warriors Notes: Green, Roster Openings, Wiggins, Poole, Durant, Lacob

JaMychal Green officially became a free agent on Friday when he cleared waivers. That opens up a path for Green to sign with the Warriors. He’ll provide necessary depth at forward, since Golden State lost Otto Porter Jr. to Toronto and Nemanja Bjelica decided to play in Europe. Green is a proven 3-point threat and can guard multiple positions, Anthony Slater of The Athletic writes.

We have more on the Warriors:

  • In the same story, Slater indicates Golden State will likely guarantee only 14 roster spots heading into training camp. Green would fill the 12th spot and rookie Ryan Rollins is expected to sign a multi-year contract. Andre Iguodala could fill the 14th spot if he doesn’t retire.
  • The Nets are not “super high” on Andrew Wiggins and Jordan Poole as centerpieces of a deal for Kevin Durant, Zach Lowe of ESPN said on his podcast (hat tip to Ali Thanawalla of Yahoo Sports). That’s one reason why a deal with Golden State didn’t gain traction, even though it had some picks to dangle. “I don’t know if there ever really was a deal there that the Nets would have done. Obviously, you have to explore it if you’re the Warriors,” Lowe said. It’s also worth noting that Brooklyn wouldn’t be able to acquire Wiggins this season as long as Ben Simmons is still on the team.
  • Owner Joe Lacob made his case with fellow team owners at the recent Board of Governors meeting in Las Vegas that tax penalties should be reduced when teams re-sign players they drafted, Marc Stein reports in his latest Substack article. Three of Golden State’s four highest-paid players — Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green — were draft picks that have only played for one team.

NBA Fines Warriors Owner Joe Lacob $500K

The NBA has fined Warriors owner Joe Lacob $500K for violating the league’s policy regarding publicly discussing collective bargaining talks, which are currently ongoing between the league and the Players Association, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Lacob described the NBA’s luxury tax system as “very unfair” last week on the Point Forward podcast hosted by Andre Iguodala and Evan Turner, per Wojnarowski.

The hardest thing of all is navigating this luxury tax, unfortunately,” Lacob said. “I went back to New York this week for labor meetings. I’m on the committee. And you know, obviously, the league wants everyone to have a chance and right now, there’s a certain element out there that believes we ‘checkbook win…’ We won because we have the most salaries on our team.

The truth is, we’re only $40 million more than the luxury tax. Now, that’s not small but it’s not a massive number. We’re $200 million over in total because most of that is this incredible penal luxury tax. And what I consider to be unfair and I’m going to say it on this podcast and I hope it gets back to whoever is listening. Obviously, it’s self-serving for me to say this, but I think it’s a very unfair system because our team is built by….all top eight players are all drafted by this team.”

Lacob was referring to the “repeater” luxury tax penalties given to teams, like the Warriors, that have been taxpayers in three of the previous four seasons. Last season, Golden State was hit with a record $170,331,194 luxury tax payment — nearly breaking the previous league-wide record for total luxury tax payments, which was $173.3MM back in 2002/03. The seven taxpaying teams in ’21/22 shattered that record with a staggering combined total of $481,021,386.

The Warriors are projected to have a $181.3MM luxury tax bill in ’22/23, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, who tweets that the bill could balloon to over $200MM in ’23/24 if the team gives Andrew Wiggins and Jordan Poole extensions.

Warriors Notes: Championship, Lacob, Veteran Core, Offseason

The Warriors‘ championship this year vindicated the belief of team management and ownership that the team could build a “two-timeline” roster, using its lottery picks in 2020 and 2021 on young prospects rather than in trades for win-now help, writes Anthony Slater of The Athletic.

[RELATED: Warriors Win 2022 Title, Stephen Curry Named MVP]

As Slater details, president of basketball operations Bob Myers and owner Joe Lacob believed the roster was talented enough to contend for a title without having to trade those picks. Golden State ultimately opted to draft and develop James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga, and Moses Moody while continuing to lean on veterans like Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, and Andrew Wiggins.

“They were doubted,” Lacob said on Thursday night, referring to the Warriors’ veteran stars. “But these guys are not 40 years old. We believed in that core. Not many teams have a core four. A lot of people say core three. I say core four. We’re spending the money to do that. Then, we supplement and surround that team.

“I know some people thought we could’ve done more, got another star. But who were we going to get? Who was available that would make a difference? We didn’t think there was, and we really wanted these young guys to be developed and learn from these guys. They have learned. We are going to be even better as a result of that in the years going forward.”

Here’s more on the NBA champions:

  • Lacob is confident that his club can continue to be a contender for years to come, as David Aldridge of The Athletic relays. “I intend to own this team for a long time and I intend to win as many championships as possible,” Lacob said. “It’s all about winning. That’s it. That’s all I care about. We’re going to do whatever it takes. The truth is, we’ve got really smart people who work in this organization, and we are, usually, going to figure it out and be real good.”
  • The Warriors’ fourth title in the last eight years left no doubt of their star trio’s place in NBA history, says Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic. “Individually, we all do different, unique things to impact winning,” Curry said of himself, Green, and Thompson. “We all have a sense of humility about what it takes to win and knowing that we respect what every single one of us brings to the table. But there’s also an ego with that, too. So there’s a healthy balance. And the rest of it is trust.”
  • Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype looks ahead to the offseason decisions facing the Warriors following their championship run, while Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN revisits seven important moments from that run.
  • Oddsmakers and sportsbooks have made the Warriors the early favorites for the 2023 title, according to David Purdum of ESPN. Golden State is a little ahead of Brooklyn, Boston, Milwaukee, Phoenix, and the Clippers.

Pacific Notes: Warriors, Green, Lakers, Kings

Speaking to Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today, Warriors owner Joe Lacob referenced a division rival when he discussed his long-term goals for the franchise.

“We are very goal-oriented,” Lacob said. “Our goal right now is to sustain being really good for a long time. I look at Jerry Buss and the Lakers, and how he owned the team for 33 years and made 16 Finals. That’s just an astonishing achievement, an incredible owner.

“Whether we can sustain that over such a long period of time, like Jerry Buss did – the Celtics certainly had great history but it was a little bit of a different time – I don’t know. But we’re going to try. That’s what we’re trying to do here.”

The Warriors are back in the NBA Finals this year for the sixth time in the last eight seasons, and are seeking their fourth championship during that time.

  • Even though he only appeared in 46 of 82 possible regular season games this season, Warriors forward Draymond Green views it as a “slight” that he didn’t make the All-Defensive First Team, writes Nick Friedell of ESPN. “When I look at the First Team, I am not sure I can pinpoint, definitely not five guys that had a better defensive season than me,” Green said. “And there are no (games-played) requirements. There is not some amount that you have to play in. If there was an amount that you had to play, then I would be an idiot sitting here and saying that.”
  • The Lakers are working out six prospects today, bringing in R.J. Cole (UConn), Jules Bernard (UCLA), Kur Kuath (Marquette), Jaden Shackelford (Alabama), Zyon Pullin (UC-Riverside), and David McCormack (Kansas) for a pre-draft audition, tweets Kyle Goon of The Southern California News Group. Pullin is reportedly expected to remove his name from the draft pool before tonight’s NCAA withdrawal deadline.
  • Houston’s Fabian White Jr. was among the prospects to work out for the Kings on Tuesday, per Sean Cunningham of FOX40 News (Twitter link).

Warriors’ Lacob Talks Playoffs, Poole, Young Core

The Warriors were forced to play without at least one of Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Stephen Curry for the majority of 2021/22, as the three veteran stars each dealt with injuries and shared the court for just 11 minutes during the regular season.

Through two playoff games, Thompson, Green, and Curry have spent 30 minutes playing together and the Warriors have posted a +45.9 net rating during those minutes. Up 2-0 over Denver and firing all cylinders, this version of the club is the one owner Joe Lacob has been waiting all season to see, he told Tim Kawakami of The Athletic.

“This is the team we paid for,” said Lacob, referring to the record-setting cost of the roster. “We never really had the team together all year. So I’m excited to see them all play together. We never really got to see it. I think it’s exciting to see it.”

Lacob acknowledged that it has only been two games and that he doesn’t want to rush to any judgments, especially without having played on the road at all yet. But based on what he has seen so far, he feels good about Golden State’s chances of making a deep playoff run.

“I think one would have to certainly look at what we’ve done in the first two games and say it looks pretty good,” Lacob told Kawakami.

Here’s more from the Warriors’ owner:

  • Lacob told Kawakami that he’s thrilled about the emergence of Jordan Poole, who has “arguably been our best player for a month and a half.” With the third-year guard eligible for a lucrative rookie scale extension this offseason, Kawakami asked Lacob just how far the Warriors are willing to extend their payroll to make sure they lock up Poole and keep their core intact. “I’m not going to talk about salary because it’s irrelevant right now,” he replied. “We’re in this year. After the year’s over we’re all evaluating where we are, and we’ll try to put the best team on the court we can for next year. And we’ll see what that is.”
  • Lacob admitted to Kawakami that he got a little nervous during the Warriors’ 1-7 slump near the end of the regular season, but said he was confident the team would be fine once it got healthy. “This isn’t baseball. This isn’t football. This isn’t 50 guys or 25 guys,” Lacob said. “One guy can make a huge difference. You add Steph Curry to what we were doing at the end of the year, it’s pretty good.”
  • Even as Curry, Thompson, and Green enter their mid-30s, the Warriors are well positioned to remain competitive for the foreseeable future due to a young core of Poole, Jonathan Kuminga, Moses Moody, and James Wiseman, all of whom are 22 or younger. Lacob said he’s pleased that the Warriors’ decision to focus on both the present and future appears to be paying dividends. “There are a couple teams, I’m not going to say who, there’s some other teams that went all-in on older players,” Lacob told Kawakami. “And older players do get injured. That’s the thing you have to remember. Suppose we had made a trade, traded away all our youth, for I don’t know, you name the guy, and they’re injured, out for the year. Anytime you’re over 30, 32, 35, these people get injured. It’s data.”

Pacific Notes: Lacob, Thompson, Davis, Kings

Warriors owner Joe Lacob believes his team is poised to win more championships, as he told Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

Our goal is to be great throughout this decade,” he said. “We had a great last decade and our goal is to set ourselves up for another great decade.”

With the return of Klay Thompson on Sunday, Lacob is eager to see how deep the team can get in this year’s playoffs.

“We’ve got all the pieces back together and we’ve had a good offseason and we drafted some young guys that haven’t gotten a chance to play yet that we really like. So I feel like this is our first year of getting back after the five-year title run,” he said. “We’ll see where it goes. I’m not assuming anything at this point, but we certainly have a lot of talent, a really good team and I think it will jell even more so as we go along this year.”

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Thompson had 17 points in his comeback game, including a first-half dunk. He drew energy from the crowd after missing 177 consecutive games, ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk writes. “I will never forget the reception that Warriors fans gave us, especially myself,” Thompson said. “Gosh it was fun and it was worth every single day of being away and in that squat rack or on that shuttle board and all the conditioning days. It was worth every single moment. I am not going to say equivalent to winning a championship But man, it was pretty freaking close.”
  • The Lakers lost to Memphis on Sunday but there was one promising development, Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times notes. Anthony Davis was spotted on the court before the game going through an individual workout, the first time he’s done that since spraining a knee ligament on December 17. Davis wore a bulky brace on the knee for precautionary reasons. The Lakers are scheduled to provide an update on Davis’ recovery as early as this weekend, Woike adds.
  • The disappointing Kings have to figure out over the next few weeks whether to be buyers or sellers on the trade market, Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee writes. It’s no secret that the front office has been shopping Buddy Hield and Marvin Bagley III. However, the team’s brass may have to consider moving De’Aaron Fox, Tyrese Haliburton, Harrison Barnes or Richaun Holmes to get an impact player that can change the franchise’s fortunes, Anderson adds.

Western Notes: Murray, Ibaka, Warriors, Gordon, Wiseman

Nuggets coach Michael Malone has tempered expectations about Jamal Murray‘s return date, Mike Singer of the Denver Post tweets. Malone said on a radio interview with 92.5 FM Altitude Sports that fans shouldn’t expect to see Murray return from his knee injury in January or February. The organization is taking it very cautious with their franchise point guard.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • Clippers big man Serge Ibaka admits he’s frustrated with his playing time but he won’t become a distraction, according to Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times. “I’m going to be honest with you, as a human being it can be frustrating,” Ibaka said. “As a coach, [Tyronn Lue] tries to do his best he can to keep the team together, to keep the team playing the best basketball you can and as a player, like, hard worker, someone who loves basketball like me, I want to play, too. . . . but that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop being professional.” With Isaiah Hartenstein out of action, Ibaka scored 17 points in 20 minutes off the bench against Sacramento on Wednesday. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent after the season.
  • Arctos Sports Partners is increasing its stake in the Warriors from 5% to 13%, Scott Soshnick and Eben Novy-Williams of Sportico report. The team is valued at about $5.5 billion in the deal, the same valuation as when Arctos bought its initial 5% earlier this year. A majority of this new equity is coming from minority partners, with a small portion from the team’s main owners, Joe Lacob and Peter Guber, the Sportico report adds. The deal must be approved by the NBA’s Board of Governors.
  • The Rockets’ Eric Gordon, who has battled knee problems in recent years, is playing both ends of a back-to-back this week for the first time this season, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. “This was the plan long ago,” Gordon said. “I’ve been feeling pretty good all year. This was definitely the plan before the season started. But I will be looking forward to playing back-to-back.”
  • Warriors big man James Wiseman could advance to on-court contact next week, Anthony Slater of The Athletic tweets. Wiseman has been rehabbing from offseason knee surgery.