Joe Lacob

Warriors’ Myers Talks Curry, Payroll, Oubre, Draft

The Warriors and Stephen Curry discussed a contract extension last offseason, when Curry was eligible to tack on three years to the two seasons still left on his deal. However, the two sides ultimately didn’t reach an agreement, opting to put those talks off for at least another year, as president of basketball operations Bob Myers told Tim Kawakami of The Athletic.

“It was just one of those things, let’s just talk about it,” Myers said. “It was such a rushed season and preseason … and with what was going on and dealing with Klay (Thompson’s Achilles injury) and all the things we had going on. … We just very congenially said, ‘Let’s talk about it next season.'”

As Kawakami notes, when the 2021/22 season begins, Curry will be eligible to add four seasons to his remaining one. That extra year could be important to the two-time MVP, who recently turned 33.

“In his mind, the length matters,” Myers said. “It wasn’t contentious. Nobody was upset. It was just, ‘Hey, let’s talk about this at the end of next season.’ And I think that probably meant everybody feels good about the situation. No one was feeling badly about it.”

While it’s no guarantee that the Warriors will offer Curry four fully guaranteed maximum-salary years when they revisit talks this offseason, such a deal would be an incredibly lucrative one, worth more than $215MM over four seasons.

Myers touched on a few other topics of note during his conversation with Kawakami. Here are some of the highlights:

On whether he expects Warriors owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber to continue approving massive payrolls and tax bills:

“I’ve been fortunate enough to work for Joe and Peter, where winning has always been the No. 1 goal and the No. 1 mission in how we’ve moved forward in all our decisions. But at the same time, it’s not ‘spend recklessly.’ This year, we haven’t or didn’t use the ($9.3MM disabled player exception), haven’t used it yet. Didn’t find a reason to use it, didn’t feel like it was worth it to use it.

“Joe has always (said) to me, when the question has been asked, ‘Do you want to do this?’ The response from him has been, ‘Does this help us win?’ We’ll see when the time comes, if it’s a move that Joe thinks makes a lot of sense and economic ramifications are there but worth it, he’ll usually do it. But again, not to no end, not to a $400MM payroll or something of that nature.”

On Kelly Oubre‘s comments suggesting he wouldn’t want to come off the bench next season if he re-signs with the Warriors:

“Obviously, (head coach) Steve (Kerr) had to speak to (Andre) Iguodala about coming off the bench, a very, very accomplished player. And when you win, everybody seems content and happy. But I have no problem with players that want to start. They all want to start and they probably should feel that. I don’t think that’s an issue. I don’t think that prevents a guy from signing, if he wants to be in a certain situation, if he feels the money is fair, commensurate with what he deserves.”

On the Warriors’ 2021 draft strategy, and the top-three protected Timberwolves first-rounder the team controls:

“If we do end up getting a couple picks and the Minnesota pick does convey, that’s going to be an attractive thing in a trade or an attractive thing to look at. Because it’s rare that you have, if we do get the Minnesota pick and our pick, to have picks kind of in that high range, multiple picks. We’ll see. When that time comes, we’ll look at drafting, we’ll look at trading, we’ll look at everything on the table.”

Warriors Notes: Oubre, Wiseman, Lost Revenue

Earlier this week, a report from Shams Charania of The Athletic indicated that the Warriors and Pelicans had discussed a possible trade involving Kelly Oubre. Asked on Wednesday about that rumor, head coach Steve Kerr made it clear he didn’t appreciate the leak.

“It’s unfortunate,” Kerr said, per Anthony Slater of The Athletic (Twitter link). “Team called us and asked about him. Didn’t even make an offer, asked about Kelly. Next thing it’s online.”

Kerr spoke directly to Oubre about the report, and the veteran forward told reporters that he appreciated the transparency, as Slater tweets. At the end of the day, I’m a Warrior,” Oubre added.

Here’s more out of Golden State:

  • James Wiseman has adjusted smoothly to a bench role since being removed from the starting lineup earlier this week, averaging 19.0 PPG, 5.0 RPG, and 2.0 BPG on 68.4% shooting in two games (20.0 MPG) vs. Minnesota. “I’m more effective because I’m just studying (Kevon Looney) and how he can be able to guard the defense,” Wiseman said, according to Nick Friedell of ESPN.com. “And just trying to figure out the different coverages, so it’s really helping me out a lot. So most definitely coming off the bench is something that’s very effective so far.”
  • As Friedell details, Kerr reiterated on Wednesday that the Warriors envision Wiseman as their “long-term” starting center, but will play his current role by ear as they look to maximize his development.
  • While the Warriors project to have the NBA’s most expensive roster this season, team owner Joe Lacob estimates that the franchise is missing out on about 70% of its projected revenue as a result of not being able to get fans into the Chase Center, writes Eben Novy-Williams of Sportico.

Financial Effects Of Pandemic Likely To Impact NBA Offseason

A number of team owners around the NBA are feeling the financial effects of the coronavirus pandemic, as Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com writes. Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta, for instance, has seen business fall off precipitously at his restaurants, hotels, and casinos, while Heat owner Micky Arison has had to temporarily shut down his Carnival Cruise Lines.

While some team owners have been hit harder than others by the effects of COVID-19, there’s an expectation that the pandemic will have a league-wide impact on spending this offseason, as Windhorst writes. Some teams may have to make difficult financial decisions that could result in unexpected player movement.

“With few exceptions, no one wants to make long-term commitments right now,” one general manager told ESPN. “You can already feel it coming.”

In addition to the teams that may feel pressure to dump pricey contracts or avoid expensive free agent commitments, some clubs may face financial constraints in the draft. Although selling second-round draft picks remains fairly common, no NBA team has sold a first-round pick since the Nuggets did so with the No. 27 selection in the 2013 draft, according to Windhorst. Some people around the league believe that teams will consider the possibility again in 2020.

“I suspect first-round picks will be for sale in this draft,” a team executive said. “We haven’t really seen that in a decade.”

Here are a few more noteworthy details and quotes from Windhorst’s examination of NBA teams’ finances:

  • Warriors owner Joe Lacob has told his fellow owners that he’s exploring a deal with Goldman Sachs to raise up to $250MM to manage expenses, per Windhorst. Sources tell ESPN that other team owners are considering ways to raise capital as well, with some – including the Rockets – pursuing legal action against companies that have denied coronavirus-related insurance claims.
  • Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta recently took out a $300MM loan and is more leveraged than many other owners, since he purchased the franchise fairly recently, but he continues to insist he’s not looking to sell any shares in the team. Brokers who have approached him representing potential bidders have been told the same, reports Windhorst.
  • Nets owner Joseph Tsai recently sold about 25% of his shares in tech company Alibaba, according to Windhorst. Other owners might not have similar opportunities to raise capital. “I don’t know what will happen, but I may lose $50MM next season,” one owner told Windhorst. “If that happens, I have three options: I could borrow the money, I could sell part of the team or I could do a cash call and me and my partners would have to write checks.”
  • NBA rules allow team owners to borrow $325MM against the equity in their franchises. A majority of NBA teams – including the Warriors – have maxed out that credit, sources tell Windhorst.
  • Although the Buss family’s pockets aren’t as deep as some of their fellow owners, the Lakers bring in about $200MM annually from their local TV deal and aren’t expected to have any issues re-signing Anthony Davis, writes Windhorst.

Western Notes: Stevens, Pelicans, Nuggets, Oubre

Warriors minority owner Mark Stevens will return to active status as a team stakeholder and also rejoin the team’s executive board once this season officially ends, Tim Kawakami of The Athletic reports. Stevens received a one-year suspension and was fined $500K after he shoved and yelled at the Raptors’ Kyle Lowry during Game 3 of last season’s Finals.

Despite reports to the contrary, Stevens was never bought out, nor was he in danger of being kicked out of the ownership group, Kawakami continues. Warriors majority owner Joe Lacob believes Stevens had a momentary lapse in judgment and has served the suspension without complaint, Kawakami adds.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • The Pelicans plan to reopen their practice facility in Metairie, La. next Monday, March 18, Christian Clark of the New Orleans Times Picayune reports. Louisiana’s stay-at-home order prohibits the team from using the facility through Friday, when that order is set to expire. At least five teams are known to have reopened their facilities since the NBA gave the go-ahead to conduct individual workouts under supervision and safeguards.
  • The Nuggets have created virtual locker rooms to stay in touch and engaged, according to Mike Singer of the Denver Post. Rather than staying connected via e-mails and text messages, the Nuggets have conducted a handful of team Zoom calls.
  • Suns wing Kelly Oubre Jr., who underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in early March, showed explosiveness in an Instagram post, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic writes. Oubre, who wasn’t wearing a knee brace in the video, could return to action this season if it resumes, Rankin adds. Oubre will be an unrestricted free agent after the 2020/21 season.

Joe Lacob Unsure How Hiatus Will Impact Warriors’ Future Spending

The Warriors, who wouldn’t have hosted any playoff games this spring if the NBA season had played out as scheduled, may not be the team hit hardest by the league’s indefinite suspension. However, owner Joe Lacob admitted that the lost revenue as a result of the hiatus and its potential impact on the salary cap going forward have created uncertainty about Golden State’s future spending ability.

Appearing on The TK Show with Tim Kawakami of The Athletic, Lacob was asked whether the Warriors still plan to go full-steam ahead next season, using their $17MM trade exception and full taxpayer mid-level exception to bolster their roster. As Drew Shiller of NBC Sports Bay Area relays, Lacob has adjusted his stance a little since declaring last February that the franchise can “do whatever we want” financially.

“We’re looking obviously at all of those questions and the possible answers,” Lacob said. “But I don’t really have a good sense yet because I really have no idea how this is gonna shake out. We don’t know what the salary cap is going to be, we don’t know what the luxury tax is going to be, so we don’t really know what we can plan on at this point. We just have to look at a lot of different scenarios, and that’s what we’re doing right now. (The NBA’s stoppage) could make a huge difference and it might make no difference.”

When Kawakami pointed out that the Warriors may have a limited window of opportunity to continue competing for championships, given that Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green are all now in their 30s, Lacob acknowledged that the team still wants to take advantage of that window as best it can.

“That was our plan and still – until further notice – is our plan for next year and the next few years,” he said. “However, a lot of things could change. And we’re going to have to adjust, just like every other team’s going to have to adjust, to whatever the new world order is, to whatever the new situation is in the NBA.”

During his half-hour conversation with Kawakami, Lacob addressed a few other topics of interest. Here are a few of the highlights from the discussion, which is worth checking out in full for Warriors fans:

On the Warriors’ draft plans:

“We’ve never spent more time as a group on the draft as we have this year. Obviously we have a lot more time to do it, we all do. I have watched videos of probably all the top players at this point. I’ve watched interviews, I’ve watched high school highlights, AAU highlights, like everybody else. … I think there’s enough information out there and enough work that’s being put in our side that we’ll be able to make a good decision and try to help our team.

“We’re going to look at all scenarios. … We’re going to look at drafting someone at our position, we’re going to look at maybe we trade down. I’m not saying that’s preferred or not preferred, I’m just saying it’s something we have to look at. We’re going to look at all options and we’re going to figure out a way to have our team be the best possible team that it could be for this year, but still with an eye toward building for the future.”

On signing D’Angelo Russell to a four-year contract and trading him seven months later:

“We thought (acquiring Russell in a sign-and-trade) was a great opportunity to be able to get a player in the wake of losing a Kevin Durant. To get anything of that quality was just an advantage, whether it worked out or not. We did not do it just for that reason, but we did it because we thought he could potentially be a part of what we were building for the future.

“That wasn’t without risk. We all understood that he was another guard, so we had to wait and see how it all worked out. I think as time went on we obviously began to take a little bit different look at the whole thing in terms of the fit, and even though he’s a good guy and really performed quite well for us, I think we all made the decision that perhaps there was a better fit out there than that. … Maybe it could have worked out, but we made the decision – right or wrong, we’ll find out – that (Andrew) Wiggins would be the better fit for us. And we think it’s a great fit, actually.”

On finding the silver lining in Durant’s decision to leave Golden State:

“He wouldn’t have played this last year, he was injured. We would have had a huge payroll as a team. So I think maybe this is the best thing. We’re able to start a rebuild a little bit earlier than we otherwise might have, and maybe it’ll prove to be the right thing in the long run that that occurred. I’m an optimist, I always look at things for what’s the positive in the situation. Yes, he left, that’s negative, but the positive is we got a chance to move forward quicker and to move into the next phase of what we’re doing.”

On NBA teams reducing certain employees’ salaries and/or furloughing staffers:

“There are no plans like that with us. … I think at this point in time, knowing what we know… our view is that we need and value all of our employees. We spent a lot of time hiring these people and training them and building up this organization to be a really good one, and I don’t want to tear it down unless for some reason we really had to, if there was economic calamity.”

Pacific Notes: Oubre, Bender, Durant, Len

The Suns are looking at potential buyout candidates or free-agent additions to replace injured Kelly Oubre, according to an ESPN report. The starting forward has been diagnosed with torn meniscus in his right knee and could miss the remainder of the season. Oubre had been enjoying a breakout year, averaging 18.7 PPG and 6.4 RPG. Phoenix is still on the fringes of the postseason race, trailing the eighth-place Grizzlies by 4 1/2 games for the final playoff spot.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Warriors ought to give Dragan Bender a longer look than 10 days, Anthony Slater of The Athletic opines. Golden State officially signed the power forward to a 10-day contract on Sunday. Golden State doesn’t have any to lose by giving Bender another 10-day and then a rest-of-the-season deal to see if he can fill a second-unit role as a stretch four and rim protector for next season.
  • Warriors owner Joe Lacob remains baffled by Kevin Durant‘s decision to bolt the organization, he recently expressed in a radio interview with 95.7-FM The Game (hat tip to Drew Shiller of NBC Sports Bay Area). “I can’t get mad when Kevin Durant — who I felt pretty close with — decides he’s going to leave. Which to me, made no sense,” Lacob said. “You’re (with) the best organization — I hope he thinks — in the world. Winning, other great players, the new arena. To me, there was every reason in the world to stay.”
  • Center Alex Len has been a pleasant surprise for the Kings since he was acquired from the Hawks, Greg Wissinger of the Sacramento Bee writes. Len has been a factor as a rebounder and shot-blocker in his first two games with the club, both victories. Len has an expiring $4.16MM contract.

Joe Lacob: “We Can Reimagine The Next Dynasty”

Rather than gearing up for another deep playoff run as the 2019/20 season enters its home stretch, the Warriors‘ decision-makers already have their sights set on this summer’s draft and the free agent period. While the team would rather be in the mix for another title, Warriors owner Joe Lacob tells Mark Medina of USA Today that the club is making the most of the opportunity to regroup and evaluate the roster going forward.

“The great thing about this is we can reimagine the next dynasty,” Lacob told Medina during All-Star weekend. “I think it’s been a good year for us to take stock with where we’re at and try to recreate.”

At 12-43, the Warriors are well out of playoff contention and approached this month’s trade deadline as sellers. Having given up six players, including D’Angelo Russell, Golden State received Andrew Wiggins, the Timberwolves’ top-three protected 2021 first-round pick, and five future second-round selections. The club also slipped below the luxury tax line, avoiding a more punitive repeater-taxpayer penalty.

Replacing Russell with Wiggins should give Golden State’s roster better balance when injured stars Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson return. Avoiding the tax and re-stocking their collection of draft picks will give the Warriors more options during the offseason as president of basketball operations Bob Myers and the front office weigh potential roster upgrades.

The Dubs also have a trade exception worth $17MM+ and are on track to secure a top-five draft pick. Lacob is optimistic that all those assets will be more than enough to help the Warriors return to contention.

“You add one guy and it can change everything,” Lacob told Medina. “We already happen to have two of the greatest shooters of all time. Look at the games. We’ve only been losing by six or eight points. But add those two guys, and we’re already pretty good. I think Wiggins is going to help a lot.”

Lacob Talks Wiggins Trade, Tax, Warriors’ Outlook

In the days and weeks leading up to last week’s trade deadline, there was some skepticism that the Warriors would actually trade D’Angelo Russell. Even though the point guard didn’t necessarily look like a long-term fit in Golden State, it seemed likely that the club would want to wait at least until the offseason to fully weigh the trade market for Russell. That would have given him a chance to play alongside Stephen Curry, who is aiming to return from his hand injury in March.

However, the Warriors decided to act sooner rather than later, sending Russell to the Timberwolves for a package that included Andrew Wiggins, a first-round pick, and an opportunity to get out of luxury-tax territory this season. Speaking to Tim Kawakami of The Athletic about the deal, Warriors owner Joe Lacob suggested the club didn’t think it could’ve done better if it waited until the summer.

“We got what we wanted,” Lacob said. “I think if I would’ve bet before the trade deadline, I probably would’ve said we would’ve re-evaluated in the summer, gone through the whole year. But we were fortunate. We got what we wanted, and we did it.”

Lacob offered up a few more interesting comments about the trade and the Warriors’ plans going forward. If you have an Athletic subscription, the conversation is worth checking out in full, but here are some of the highlights:

On the deal being a win/win for the Warriors and Timberwolves:

“Anybody who can’t see that this is a great deal for us, I don’t know what they’re thinking. You can sit and talk about what his salary is, but (Wiggins) had the same salary as D-Lo. They’re both good players. They’re different players. You can question whether this is a better fit; we think it is, as much as I liked D-Lo. He’s a really good player. And I think it’s good for him, too. So it’s a fair, good thing for both teams.”

On why the Warriors wanted to get below the tax line this season:

“Here’s the deal: When you are competing for a championship, I’ve always said we’re going to pay the tax. … But when you’re not winning this year and you’ve got … as good as those players were for us, they’re (expiring contracts after this season), it just didn’t make sense. So I think getting out of the tax so we could get out of the repeater (tax) next year … it’s not about the money. It’s more about the opportunity this summer to flush out our roster that’s the best possible roster for next year.”

On whether the Warriors will be willing to use their mid-level exception and $17MM+ trade exception in the summer, increasing payroll well beyond the tax threshold:

“Yes, I’m talking about mid-level exception, I’m talking about trade exception, any of the possibilities. Doesn’t mean we will, doesn’t mean we’ll be able to, but we have the opportunity, we have the chance to do that now.

“… It’s going to be the highest payroll we’ve ever had next year. We know that. The question is how high. If there’s a trade-exception (deal) that we really want, that’s worth it, let’s consider it. Mid-level exception? Very likely to use. The first pick in the draft, if we were to get that? With luxury tax, (that contract would be) huge.

“Really, the emphasis is on next year. The next two years, our window — Steph’s last two years under contract, before we hopefully bring him back again — we need to field the best possible team we can. That was the emphasis.”

Warriors Never Considered Not Re-Signing Klay Thompson

The torn ACL that Klay Thompson suffered in the NBA Finals didn’t give Golden State any second thoughts about keeping him in free agency, CEO Joe Lacob said on the Warriors Insider Podcast (relayed by Dustin Johnson of NBC Sports Bay Area).

An agreement on Thompson’s new five-year, $190MM max contract was announced shortly after the start of free agency on July 1. He will miss most of the first season of that deal, as his injury is projected to sideline him until February or March.

“There was no doubt in my mind, whatsoever,” Lacob said. “I, and we, want Klay to be here for a long time. He’s one of my favorite players in the world.”

Thompson suffered the injury late in Game 6 as the Warriors were clinging to a three-point lead. He landed awkwardly on a dunk attempt and grabbed his knee. Golden State wound up losing the game and the series.

“ACLs … not good, OK we know that,” Lacob said. “But stuff happens and that’s an injury that now people know how to manage. Plenty of people have come back from ACLs and done pretty well. Honestly, (not re-signing him) didn’t even remotely cross my mind.” 

This is the first serious injury that Thompson has experienced since joining the Warriors as the 11th pick in the 2011 draft. He has appeared in at least 73 games every season and contributes on both ends of the court, averaging 19.5 PPG over his career and frequently taking the toughest defensive matchup.

“Personally, I think he’s the greatest two-guard — I’m old school. I know it’s positionless basketball, but I go by positions. To me, he’s the greatest two-guard on the planet,” Lacob said. “… He’s a two-way player. He’s got great size and he’s an incredible shooter and he plays hard. What more can you ask for than Klay Thompson? Why would you not want Klay Thompson?” 

Warriors Notes: Thompson, Looney, Cousins, Livingston

The Warriors expect Klay Thompson to be sidelined nine to 10 months with the torn ACL in his left knee that he suffered last night, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). That would put his projected return sometime from mid-March to mid-April, possibly late in the season but definitely in time for next year’s playoffs if there are no unexpected setbacks.

Golden State will remain Thompson’s first option in free agency this summer, but he could listen to other teams if the Warriors don’t offer a max contract, sources tell Haynes. It’s not clear if Thompson’s injury will have any effect on what the organization plans to do.

Thompson’s was hurt in the third quarter of Game 6 when he landed awkwardly on his left leg after being fouled on a fast break. After being helped off the court, he returned to make two free throws, but wasn’t able to play any more. Thompson didn’t realize the severity at the time, telling coach Steve Kerr“Just a two-minute rest and I’ll be ready,” relays Joe Vardon of The Athletic.

There’s more Warriors news to pass along:

  • Re-signing Kevon Looney and possibly DeMarcus Cousins will be priorities this summer, Vardon adds. Looney will be looking for a significant raise on the one-year, $1.6MM contract he had this season, while Cousins could receive as much as $6.4MM from the Warriors via his Non-Bird rights if there’s not a strong demand for him in free agency. Cousins told Anthony Slater of The Athletic that he’s “open” to coming back (Twitter link).
  • The Warriors’ fighting spirit may have sunk their future, Slater notes in a full story. If Golden State had lost in the conference semifinals after Kevin Durant‘s injury in Game 6 or hadn’t pulled out a close victory in Game 2 in Toronto, the catastrophic events of the past two games never would have happened.
  • Veteran guard Shaun Livingston will seriously consider retirement, but said he could “possibly” return for another year, tweets Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. Livingston, who will turn 34 this summer, has just a $2MM guarantee on his $7,692,308 contract for next season. It won’t become fully guaranteed until June 30.
  • Owner Joe Lacob wasn’t ready to address free agency questions last night, but admitted that he talked with GM Bob Myers about what the Warriors do next, relays Tim Kawakami of The Athletic. “We’ll have to assess and then talk,” Lacob said. “Obviously, we still have a very good team. And a great organization. So we’ll take it one step at a time.”