Joe Lacob

Western Notes: Lacob, Exum, Thomas, George

Warriors owner Joe Lacob is unfazed by the spotty play of his team, which he expressed to The Athletic’s Anthony Slater. Golden State has gone 4-6 in its last 10 games, including a home loss to the last-place Suns on Sunday. “We have the best team in the world. Why wouldn’t I be confident?” Lacob said. “I think we have a great team, great talent. In the NBA, talent usually wins. … Guys usually figure it out. We have an intelligent group. As long as we stay healthy. That’s the caveat. But I’m confident and believe in our team.”

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • Jazz backup point guard Dante Exum returned to action on Monday after missing the previous 25 games due to a sprained ankle and bone bruise. Coach Quin Snyder is confident Exum can reestablish himself as a rotation piece, a feeling he relayed to Aaron Falk of the team’s website and other media members. “We realize he hasn’t played in two months, but it will be good to have him back out there and start to work through some of the rust,” Snyder said. “The longer you’re out, the more difficult it is to pick up where you left off. But there’s no reason he won’t get back to that.”
  • Nuggets point guard Isaiah Thomas has Monday, March 18 circled on his calendar, according to Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald. He will play against Boston for the first time since he was traded to Cleveland prior to last season. “I can’t wait,” Thomas said. “That’s going to be a special moment for me. Even if they don’t do a video or whatever, just being back in that city and that arena is going to be unbelievable. I had the best basketball moments of my career in that arena. Boston’s always going to be in my heart, no matter what.”
  • Thunder forward Paul George was fined $25K by the league over the weekend, according to an ESPN report. He criticized the officiating after the Thunder’s 118-110 loss to the Clippers on Friday. “It’s just bad officiating,” George said after the game. “I’m sorry, just bad officiating. We don’t get a fair whistle. We haven’t gotten a fair whistle all year.”

Klay On Warriors’ Future: “Hopefully, I’ll Be A Part Of It”

The Warriors are committed to keeping their championship core together even if it leads to unprecedented financial implications. Owner Joe Lacob recently declared that the Dubs “can do whatever [they] want” in terms of finances and that cost concerns won’t be the reason the team doesn’t “stay great” going forward.

Klay Thompson, who will be a free agent at the season, is encouraged by Golden State’s stance and the commitment to remaining a championship contender.

“That’s good to hear, I know Joe’s competitive. He wants to win more than anything. And he will put together the best team to do that. Hopefully, I’ll be a part of it,” Thompson said (via Mark Medina of The Mercury News).

Thompson is widely expected to land a max deal this summer and while Lacob is fully aware that rival teams will attempt to pry him from the Warriors, the team owner is “not really worried about it.”

“All we can do is be the best organization we can, treat players the best we can, provide the best environment, have the best management, have a great arena. I mean, all the things we do,” Lacob said in an interview with Tim Kawakami of The Athletic. “The culture of the organization, I think, speaks for itself. Then the chips fall where they may.”

The owner added that the organization plans to be aggressive in free agency regardless of whether Kevin Durant and Thompson stick around.“Nobody’s going to outspend us. Nobody’s going to outwork us,” he added. “…I know what [our free agents] should do, which is stay with us, but I can’t say what they’re going to do, so they’ll do what they’re going to do. And we’ll have contingency plans; if somebody leaves, we’ll do what we’ve gotta do.”

Warriors Notes: Luxury Tax, Chase Center, Free Agents

Re-signing pending free agents Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson to substantial, long-term contracts would have major financial implications for the Warriors – upward of $300MM per year, potentially – but franchise owner Joe Lacob doesn’t think luxury tax and salary costs are the issue heading forward, Tim Kawakami of The Athletic writes.

We can do whatever we want [financially],” Lacob said. “And you should expect that that’s not going to be a reason this team … doesn’t stay great going forward. We have the capital to pay our players what they deserve. And we will.

Kawakami notes that this is a change in tone from what we’ve heard from the team’s ownership group in the past. There may be several factors responsible for that, including the “unprecedented influx of cash” that the team’s new stadium is expected to bring. The Warriors will begin playing at the Chase Center next fall.

There’s more from the Bay Area tonight:

  • The Warriors are in somewhat of a holding pattern until Durant makes his decision whether to remain with the franchise or move elsewhere, Kawakami notes in the above-mentioned article. These dynamics may have put Anthony Davis just out of reach for the team. “The best thing for us to do is keep our great players together as long as we can, as long as we should, and then develop on the margins,” Lacob said.
  • With free agency looming and the Knicks posturing to be a major player, New York appears to at the very least be an option for Durant. Kevin O’Connor of The Ringers writes that the forward has wavered between staying or leaving all season.
  • Since the blockbuster trade that freed up two max contract slots in the Knicks’ books last Thursday, Durant has been quieter than usual, Mark Medina of The Mercury News writes. Durant has avoided post-game interviews after each of Golden State’s last two matchups.

Warriors Notes: Curry, Durant, Green, Lacob

Stephen Curry made his first public comments Saturday on the Kevin DurantDraymond Green altercation, trying to smooth over an incident that some have suggested could lead to the end of the Warriors‘ dynasty, relays Nick Friedell of ESPN.

“I think the way we’ve handled it as a team, the way Draymond’s handled it, the way KD’s handled it, it’s been nothing but professionalism and understanding that it’s about the team,” Curry told reporters before Saturday’s game. “And the conversations that we’ve all had, whether it’s one-on-one, as a team, is keeping that in mind. We have the opportunity to do something extremely special this year. There’s going to be ups and downs and bumps in the road, whether it’s self-inflicted or whether it’s from outside.”

The Warriors suspended Green for one game for a verbal tirade against Durant in an overtime loss to the Clippers. Durant was calling for the ball at the end of regulation, but Green kept it and committed a turnover. Durant snapped at Green and he unleashed an angry response in which he referenced Durant’s upcoming free agency and allegedly said, “We don’t need you. We won without you. Leave.”

“They have a lot of equity built in their relationship,” Curry said of Durant and Green. “We’ve won championships together. They’ve brought out the best in each other. Obviously, I don’t think they’ve had an incident to this level, but you don’t have the experiences you’ve had and go through the journey that we’ve been on and let it be derailed by something like that. Obviously, from a personal standpoint, there are things that need to be worked through. That’s like any relationship in life. But at the end of the day, they both understand that neither one of them is going to be a reason that we don’t win a championship this year. I can roll with that.”

There’s more Warriors news this morning:

  • Curry, who has missed the past five games, is making progress with a strained left groin, even though he won’t be re-evaluated for another week, Friedell adds in the same story. “Progress is moving in the right direction,” Curry said. “Haven’t had any setbacks or anything like that. But it’s more so about getting full range of motion, doing so where it’s pain-free and things like that. I’m learning about this one. I can tell you everything you want to know about ankles. But this is obviously a new one for me, so trying to make sure I stay cautious, but knowing that we’re moving in the right direction. So I don’t know how long it will be, but that’s all I can pretty much ask for.”
  • Owner Joe Lacob denies that the decision to suspend Green and not Durant means the organization is taking sides in their dispute, relays Al Saracevic of The San Francisco Chronicle“I’ve read and heard all the things people are talking about. That we’re choosing one person over another,” Lacob said. “We’re not choosing anybody over anybody.” He said the decision to discipline Green was “totally a management issue” and complimented GM Bob Myers and coach Steve Kerr on how they handled it.
  • There’s still time to vote in our poll on Durant’s future beyond this season.

Warriors Notes: Thompson, Green, Looney, Dynasty

Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson isn’t particularly excited about becoming a free agent at the end of the season. He doubts he could find a better situation than he’s already in, as Anthony Slater of The Athletic tweets. “Not really. When guys go into free agency, they’re looking for situations like mine. I’m content.” Thompson, who will make a shade under $19MM this season, will be an unrestricted FA unless he signs an extension. Golden State owner Joe Lacob said he’d like to sign Thompson to an extension but nothing is imminent. Thompson deferred all extension questions to his agent, as Nick Friedell of ESPN tweets.

In other news regarding the Warriors:

  • Power forward Draymond Green is signed through the 2019/20 season and he anticipates staying with the organization beyond that point, Mark Medina of the San Jose Mercury News reports. Lacob indicated the organization has also been discussing an extension with Green’s representatives. Green isn’t sure if they’ll come to an agreement but he doesn’t see himself wearing another uniform in the foreseeable future. “I’m confident I’ll be here a very long time,” he said.
  • Kevon Looney knows DeMarcus Cousins will be the team’s center once he fully recovers from his Achilles injury, according to the Warriors website post. Looney expects a spirited competition for minutes at that spot until Cousins’ return. “Since I’ve been here we’ve been playing center by committee. That’s what we’re going to do to start the season off. … until he come back we’re going to go out there and do our best and hunt it down,” Looney said.
  • With Kevin Durant, Thompson, Cousins and several other players eligible to be free agents after the season and growing payroll concerns, there’s a feeling that the team’s dynasty could soon be coming to an end. Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post takes a closer look at that possibility.

Warriors’ Lacob Talks Cousins, Durant, Klay, Green

In a recent podcast with Tim Kawakami of The Athletic, Warriors owner Joe Lacob discussed a wide variety of topics, ranging from his summer wedding to his club’s surprise signing of DeMarcus Cousins. As Lacob tells Kawakami, the Warriors had been focused on adding wings and weren’t committed to using their taxpayer mid-level exception at all until Cousins fell into their laps on the second day of 2018’s free agent period.

While Kawakami’s conversation with Lacob is worth checking out in full if you’re an Athletic subscriber, here are a few of the team owner’s most noteworthy comments on the Dubs’ roster and outlook for 2018/19:

On whether Lacob is bothered by the perception that the Warriors signing Cousins was unfair to the rest of the league:

“No. It’s not our job to care about the rest of the league. It’s our job to win. Period. End of story. Nothing else to be discussed. And, since Day 1 that’s been our attitude. … We’re committed to winning. That means being excellent at everything you do — from the people you hire in the organization, to building a new arena, to filling out your roster, to retaining your head coach. Whatever it may be.”

On whether the Warriors will have to re-recruit Kevin Durant when he becomes a free agent in 2019:

“Of course we do. He deserves to go and be happy wherever he wants to be. I hope it’s here. I hope he feels the same way that I do and we do about him, when it comes time next summer. But you never can predict these things. We just will do our job, and he’ll do his job and we’ll see what happens next summer; let the chips fall where they may.”

On whether the team made any progress in contract extension talks with Klay Thompson or Draymond Green:

“I’ll let [general manager] Bob [Myers] address those, specifically. But I think it’s fair to say we’ve had discussions with both of them over the summer, their representatives. Nothing’s been done or you’d hear about it. But we’d love to retain them long term in the organization and we will do whatever it takes to do that.”

On the Warriors’ title chances for 2018/19:

“We have high expectations. We want to win. We kind of expect to win. We have a great roster. As long as we stay healthy and do the things we’re supposed to do, I think we have a good chance to win.”

Finals Notes: West, Pachulia, Williams, Coaches

The Warriors would like to extend the contract of executive board member Jerry West, relays Tim Kawakami of The San Jose Mercury News. Golden State owner Joe Lacob said there have been contract talks with the Hall of Famer, whose current deal runs out in July. Nothing has been finalized, and negotiations are on hold until the playoffs are complete. “We have met; we have discussed the future,” Lacob said. “And it’s really something that I’m sure at the end of the season we will return to and figure out what Jerry wants to do. We want him back. We love him. He’s been a great contributor to the organization, someone I consider a personal friend as well.” West indicated several months ago that he might be interested in rejoining the Lakers in an advisory role, but the team’s recent front office shakeup may have eliminated that as an option.

There’s more tonight as we count down to the start of the Finals:

  • Warriors center Zaza Pachulia has fully recovered from the heel problem that kept him out of Games 3 and 4 of the conference finals, relays Anthony Slater of The San Jose Mercury News. Pachulia has been medically cleared and was a full participant in Golden State’s last three practices.
  • The Cavaliers’ bench had a productive game in the clincher of the Eastern Conference finals, which offers hope for the series against Golden State, writes Chris Fedor of Deron Williams, who signed with Cleveland in late February after being waived by Dallas, is excited about reaching the NBA Finals for the first time. “Twelve years in the league,” he said. “It’s one of those things where you don’t know if it’s ever going to happen and don’t know if it’s going to happen again so for me I just want to make the most of this opportunity, enjoy it, soak it in and try to win a ring.” 
  • Warriors acting head coach Mike Brown claims Cavs coach Tyronn Lue still owes him $100 from a bet they made in 1998, Fedor notes in a separate piece. Lue claims he has tried several times to pay off the wager, which was related to a shooting contest, but Brown won’t take the money. The stakes will be much higher starting Thursday when they oppose each other for an NBA title.

Kerr Undergoes Spinal Cord Leak Procedure

Warriors coach Steve Kerr had a spinal cord leak procedure on Friday, according to Anthony Slater of The Bay Area News Group.

Team owner Joe Lacob told Bloomberg Radio the procedure was performed at Duke Medical Center, and the prospects for Kerr’s return to the bench remain uncertain. Kerr has missed the past five games with lingering complications from his back surgery in 2015.

Lacob explained that the “dura around the spinal cord” was nicked during that operation, which led to severe headaches and other symptoms.

“Unfortunately usually they patch that with a blood patch and it’s over,” Lacob said. “Either in a week or month. Whatever. And in his case for whatever reason they just haven’t been able to solve that problem. Hopefully it was solved yesterday he had another procedure. It’s gone on for nearly two years. Very unusual I believe. I have a medical background so I know a little bit about this. I’ve never really heard of many people having this problem for this long.

“We feel really bad for him, the players, everybody understands it. We just have to be in his court here and support whatever it takes for him to get back and I’m sure they will eventually solve it. Hopefully sooner rather than later and hopefully we’ll have him coaching on the court sooner rather than later.”

Details On Warriors’ Recruitment Of Kevin Durant

When Kevin Durant spurned the Thunder to come to the Warriors, many assumed it was in part, because he had formed a friendship with Stephen Curry during Team USA competition. However, that doesn’t appear to be the case, as Draymond Green was the catalyst for the 2013/14 MVP’s arrival, Ethan Sherwood Strauss writes in his last article for ESPN.

Owner Joe Lacob reportedly told friends and ex-colleagues about Green’s efforts during a speech at his old venture capital firm. “Draymond Green started off hard sell, and he was great,” Lacob said of Green’s pitch to Durant. “He gave the heavy pitch, which no one else there would have done, except for me, because I’m basically the Draymond Green of the business side.”

Strauss adds that Lacob is a huge advocate of Green and while the owner doesn’t regularly visit the locker room, if he does, chances are it’s to congratulate Green.

Sources tell Strauss that the Warriors had to approach Curry and ask him to join the recruitment efforts in free agency last summer. Curry obliged and he reportedly sent a text to Durant explaining how it didn’t matter who the face of the franchise was going to be and it certainly didn’t matter who sold more shoes. Curry has a deal with Under Armour, while Nike has Durant.

Curry’s been exceptionally adaptable during Durant’s first year with the squad. He didn’t take exception when Nike sent the entire team a pair of Durant’s kicks, which is why you’ll find more Golden State players wearing Nikes than UAs. Strauss notes that Curry doesn’t get recognition from ownership, citing Lacob’s previous “It’s not just Steph Curry” comment as well as Curry’s absence from the organization’s ground-breaking ceremony. Both the Warriors and Curry insist the point guard wasn’t there because of a scheduling conflict. However, it’s worth noting that Lacob thanked a list of people, including Kevin Durant, but left out Curry— who’s below market contract was paramount to the franchise’s ability to construct its super team.

Curry may not have quarterbacked the Durant pitch, but Strauss contends that his off the court actions were critical to team’s success over the past year. Green was the most aggressive in the recruitment efforts, but Curry’s acceptance of a marginalized role facilitated the making of a juggernaut.

And-Ones: NBA Owners Ranked, Tomjanovich, NCAA Tournament

ESPN concluded their management series with ownership rankings, citing the Spurs (Julianna Hawn Holt), Warriors (Joe Lacob, Peter Guber), and Celtics (Wyc Grousbeck) as teams with the best ownership in the league (article link). ESPN’s panel ranked owners in terms of “performance in guiding the franchise to overall on-court success, both in the short and long term.” To that end, it perhaps isn’t surprising to see the Kings (Vivek Ranadive) and Knicks (James Dolan) round out the list; two owners who have made unfortunate headlines for on-and-off the court stories this season.

More from around the game…

  • Rudy Tomjanovich, a five-time NBA All-Star and decorated head coach, wasn’t inducted into the 2017 Basketball Hall of Fame class. Several figures around the league were critical of Tomjanovich receiving the shaft, including former Rocket Calvin Murphy and Jeff Van Gundy. (Twitter links) In an op-ed piece for the Houston Chronicle, Jonathan Feigen chastised Hall of Fame voters who “inexplicably” snubbed Tomjanovich. “Tomjanovich, especially, deflected attention, not just in the way he downplayed his coaching contributions, but even in his coaching style that stripped away excess to get the ball simply and quickly to his best player, turning the Rockets from winners to champions,” Feigen writes. “The exclusion of Tomjanovich and others said nothing about their achievements, and everything about the secret panel’s failure.”
  • Tim Duncan‘s ex-adviser, Charles Banks, plans to admit financial misconduct from his business relationship with Duncan (Associated Press link). According to court paperwork, Banks will confess to misleading Duncan into obtaining $6MM in loans.
  • Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress provided an NBA prospect guide to the Final Four, naming South Carolina’s Sindarius Thornwell as the NCAA Tournament’s MVP thus far.
  • Xavier’s Trevon Bluiett will put his name in the NBA Draft but won’t hire an agent, Jeff Goodman of ESPN reports (link). Per Patrick Brennan of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Bluiett is “certain to again seek out evaluations from industry experts on his likely draft stock.”