Joe Lacob

Warriors owner Lacob issues warning to rest of NBA

Joe Lacob vowed Tuesday the NBA's new CBA rules -- unfriendly to the Warriors' way of business -- will not slow their roll.

NBC Universal, Inc.

SAN FRANCISCO -- When Joe Lacob stood up in 2010 and declared greatness was coming to the Warriors, few bought his words. Brash new owner talking big. Forgive him, I thought, for he’s stepping into one of the NBA’s most stubbornly pathetic franchises.

And, of course, Lacob was right. The Warriors took over the sports universe, or so it seems, expanding the fan base from a few loyalists keeping warm with memories of “Run-TMC” and “We Believe,” to planets beyond earth.

Six trips to the NBA Finals and four championships -- resulting in a $450 million investment becoming an estimated $7 billion franchise -- created a reservoir of credibility that has deepened with time.

Which brings us to Lacob’s latest vow, uttered Tuesday when asked about the NBA’s new collective bargaining agreement, which could have an adverse effect on the Warriors.

“We are going to win no matter what,” Lacob proclaimed with absolute confidence. “I don't care what the rules are. We are going to figure out a way to do it. That's what good organizations do. They figure out a way to win the game. And our game is to win games and to win championships.”

After the briefest of pauses, Lacob made an enormous withdrawal from his memory bank.

“When we came here, this ownership group, 13 years ago, we made a ridiculous proclamation about winning within five years,” he said. “And, of course, somehow, we managed to do it. All of us, players and everybody involved. We have continued to win.

“Look, the rules will change in the game, but we'll continue to do that. We are going to work really hard to do it, and I think we have really smart people. We'll do it.”

Lacob was speaking from the Bill King Interview Room inside Chase Center, where he was at the podium alongside team president and general manager Bob Myers, who minutes before announced his decision to leave the Warriors.

In the room were dozens of witnesses, as well as an audience of thousands watching video courtesy of NBC Sports Bay Area. We all heard it.

And the words rattling about the eardrums sounded as if Lacob, whose thirst for victory rivals Dracula’s lust for blood, was issuing a warning to the rest of the NBA. Even with rules unfriendly to the Warriors’ way of business -- which, to its credit, relies mostly on the ideal model of building through the draft -- will not slow their roll.

Should Lacob be believed? That’s where things get tricky.

Stephen Curry, the sun around which the Warriors have orbited throughout their dynastic run, is 35. Draymond Green, 33, can opt out of the remaining year of his contract and would welcome a multiyear deal. Klay Thompson, 33 and coming off a Western Conference semifinals series that was shockingly below his standard, has one more season on his contract -- as does coach Steve Kerr, whose closeness with Myers cultivated wondrous synergy.

Curry, Green, Thompson and Kerr, along with Myers, represent the five pillars of the on-court product that has been so fruitful. Myers is leaving. Only Curry is under contract beyond next season, and it’s hardly a lock the others will be with the franchise when the 2024-25 season tips off.

This postseason offered evidence that the window is closing on the core that changed the perception of the Warriors and is the primary source behind preposterous return on the investment made by Lacob, co-executive chairman Peter Guber and their partners.

There are questions about Lacob’s encroachment on the player-personnel process, which is not as problematic as his willingness to confirm what has been commonly believed for several years.

RELATED: The Bay's own: Myers lived every Warriors fan's greatest dream

“There are a lot of misconceptions,” Lacob said. “I'm involved as an owner and Peter is involved. But you should be involved if you want to be successful. This idea that somehow you should stay out of the way is ridiculous.

“No good business runs that way,” he added. “Whoever is in charge is involved. And they know what's going on. Now, you hire great people, like (Myers), and you let them make the calls. You don't get in their way. You let them do their job. That's a basic tenet of what we do. But as long as I'm involved in ownership, I'm going to be involved in the organization.”

The conviction with which Lacob spoke regarding continued success, measured by championships, indicates he has a post-Curry plan. Finding another selfless generational talent with impeccable perspective is easier said than done.

Though Lacob latest pledge can’t be considered “empty,” it is one that bears scrutiny. He’s about to discover it might be more difficult than the one he made almost 13 years ago.

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