SAN FRANCISCO – Theoretical contract numbers and a financial gap were discussed in the initial stages of negotiation between Bob Myers and Joe Lacob regarding Myers’ future. But that was months ago. Had Myers been intent on continuing his tenure managing the Golden State Warriors, the two sides still need to bridge that gap.
But those more complicated conversations never happened. Myers officially quit his job on Tuesday and ended his segment of the farewell press conference revealing, making it clear that the financial spat didn’t lead him to pack up.
“It wasn’t about the money,” Myers said. “I just want to make it clear. It’s not about the money. I made a lot of money. I was offered a lot of money.”
This is an important detail within the walls of the organization. It’s no secret how much Stephen Curry, Steve Kerr, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson wanted Myers back, serving as the buffer between Lakob’s front office and the locker room. Had this ultimately come down to a financial dispute, had Myers lost despite wanting a comeback, the immediate reaction and repercussions from the powerful players would have been much more dramatic.
But Myers has spent the past week explaining his reasons to the dynastic symbols he left behind. This included a call to Carrie.
It’s funny, I was talking to Steve a little bit, and she went, ‘I feel like you’re not really trying to change my mind,'” Myers said.He started laughing. He said, “No, it hurts.” But he understands. People who know me understand.”
Lacob’s sexy leadership style and obsession with staying in the loop—he estimates he spoke to Myers “five to 20 times a day”—were obvious factors in Myers’ burnout. Tim Kawakami has explained that well-known dynamic here. This was undoubtedly a file in his explanation to Curry, Kerr, and others about why he came out.
But Lakob is exempt from the kind of public disconnection that can lead to dividing the situation (and often does in the world of corporate sports). He made a real effort to bring Myers back. Life charmed him away. Basic antennas will keep an eye on how the front office operates from here, but the clean, friendly outlet — including the Myers, Lacob combo press as they lathered each other up in mirrored compliments — keeps the waters a little less turbulent for the time being.
“Bottom line, this job, the job I have — and I would say this to my professional general manager or coach — requires full involvement, full effort, 1,000 percent,” Myers said. “If you can’t do it, you shouldn’t do it. So here’s the answer to the question of why. I can’t do it for our players. I can’t do it for Joe and Peter (Guber). Really, I can’t do it for myself. And that’s the question that I was wrestling with him.”
You can feel the weight of the job really weighing on Myers over the past two years. He was still the crunch manager and there was plenty to keep him busy – Draymond Green punch, trade pick James Wiseman, Gary Payton II failed physical. But the nuts of the operation had been delegated to a front office below Myers that was built to survive without him on a day-to-day basis.
This is why the Warriors aren’t in an emergency situation this coming month, despite the draft and free agency staring them in the face. Myers has not been closely involved in the pre-draft process in recent weeks.
The Warriors actually had a pre-workout while Myers and Lacube were doing their press conference on Tuesday afternoon. It included Jaime Jacques Jr., a UCLA winger who is their 19th overall pick. It was run by Larry Harris, longtime college scouting captain, and Mike Donlevy Jr., presumptive successor to Myers.
“We believe in the power of the bench,” said Lacob. “Some may think we’re not grounded in the way they slam the bench on the court sometimes. But we believe in the power of the bench, and within this organization, we have a lot of power on the bench and we have a lot of people who are really good at their jobs.”
Kirk Lacob has his hands on both the basketball and business side and will certainly take on a more prominent role in Myers’ absence. Kent Lacob is moving his way up the ladder after years of scouting internationally and in the G-League. Pabail Sidhu runs the analytics department and is a trusted voice for both Dunleavy and the coaching staff. Onsi Saleh is their hat expert. It is set away from San Antonio. Sean Livingston, Nick Oren, Johnny West, and Ryan Atkinson are others in the room.
But it was Dunlevy who quickly climbed into the seat next to Myers. He was a former client of Myers and was an employee that Myers proposed to in 2019. He was in the same New York hotel room as Myers when the two executed D’Angelo Russell’s signature and trade on the day Kevin Durant left. This eventually led to Andrew Wiggins and the Chosen One becoming Jonathan Cuminga. That night is detailed here.
“Mike is amazing,” Myers said. “He’d be good as a GM, if he wanted to. He’d be great, if that’s what he wanted. But it’s his call. It’s Joe’s call. It’s not my call… But he’s really good, and he’d be great if that was a choice. But I’d be a liar if I thought, before Four years, let’s bring Mike in and he can assume this thing. I told him, ‘If that’s what he wants, I’m all for it. I said I’d help out with Draymond if he needed it.'”
This last line is very noticeable. He talks about the most difficult aspect of the position to replace Meyers, and also gives a sneak peek behind the curtain in a joint conversation in recent weeks. Myers and Dunleavy are best friends. Dunlevy knew that Myers was leaning toward the sidelines. The two have clearly given an indication that Dunlevy is a prime candidate to replace him and have been discussing whatever that entails.
No one will have the level of trust Myers gained with Curry, Green, and Thompson. But Dunleavy has been around a ton the past two seasons. Travels with the group group on the road. He speaks regularly with Kerr. After losing Game 1 to the Los Angeles Lakers in the second round, Curry, Green, Myers, and Dunlevy were in the weight room after an extended four-person discussion. It felt like a pass preview moment as Myers was introducing the other three to the kind of debriefing conversations they might have without him in the future.
Lots of tuesday An hour press conference Serves as an ode to Myers’ time with the Warriors. Both Myers and Lacob told stories about hiring him back in 2011 and all the huge decisions he’s made over the years.
But it was also the first time Lacob had addressed the media since the season ended and new CBA rules were put in place, severely restricting the Warriors’ ability to stay deep in luxury taxes far into the future. Lacob was asked about it.
“I’m not going to comment on the list too much because the truth is we have a lot of work to do and we have time,” said Lacob. “We even have drafting and free agency, which is a month or so away. We will win no matter what. I don’t care what the rules are. We’ll figure out a way to do that. This is what good organizations do. They figure out a way to win the game. Our game is to win matches, win trophies… Look, the rules in the game will change but we will continue to do so. We’re going to work hard to do that, and I think we’ve got really smart people.”
Many of the more impactful restrictions—locking in draft picks, trade restrictions—for teams in the second tax arena (where the Warriors reside annually in their current position), do not take effect for another year. This is an important note. Thompson’s $43.2 million contract is up for grabs next summer, allowing for more maneuverability.
Meanwhile, the new rules mean they won’t have a mid-level exception for taxpayers this off-season and limit their buyout possibilities next March. But the Warriors have been reluctant to use TPMLE most summers, and they’re not usually that hungry for money anyway. So they have time to figure out the cleanest way to get rid of the second apron and they can rearrange and adjust with that in mind this summer.
Kerr will return as coach next season. Curry still has three years left on his deal. Thompson is under contract. Green has a player option, but the two sides seem intent on reuniting. Myers’ heart was still intact, and part of Myers’ press conference included messages from him that he had not escaped from a sinking ship.
“This team is in great shape,” Myers said. “Great form. Joe’s not going anywhere. He supported me. He gave me – if there was a measure of cost per win, I don’t know how good I would be. Because we spent a lot of money because he’s so competitive and he cares so much. To have an owner who puts his heart in And his will and his money to win, you couldn’t ask for anything else. That doesn’t change. You have a great coach. You have arguably one of the best players I’ve ever played and one of the best people I’ve ever played in Steph Curry.”
“So the future is incredibly bright. I know some people have said I’m leaving because there are so many big decisions. Well, it’s been a lot worse than this. There’s been a much tougher summer than this when we started last. So I have a lot of faith in him.” What will happen and I have no doubt that a lot of success will still be forthcoming.”
(Photo: Darren Yamashita/USA Today)