Joe Lacob purchased the Warriors in 2010. Four years later, Lacob still has a case of “new owner’s syndrome.”
Since buying the Warriors, Lacob has made his imprint on the franchise.
On June 22, 2010, Charlie Bell and his contract were traded to the Golden State Warriors. During the 2010-11 season, Bell had very little on-court impact. He played a mere 19 games, averaging nine minutes and 1.7 points per game. Lacob who was frusturated paying Bell such a large salary and seeing little return, pressured Warriors management into using the Warriors’ amnesty provision.
Warriors management justified the move by saying it allowed them to have enough cap space to go after centers DeAndre Jordan and Tyson Chandler in free agency, but it was clear that Jordan wanted to resign with the Clippers and Chandler was a fan of the Knicks. Bell’s contract would have expired at the end of the 2011-12 season and he could have had been a throw in trade piece during the trade deadline. But Lacob was keen on amnestying him before the season. As a result the Warriors were left without a franchise center, without an amnesty provision, and with Andris Biedrins and his massive contract.
They felt the residual effect of amnestying Bell last offseason when they tried signing a big-name free agent. The Warriors had very little cap space because of Biedrins’ and Richard Jefferson’s massive contracts. As a result they had to mortgage their future by trading away multiple first round picks in order to get rid of their overpriced, under-producing players.
The Warriors signed Andre Iguodala, a player that Lacob thought would make them a legitimate title contender. But Iguodala was not the Iguodala that once led the Philadelphia 76ers to the postseason. He was a solid player — don’t get me wrong — but the Arizona product struggled and didn’t live up to the hype he came in with. Iguodala was supposed to become the team’s secondary ball handler. He was supposed to take pressure off of Stephen Curry in the same way that Jarrett Jack did in 2012-13. His handle proved to not be good enough and even though he was a good wing defender, Klay Thompson was the Warriors best wing defender all season long.
Iguodala was supposed to be the missing piece. But the Warriors played inconsistent basketball during the regular season and even after winning 51 games, Lacob thought they underperformed. During the postseason, without Andrew Bogut, without the usual production of David Lee, and against a better Clippers team the Warriors lost in the first round.
As a result Mark Jackson lost his job. Saying Lacob didn’t like Jackson is an understatement. The two seemed to never get along and it became clear that in year three of the Jackson experiment, Jackson clashed continuously with management and ownership.
As a result Lacob brought in Steve Kerr with the hopes that Kerr can do what Jackson could not.
“I knew him through friends — and through golf, quite frankly,” Lacob said of Kerr. “I’ve been on golf trips with Steve before, so I know him socially for many years. He’s best friends with one of my best friends and some other people, so I’ve known him, but not necessarily that close or that professionally as has been portrayed.”
Kerr could be a great coach. But we don’t know for sure if he will be. We knew that the Warriors players loved Jackson. We don’t know if the players will love Kerr.
Lacob clearly likes Kerr especially compared to Jackson. If Kerr and the Warriors win 45 games and are the ninth seed in the West, a scenario that is very possible, then Lacob could see far more scrutiny for “his guy” not working out as planned.