What makes the Warriors transcendent? Less superstar Stephen Curry, and more the business model surrounding him, insists Warriors majority owner Joe Lacob.
Lacob has made that point clear before — infamously saying the reason the Warriors are “light-years” ahead of other NBA teams is “not just Steph Curry” — but Tuesday’s revelations add substance to their sour relationship.
An ESPN The Magazine feature on the Warriors offers a peek into the owner/player dynamics within the organization’s walls, where Lacob seems to show a warmth to stars like Kevin Durant and Draymond Green and an aloofness to Curry.
During a January event introducing the Warriors’ new arena, opening in 2019 on the San Francisco waterfront, an elated Lacob acknowledged all the people — politicians, investors and players — who made the construction possible, the story noted. Durant, who took Curry’s place on the stage that day, received a personal thank-you from Lacob. But Curry, the two-time MVP who has committed eight years to the franchise? Nothing.
Two months later, Lacob made a rare appearance in the Warriors’ locker room on Curry’s 29th birthday following a win over the 76ers. The 61-year-old owner paid his usual visit to Green’s locker, congratulating him on his performance in the March 14 game, before sauntering over to Curry, who was coming off a poor, 8-of-23 night shooting — which Lacob made a point of emphasizing in front of surrounding reporters.
“Happy birthday,” Lacob told Curry, according to the magazine. “I know it wasn’t the best of nights for you.”
Lacob, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist who bought the struggling franchise in 2010 for $450 million (the most spent on an NBA team at the time), has watched his Warriors blossom on the court while his relationship with their best player quietly has turned icy off of it.
The former CEO of OpenTable and current partner at a private venture capital firm speaks highly of the way he’s transformed the Warriors front office, transferring the collaborative atmosphere of his work life into the typically single-minded handling of a pro sports team, without giving as much credit to Curry for being the one who actually scores baskets.
“It’s not just Steph Curry,” Lacob was quoted as saying in a 2016 New York Times Magazine story detailing his rise as an NBA executive. “It’s architecting a team, a style of play, the way they all play together. It’s all extremely thought through.”
Lacob felt the need to text Curry before the story went public that March, Curry revealed, in an effort to temper his words’ effect.
“Yeah, uh, very interesting development,” Curry told USA Today a month later when asked about Lacob’s comments. “Joe texted me right after the story was released, kind of explaining where he was coming from, what he meant to say, this and that. So I would assume the reason he texted me was not just to have a cover-up but more the respect of, like you said, we’re out here playing every single night and trying to put our team and our organization in the best position we can, win as many games as we can, as many championships as we can, and build that credibility as we go forward.”
Lacob, probably more than anyone, sees this team headed for unprecedented success. He appears to think that the Golden State brain trust is more valuable than its stars.
we’re going to for years because of the way we’ve built this team,” he said, assuming the credit for a team Curry has brought to power. “We’re light-years ahead of probably every other team in structure, in planning, in how we’re going to go about things. We’re going to be a handful for the rest of the NBA to deal with for a long time.”
Lacob is so confident in the direction Golden State — a team that had not qualified for the playoffs 16 out of 18 seasons before he took over (and his first two seasons as the owner) — is headed, he seems to try to convince Curry, and others, that the front office is the real difference-maker. In seven years, Lacob’s Warriors are worth $2 billion and are expected to add another $1 billion in value when they move to their new arena in two years.
“Obviously a lot goes into it. There’s Joe and (co-owner) Peter (Guber) spending the money, and having the right intentions, and building,” Curry said. “Hiring the right people to make the decisions, and (general manager) Bob (Myers) in the front office doing what they’re doing with roster choices and decisions, things like that. The coaching staff, and what buttons they push on a night-to-night basis and then obviously it ends with us players going out and doing what we do on our end of the floor. So we talked about it.”
Now Curry said that is leaving GSW , becouse all players support Durant.. ” I’m in this this team 6 years ..i should be the “KING” ” -added Curry