Even in the offseason, there are no off days for Bob Myers, general manager of the Warriors.
From re-signing Draymond Green to unloading David Lee and his onerous contract, the exec has been slashing items off the organization’s to-do list at a furious rate, but now is not the time to let up.
After Thursday’s news conference to announce Green’s new five-year, $85 million deal, Myers laughed when asked if a summer vacation might be in order. It was the kind of nervous laugh that suggested a break was the last thing on his mind.
The Warriors are the newly-crowned NBA champions, which simply means everybody will be gunning for their throne.
The reloaded San Antonio Spurs, who have crushed the offseason, top the list of challengers. They’ve landed elite free-agent forward LaMarcus Aldridge, worked out new deals for Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green and convinced Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili to stick around for another season.
“You’re never confident that it will work out this way,” Spurs GM R.C. Buford said of the summer rampage. “You hope to plan as well as you can. You hope to prepare.”
The Spurs are far from the only team preparing to take down the Warriors down. Thanks to one of the most bizarre free-agent sagas in league history, the Los Angeles Clippers managed to reel back DeAndre Jordan after the 6-11 center reneged on a verbal agreement to join the
Dallas Mavericks. While Green dubbed the the Jordan pseudo-hostage situation a “fiasco” that was “fun to watch,” the return of the rim-protector to Staples Center also ensures that the Pacific Division rivalry between the Clippers and the Warriors lives on.
And don’t forget the Cleveland Cavaliers.
After Kyrie Irving said the Cavs “would have definitely won an NBA championship” if he and Kevin Love had been healthy, Green took a metaphorical two-by-four to the point guard’s line of reasoning. When asked about the comment, Green rolled his eyes, shrugged and said: “Larry O’Brien resides in Oakland, California.”
Green then took a long pause, cringed and channeled his inner E-40: “If I was 6-11, I think that I could be like Anthony Davis. But I’m not, and I’m not like Anthony Davis. You know, we all got our ‘ifs’ in life: ‘If this would have happened, I would be doing that.’ But if ‘if’ was a fifth, we all would be drunk.”
Green dismantled Irving in the war of words, but it remains to be seen what happens next on the court. With a healthy Irving and Love, the Cavs will be a formidable force if the teams meet up in the Finals again.
The back-and-forth between Irving and Green highlights another challenge. Now that the Warriors are the team to beat, they must be careful not to become entangled in mind games with rivals.
For Myers, the focus remains squarely on the court. With Green locked in and Lee jettisoned, Myers’ top priority is scouting the Summer League.
“We’re going to go to [Las] Vegas to watch some of our guys — younger players — [Kevon] Looney, who we drafted, [James Michael] McAdoo, [Ognjen] Kuz[mic],” Myers said. “So, it will be evaluating our younger talent on the team. Seeing how they’re performing, how they’re developing.”
Myers will also be keeping an eye on one of the organization’s young coaches — Luke Walton. With Alvin Gentry having departed to take over as head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans, the Warriors need a new lead assistant, and Walton, who is the head man with the Summer League team, is a leading candidate.
While Gentry’s seat on the bench remains up for grabs, the braintrust has been busy filling other openings. The Warriors recently announced that Larry Harris, a six-year Warriors scout who played a prominent role in drafting Looney, has been promoted to director of player personnel.
With the Warriors’ political capital at an all-time high following their first NBA title in 40 years, the team also is kicking its Mission Bay arena project into overdrive. In a news release that boldly states the new building is “set to open in 2018,” the team tabbed Stephen Collins as chief operating officer of “GSW Arena LLC.”
The hiring of Collins, a veritable arena guru, represents a major power play. His work has included primary roles at Madison Square Garden and the Forum, former home of the Los Angeles Lakers.