Tag: Joe Lacob

Joe Lacob

Why did Warrior fans boo?


The timing was uncomfortable for everyone — it was supposed to be a night about Chris Mullin. One of the legends of the Golden State Warriors, the Hall of Fame player and former team GM, getting his number retired.

But instead, it will be known as the night Warriors fans unloaded on team co-owner Joe Lacob, booing him mercilessly.

Why? It’s complex. The trade of Monta Ellis — the popular scoring two-guard — for the oft-injured Andrew Bogut was the straw that broke the camel’s back. That move was not generally popular in the Bay Area.

But it’s more than just that. Ray Ratto put it this way at CSNBayArea.com.

Now (Lacob) gets the picture. Nobody escapes while the team is not winning. Nobody gets a pass for good intentions. Six playoff appearances in 36 years, and one in 18, shout far louder than a public relations gesture triggered by a generous spirit.

It really but it comes back to this:

Golden State fans have been some of the most passionate in the league for decades and have suffered through decades of Chris Cohen ownership that would have been the worst in the league had Donald Sterling not lapped the field. They have made the playoffs once in the last 18 seasons and thrown the towel in on this one.

The sins of the father have come to the son. Lacob may have worked to change the Warriors culture since he and Peter Guber bought the team — that includes reconnecting with Mullin, being more accessible to fans, trying to make the team more defense oriented, bringing in Marc Jackson — but until the Warriors actually start winning and showing the changes are working it will not matter.

There is a sense Lacob talks a good game but cannot walk the walk.

Eric Freeman, a Bay Area resident who has followed the Warriors for years, summed the feelings up well at Yahoo’s Ball Don’t Lie.

The Ellis trade was certainly a factor in the uproar, but it exists in a context that explains the boos much better. For one thing, Lacob’s reaction to the trade has been questionable at best, with him already referring to it as a “transcendent deal that is going to change everything” and comparing it to the Celtics’ trade for Kevin Garnett in 2007. Every other reaction to the trade has been considerably more measured, with those in favor looking at it as one step in a long process and the detractors, like me, viewing it as exchanging one form of mediocrity for another. Either way, Lacob’s rationale for the deal is ludicrous, a response that either proves he has little knowledge of the sport or suggests he thinks very little of his fan base.

Simply put, there’s a growing feeling among the fan base that Lacob is more about talk than results. In little more than a year, he has promised the playoffs, only to steer the team towards tanking for draft position; suggested that real fans buy season tickets; hired a head coach with no experience at any level of the sport beyond an impressive playing career; talked up Klay Thompson as a Rookie of the Year candidate before he’d played a preseason game; and told anyone who’ll listen that everything is going fine. On top of that, he supported the lockout (which, whether with merit or not, robbed fans of games and led to a bizarre season). So, when Lacob took the stage at a ceremony honoring a player he had no involvement with whatsoever, the whole moment seemed a little off. If he had a better sense of Warriors’ fans outlook on the team, he might have stayed away entirely and cheered Mullin along with everyone else.

Does that excuse the Warriors fans ruining Chris Mullin’s moment? No. The timing for expressing their displeasure was poor.

But Lacob took the microphone AFTER Mullin spoke. That’s bad form. And if he didn’t know before he knows now that he has a passionate fan base, but one that expects a lot more than just platitudes. They want change. They want to see real change.

Warriors fans hijack Mullin number retirement to boo owner

Lacob Chris Mullin AP

I’ve never seen a number retirement ceremony go badly before.

I have now. Chris Mullin was having his number retired by the Golden State Warriors Monday night, but when owner Joe Lacob took the microphone — right after Mullin — fans unleashed a torrent of boos. You can see it in the video above.

Why? Apparently for some it is the Monta Ellis trade for Andrew Bogut, a move disliked by many fans in the Bay Area. Ellis was popular — scorers always are — and there is a sense that if they had to trade him they could have done better, that this was a sideways trade. At best.

But other people — such as Bay Area resident Eric Freeman of Ball Don’t Lie and The Classical — noted frustration from Warriors fans runs much deeper than just the deadline deal. They have issues such as Lacob promising change that the fans have yet to see (and fans are frustrated with the state of the franchise from far before this ownership, this team has gone to the playoffs once in the last 18 seasons). Or the feeling Lacob inserted himself into this night when he should have taken a back seat. Or Lacobs’s plans to move the team to a new, yet-to-be-built arena in San Francisco (they currently play across the bridge in Oakland). Besides, fans boo owners. There are maybe five in the NBA that if they stood at center court would not hear boos from the fans.

Lacob (and partner Joe Guber) purchased the Warriors last year and have spoke openly about changing the culture of a franchise. One of the things Lacob did change was bringing Mullin back into the fold of a franchise where he had been frozen out.

Watch the video above. When Lacob took the microphone to speak, he had to wait for the boos to subside. When he did speak the first thing he did was say, “now that we’ve got that out of the way…”

But the fans were not done and continued to boo through Lacob trying to talk about the new ownership embracing history. It got to the point that Mullin himself cane out and tried to calm the situation by saying that, “sometimes change is inevitable but it’s going to work out just fine.”

The boos did not stop, and the situation was exacerbated by Rick Barry taking his turn at the microphone to play the stern father and reprimand the fans for their treatment of Lacob and the timing. That was just gasoline on the fire.

After the game, Lacob said this to Marc Spears of Yahoo (via twitter):

“The fans are upset I guess that we traded one of our favorites. That’s all I can attribute that to. What I feel bad about is… they kind of ruined a night that was very special. The organization really tried to do the right thing with Chris.”

Fans can be frustrated with Lacob and Warriors ownership. But he’s right about the timing. Rather than talking more about Mullin and his fantastic Hall of Fame career, we are talking about the boos. That will be the story. This is what Chris Mullin’s jersey retirement will be remembered for. Which is too bad.

Golden State has an impressive front office, if they work together

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To me, the Golden State Warriors are starting to look a lot like the Corleone family. You remember, from “The Godfather.” Bear with me and we’ll get to it.

Golden State was about as poorly run a basketball operation as there has been in the NBA for two decades. The franchise has made the playoffs once in the past 17 years in a league where more than half the teams make the playoffs.

New owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber are trying to change the culture with this franchise, and that has things like bringing in new COO Rick Welts from Phoenix.

It also means a basketball operations shake up. Jerry West is in a board member, Bob Meyers is in as the assistant GM that everyone knows will have Larry Riley’s GM job in a few seasons. Lacob himself will be in on every decision and his son Kirk Lacob is the GM of the Warriors D-League team (the Dakota Wizards) and is the guy who will eventually run the team. Then there is Mark Jackson, the coach with a loud voice in the organization.

Matt Steinmetz breaks that all down over at CSNBayArea.com then asks a really good question:

Most important, do the Warriors’ decision-makers have the ability to work together? They have an abundance of voices, but do they have focus? Here’s the real question: Is this group a hodgepodge of talent or a team put together with chemistry in mind?

I see this almost as Corleone crime family power structure from the Godfather movies (one and two, we don’t speak about three in my household). Lacob is Vito, the head of the family and the ultimate decision maker. Jerry West is the consigliere. Riley and Meyers are captains, although we all know Meyers eventually gets Riley out of the way. And Kirk is a young Michael Corleone. Or Sonny. Or Fredo. We don’t know yet, the book is still out on him. Maybe Mark Jackson is Sonny.

That power structure can work — the Corleone family did quite well — as long as there is good communication and everyone is playing their roles. The first time somebody makes a power play this could get ugly. Although after the Cohen years, Warriors fans are used to ugly.

Warriors set date to retire Chris Mullin’s jersey. Finally.

Chris Mullin HOF
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Wednesday night in the Bay Area the owners of the Golden State Warriors threw a party for season ticket holders to get them excited about the team and its direction.

What would really get fans excited is to know there will be a season, but the owners couldn’t talk about that. What would get the ticket holders excited would be to talk about players and moves the franchise will make to get better, but because of the lockout the owners couldn’t talk about that, either.

So the team’s ownership brain trust — Joe Lacob, Peter Guber and Jerry West — all said this team was going to be a winner, Matt Steinmetz tells us at CSNBayArea.com. They all said it in confident but vague terms.

The one bit of news is that the Warriors plan to retire Hall of Famer Chris Mullin’s jersey, it will be sent to the rafters on Jan. 20 (a game against the Indiana Pacers, Mullin’s other team). It’s an overdue gesture that the former ownership ignored as they poisoned the franchise’s relationship with Mullin. A relationship the new ownership group has repaired.

Let’s just hope there is a game Jan. 20 where the ceremony can happen. But the Warriors owners can’t talk about that.

Warriors clean house on the business side

Joe Lacob, Peter Guber
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This one is difficult to get too upset over, unlike the lockout layoffs. The San Jose Mercury News reports that new Warriors owner Joe Lacob has made good on his intention to replace the business side staff. From the Mercury News:

Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob confirmed today that his promised total reconstruction of the franchise’s business side has begun.

In recent days, Lacob has, in his words, “relieved” most of the team’s existing VP- and senior-VP-level business-side executives.

(He already re-did his basketball side with Jerry West, Bob Myers, Kirk Lacob & Mark Jackson.)

Basically, including team president Robert Rowell, most of the senior business side executives Lacob and Peter Guber inherited in November are now out.

The only exceptions: The top staffers in the sales department.

via Warriors overhaul: Lacob cleans out most of his business-side VPs | Talking Points.

This is what happens when new ownership takes over. They want their people. You trust your guys, and  you want to make sure you have control over what happens. The Warriors are in a good enough market to profit regardless of how they’re run, so it’s hard to argue, especially when you consider the work the current regime has done in building local relationships and filling the Oracle. But again, it’s Lacob’s party now and he can invite who he wants to… and ask whoever he wants to leave.

It’s never good to have people laid off, it’s just a situation that sucks. But at least these are mostly people with high salaries who can likely survive for a bit and have a great chance of getting hired somewhere else, unlike people in the lower rungs. The decision to keep both the PR department and sales are also pretty solid given their reputations. Lacob is intent on remaking the Warriors in his own image. This is just another step.