OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — After the heartbreak of a Game 7 defeat and a championship that somehow got away, Golden State Warriors general manager Bob Myers went home late Sunday and had a rare glass of whiskey with his wife and ate a grilled cheese sandwich.
He knew there wouldn’t be any more quiet moments in the near future after the grind of another extended NBA season. The Warriors lost in the deciding game of the NBA Finals to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, becoming the first team to squander a 3-1 finals lead. But Myers has to get right back to work. The draft is Thursday night and then the start of free agency July 1.
“One marathon ended, got a drink of water and now we’re moving on,” Myers said Tuesday, later noting, “Even if we were sitting here right now with a parade, it doesn’t change who we draft and it actually shouldn’t change a ton of other things either, but it’s hard not to get swept up in that current. Because in this society, you win or you’re everybody else, and right now we’re everybody else. So you have to be strong enough and disciplined enough to not overreact to making decisions.”
Myers made one thing clear Tuesday: Amid all the speculation about their futures, free agents-to-be Harrison Barnes and Festus Ezeli will be evaluated by more than just their poor performances in the postseason and finals.
“At this point it’s about what do you do to make sure that it doesn’t happen again?” forward Draymond Green said of the finals collapse. “I’m not the GM of this team, so I don’t make any decisions or make any changes to our roster. That’s not up to me. I do what I do, that’s play the game. Everything else will take care of itself, whether that’s the same 15 guys, whether that’s 10 of the 15 guys, whether that’s 12 of the 15 guys.”
With eight free agents in all, Myers insists he is in no position to start guessing who could return at this early stage. A year ago after capturing the first championship for the franchise in 40 years, Golden State kept its roster together for another special season that included a record 73 wins to break the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls’ mark after a record 24-0 start.
“A lot of decisions that have to made,” MVP Stephen Curry said. “We’ve got a great roster that’s accomplished a lot.”
These days, Myers said the Warriors have built a desirable culture that players want to be a part of under the leadership of NBA Coach of the Year Steve Kerr. Owner Joe Lacob “is aggressive when he wakes up in the morning, he’s aggressive when he goes to bed,” Myers said of continuing to build and improve.
As Golden State looks to build the roster for next season, Myers said he would measure the value of continuity against the players available on the market. The status of rookie forward Kevon Looney is still a question mark. Golden State’s top draft pick last year out of UCLA is recovering from left hip surgery and won’t participate in summer league. The hope is he will be healthy for training camp or at the latest near the start of the regular season.
“We’re always going to try and be better, but sometimes like last summer we won a championship I didn’t do anything really,” Myers said. “We brought back the same team. Some people have said that was something we shouldn’t have done. … The team actually in some ways was better. Didn’t win a championship so maybe we weren’t. But as far as making the right decisions in the offseason, we made sound decisions without being what some people would call aggressive. They probably would have called it passive. It doesn’t mean you’re not looking aggressively.”
Myers completed exit interviews with the players Monday before everyone went their separate ways for the summer.
For most, the sting of being oh so close was still fresh and difficult to comprehend, one day after a 93-89 defeat to the Cavs decided in the final minute on the Warriors’ home floor in Oracle Arena.
“I was wondering how our players would react or process losing in Game 7 after the season we had, but what I saw and what I heard was really encouraging, from a maturity standpoint, from a learning capacity, from a processing,” Myers said. “Shaun Livingston, it was really poignant, he said, `How am I supposed to feel?’ And I said, `Not good.’ It’s not supposed to feel good to lose like we did. It’s supposed hurt, and that’s what drives you.”