With Schlenk and West gone, Bob Myers becomes top target

With Schlenk and West gone, Bob Myers becomes top target

As should have been expected, the thinning of the Golden State Warriors is now well in season.
 
Jerry West, who ought to have a statue outside one of the team’s facilities for all the times he whispered the right thing in the right ear, has decided his future lies back in Los Angeles -- with the Clippers -- as the consigliere to Steve Ballmer rather than Joe Lacob.
 
His contributions to the Warrior powerhouse have been told often, so repeating them here is pointless. He was the conscience of an organization that needed one, the encyclopedia in a room of newbies. He helped Lacob escape potential traps, eased general manager Bob Myers through the tight moments, was the sounding board with reverb.
 
Without him, the Warriors are 42 years without a championship rather than basking in the glory of their second parade.
 
But now his independent voice is gone, as former assistant general manager Travis Schlenk took his to Atlanta to seek his own fortune.

This, then, is the first of the many paper cuts the Warriors will have to endure, avoid or insure against in defense of what they have built. In sports, as in most corporate structures, the sincerest form of flattery is not imitation, it’s talent brigandry, and since Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, the Warriors have only front office figures to poach.
 
Toward that end, Myers becomes the next target for an acquisitive owner. He can have more power if he wants it, he’ll certainly get more money if he wants it, and he might even get a piece of the team a la Billy Beane if he wants it . . . and why wouldn’t he? The idea that things are too good in Golden State and he loves all his fellow workers too much to leave is laughable, because owners never mind overpaying for something they really want, and in the NBA where everyone is flush, money is the easiest thing to splash around.
 
See “refuse, an offer he can’t.”
 
This is not to say Myers will absolutely leave. He may know that this is that once-in-a-career opportunity, and that reveling in it is the smart play. Plus, he is contracted through the 2020 season -- though contracts have a funny way of changing as circumstances change.

But this is to say he will absolutely listen to and think about an overwhelming offer somewhere down the line. Hell, maybe that offer comes from the Clippers if/when they decide to whack Doc Rivers.
 
And then there is Steve Kerr, who won’t be healthy again until he is. If his war with his spinal fluid can be won, there is no reason why Lacob wouldn’t sit down and offer him an eight-figure extension or, if Myers leaves, an extension with a bigger title. Or maybe another team decides to over-over-overpay for his wisdom and team-building and sound-bitery.
 
Or maybe if Myers leaves, Kerr goes with him, as they are the most kindred of all the Warrior spirits.
 
These are a lot of ifs to process, some of them preposterous longshots, but they are no less conceivable than the more orthodox “Warriors are going to win five titles in a row” blather. In a world where money is hurled around at breathtaking speed and volume, the only certain thing is uncertainty, and the only guarantee is the next contract. The Warriors know this; hell, they’ve done it themselves.  After all, they stole Kerr out from beneath Phil Jackson’s nose three years ago.
 
We’ve gone far afield from the entirely predictable departure of Jerry West, true, and it’s still far better competitively and economically to be a Warrior than an Anything Else. Players make teams, basketball executives find players, and owners do what they can to keep everyone happy. So far, these things have meshed well in Oakland. Very well indeed.
 
But now that the parade is done and the promises of eternal victory are made, West will serve as a reminder that change is perpetual, and there are more bright front office people in the market than there are Kevin Durants or Stephen Currys.
 
And that grass isn’t the only thing that’s green.

Does Draymond still care about DPOY after another ring? 'At this point...'

Does Draymond still care about DPOY after another ring? 'At this point...'

OAKLAND -- Even though Draymond Green still would like to win the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award, winning a championship with the Warriors has quenched much of thirst for the honor.

“I don’t really care that much anymore,” Green said after participating in the JaVale McGee Celebrity softball game Saturday at the Oakland Coliseum benefitting the Jug Life Foundation, promoting a healthy lifestyle around water consumption.

“I cared before,” Green added. “But we won the NBA championship now. I don’t care about what happened in the regular season any more at this point. I think I would have cared if I found out in Round 1 or Round 2 (of the playoffs).

“But at this point . . . I don’t even care any more.”

This is in marked contrast to what Green expressed early in the regular season, when he acknowledged the DPOY award is the only individual award he actively cared to win.

As recently as two months ago, in discussing his defensive performance in a season during which he made numerous memorable plays, including some game-saving defensive stands, Green let his words speak on his behalf.

“It is the best defensive season I’ve had, because I’ve continued to grow,” he said at the end of the regular season. “When I look at the last couple years, I think each year I got better defensively. And I think this year I’ve gotten better. So I do think it’s my best season, defensively -- but just not numbers-wise. The numbers are up a little bit more. But I actually feel better about what I’ve done on the defensive end than I have in any other year.”

Winning a championship apparently has an impact on the significance of individual awards.

A finalist for the award for which he finished second in each of the past two seasons, Green said Saturday that his plan is to leave for New York on Sunday and be in attendance when the awards are presented Monday night.

The other finalists for the award are Jazz center Rudy Gobert and Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard, who won it the last two seasons.

All three players will be among those at Basketball City at Pier 36 in New York for the inaugural telecast of the NBA Awards on TNT.

Durant fires back at salty Thunder fans with custom cupcake hat

Durant fires back at salty Thunder fans with custom cupcake hat

Kevin Durant didn't forget about the taunts.

In February, when Durant returned to Oklahoma City for the first time as a member of the Warriors, Thunder fans heckled him with t-shirts featuring cupcakes, a reference to Durant being soft for joining the 73-win Warriors.

On Saturday, the cupcake graphic made a return with one slight change.

Durant, playing in JaVale McGee's JugLife Celebrity Softball game at the Oakland Coliseum on Saturday, showed up to the stadium wearing a cupcake hat. But instead of a cheery on top, a championship ring was superimposed on top of the cupcake.

So Durant, an NBA champion, got the last laugh.