Warriors

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.

New Clippers advisor Jerry West: 'I did not want to leave' Warriors

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USATSI

New Clippers advisor Jerry West: 'I did not want to leave' Warriors

After six years as an Executive Board member for the Warriors, Jerry West unexpectedly departed in June. He took an advisory role with the division rival Clippers.

It was a curious move for the 79-year-old. Leave the defending champs for a team in turmoil?

On Monday, the former Lakers legend and Hall of Famer talked about his move south an interview with The Athletic's Tim Kawakami.

"Frankly it was very sad, OK? It really was. A place where I thought that if I was going to work another year or if somebody wanted me to work another year, I thought I could contribute; I did not want to leave. I did not want to leave. I was very happy there.

But those things happen sometimes. Obviously to be around a bunch of players that were as together as any I’ve seen and I think more importantly the talent that was on that team and to see the joy. There’s a lot of joy there. I think those are the kind of environments where people really prosper."

West then explains why he's not with the Warriors anymore.

"It was time for me to leave. I’m in Los Angeles again. For me, I’ll have a chance to go in the office a little bit and watch some of the people that have been hired, to watch our coaches coach. I’ve often said I’ve done some crazy things in my life because of the timing and maybe the timing was right."

West won one NBA title as a player and has eight as an executive, including two with the Warriors.

The Clippers, along with West, get their first look at the defending champion Warriors on Monday, Oct. 30 in Los Angeles.

Steve Kerr: 'The most impressive thing with our guys...'

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AP

Steve Kerr: 'The most impressive thing with our guys...'

It's been a pretty good run for the Warriors over the last three seasons:

- 2014-15 = 67-15, NBA champions
- 2015-16 = 73-9, NBA runner-up
- 2016-17 = 67-15, NBA champions

And Steve Kerr is on record saying that his team will be even better in 2017-18.

The Warriors' head coach recently sat down with Scott Ostler of The San Francisco Chronicle and explained why he isn't concerned about the upcoming campaign.

“Ultimately, we’re in a great spot. Our guys are happy, they’re doing their thing. There’s no need for much drama. The most impressive thing with our guys is, people talk about Pat Riley’s book and what he calls ‘the disease of me,’ where you win a championship and all of a sudden, everyone wants a bigger role, more money, whatever.

“I think that is sort of human nature, to want more. But our guys I think, have a genuine awareness that they’re getting all that through winning. More is coming their way individually as a result of the team’s success.

"It takes a really mature perspective to feel that way.”

Nothing exemplifies Kerr's thoughts more than Kevin Durant's financial sacrifice.

[REWIND: Myers: 'Unequivocally' there is no Iguodala or Livingston without Durant]

He could have earned about $34.7 million yet agreed to a $25 million salary for next season to help the Warriors retain Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston.

Golden State replaced Ian Clark, James Michael McAdoo and Matt Barnes with Nick Young, Omri Casspi and Jordan Bell.

Otherwise, everybody else is back.

"We have a lot of momentum, and our guys have a comfort level, and obviously, we’re loaded with talent," Kerr told The Chronicle. "It’s fun to think about the season, think about where we can get better, players we can add. That’s what I spend a lot of my time down here doing, just thinking about what’s next for us.

“But I don’t worry at all about us being successful; I don’t worry about anybody’s ego getting in the way.”

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders and a Web Producer at NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller