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.

Quinn Cook states his case for spot on Warriors playoff roster

Quinn Cook states his case for spot on Warriors playoff roster

Because it’s only two games against two of the worst teams in the NBA, it’s prudent to resist the temptation to fall in love with Quinn Cook.

Putting up Stephen Curry numbers in consecutive games does not make one Stephen Curry.

It’s impossible, though, not to clearly understand why the Warriors have consistently expressed faith in Cook, the two-way point guard who has spent three years trying to make an NBA team.

Two fine games are enough, though, for the coaching staff to recommend adding him to the postseason roster. It’s wise to have a contingency in case Curry has to miss any of the games that matter most, and the Warriors are a smart bunch.

Cook on Saturday told reporters in Phoenix that the Warriors have not addressed the possibility of being on the postseason roster. That doesn’t mean they aren’t thinking about it.

“He’s proven that he can compete at this level,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters Saturday night in Phoenix. “The last couple games, you’re seeing what he can do. He’s a great shooter. We’ve known that."

Cook scored, on back-to-back nights, 25 and 28 points, shooting 70 percent (21-of-30) from the field, including 71.4 percent (10-of-14) from deep. That’s Curry-type quality when he’s on a roll. Cook also handled the ball well, recorded seven assists and was pesky enough on defense to nab five steals.

“Quinn is showing the world that he is an NBA player,” Draymond Green said.

Cook’s 10 3-pointers over the past two games are more than anybody not named Curry, Durant or Thompson have drained over a similar stretch -- and only Nick Young among the team’s reserves have made more over any single month.

The Warriors, it just so happens, are dead last in 3-pointers made by reserves, averaging 2.0 per game, with Young accounting for 1.5 per game.

Cook is showing he might be able to help with this.

Kerr loves 3-point shooters. General manager Bob Myers is fond of saying he can never have too many shooters.

The Warriors are discovering they can’t have too many capable point guards, particularly when Cook is proving that he, like Curry, also is comfortable playing off the ball. Pairing Cook with Shaun Livingston, the primary backup to Curry, is a nice option to have.

“I’ve said all along,” Green said. “I sit here and watch so many other teams play and I wonder, ‘How is Quinn Cook a two-way player?' And then you’ve got guys in the league that can’t dribble with their left hand, or can’t go left, can’t go right, but you’ve got a guy like that as a two-way player.

“So I’m happy for him. I pray that he gets rewarded and gets what he deserves.”

Cook had brief trial runs with the Pelicans, as a rookie, and the Mavericks last season. He played a total of 14 games with the two teams. He has played 21 with the Warriors, seven as a starter, but only in the last two has he looked entirely comfortable in his role and with these teammates.

With Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Curry out, the Warriors need Cook to score. He knows he needs to score. He is scoring. And doing a few other things, too.

“Playing in the NBA is something that I’ve dreamed of my whole life,” Cook said after his 28-point performance in a win over the Suns. “I can’t really put it into words, just being able to put on an NBA jersey night in and night out, practice with an NBA team every day, has been my goal since I can remember. I’m just trying to get better every day and live in the moment. I’m just trying to win games. I’m trying to help out as much as possible, whether it’s getting guys shots, playing defense, shooting the ball.

“Lately the ball’s been going in a little bit. But with three All-Stars out, I’ve got to step up. I’m just taking it game by game and competing night in and night out.”

Sometime early next month, if not late this month, the Warriors expect to have their starting backcourt. Curry and Thompson will have returned before the playoffs begin April 14-15, and both will need to be available if for reasonable chance to repeat as champs.

But Cook is making his case for inclusion. He’ll get another test Monday night in San Antonio, where Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is sure to throw at Cook a few wrinkles he may not have seen, but the Warriors have seen enough to know he can help.

“He’s a good fit for us, too,” Kerr said. “It’s not just his ability. It’s his maturity. He’s very professional, does whatever is asked, the guys love him. They want to go to war with him.

“He’s a guy. He’s an NBA guy. We’re lucky to have him.”

That’s not an demand, or even a preference. To add Cook to the roster, the Warriors would have to shed one of their 15 players currently on a standard NBA contract.

But somewhere among Kerr’s words, I believe I see an endorsement.

Warriors need vets to bounce back against young Suns


Warriors need vets to bounce back against young Suns

The Warriors have lost three of their last four games, their roster is in shambles and, still, they look like pure gold in contrast to the Suns team they’re facing Saturday night in Phoenix.

Coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 6 o’clock, with tipoff scheduled for 7:05.

Reeling from the absences of Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, the Warriors (52-17) showed plenty of the scrap in losing to the Kings on Friday in Oakland but couldn’t get much offense from their veterans.

The Suns (19-51) are having the worst season since 1968-69, their inaugural season. They’ve lost seven in a row, 16 of their last 17 and 21 of their last 23.


Warriors by 3


Quinn Cook vs. Elfrid Payton: Payton bolted to a 16-point first quarter and scored 29 the last time he faced the Warriors. Quinn is coming off a career-high 25-point game. With teams relying on diminished rosters, whichever of the two young PGs can set a tone gives his team an advantage.


Warriors: G Omri Casspi (R ankle sprain), G Stephen Curry (R ankle tweak), F Kevin Durant (R rib soreness), G Pat McCaw (L wrist fracture) and G Klay Thompson (R thumb fracture) are listed as out.

Suns: G Devin Booker (R hand sprain) and F Alan Williams (R meniscus tear) are listed as questionable. G Brandon Knight (L ACL tear) is listed as out.


Warriors: 7-3.

Suns: 1-9.


Tony Brothers (crew chief), Jacyn Goble, James Williams


The Warriors won the first of four meetings this season, 129-83 on Feb. 12 at Oracle Arena. They swept all four games last season and are 12-1 against the Suns in the Steve Kerr era.


MOTIVATED VETS: Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, Zaza Pachulia, David West and Nick Young, expected to generate offense, combined to shoot 19-of-59 (32.2 percent) in a five-point loss Friday. They must be better; they can’t be much worse. Phoenix leads the NBA in points allowed.

THE BIG MEN: JaVale McGee started nine straight games at center, but Pachulia started the last two. The Suns are long up front, so McGee could be in line for a start or more minutes. In addition, Damian Jones, the team’s other 7-footer, also could get playing time.

STREAKING WITH THREES: The Suns own the longest active streak of games with at least one 3-point make (1,128). The Warriors are No. 2 (1,121). Both streaks are endangered. Curry, Thompson and Durant are out for the Warriors. Booker will either sit out or play with a splint on his shooting hand.