Joe Lacob

Joe Lacob says Warriors didn't pick sides in Draymond-Durant beef

Joe Lacob says Warriors didn't pick sides in Draymond-Durant beef

Joe Lacob said the Warriors weren't picking sides in the Kevin Durant-Draymond Green beef by suspending Green. 

That's what the owner and CEO told the San Francisco Chronicle, disputing the perception the Warriors tried to appease Durant, who could leave next summer as a free agent. 

“I’ve read and heard all the things people are talking about. That we’re choosing one person over another," Lacob told the paper Thursday before he and co-owner Peter Guber were honored by the Bay Area Council's Business Hall of Fame. "We’re not choosing anybody over anybody.”

The Warriors suspended Green for Tuesday's win over the Atlanta Hawks after an altercation between him and Durant. A team source told NBC Sports Bay Area's Monte Poole that Green crossed the line in the confrontation by bringing up Durant's impending free agency. 

Lacob, like Warriors coach Steve Kerr and general manager Bob Myers, would not confirm what Green said. He did, however, tell the Chronicle that the Warriors felt Green's conduct was inappropriate. 

“The point is, whether it would be any employee, they’d have to act certain ways to be our employee," Lacob said. "Draymond knows that he went beyond — won’t say what he did, or what he said, or anything like that — he went beyond what we felt appropriate, so it didn’t matter who it was.

“And he understands that, by the way. I’ve been texting with him, and he totally gets it. I do have a great relationship with him, and I still do.”

[POOLE: Warriors, in an unhealthy state, have been 'knocked back' but not down]

Green returned to the lineup in Thursday's 107-86 loss to the Houston Rockets. He played just 23 minutes, missing all three of his shots and finishing minus-10. 

The forward was hampered by a sprained right toe, and will not suit up Saturday against the Dallas Mavericks. 

Steve Kerr said he laughed in 2010 when Joe Lacob promised a Warriors title

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AP

Steve Kerr said he laughed in 2010 when Joe Lacob promised a Warriors title

Eight years ago next month, Warriors owner Joe Lacob pointed at the team's 1974-75 NBA champions banner. 

"Look up there," Lacob told the crowd at Oracle Arena on Nov. 15, 2010. "That's a very lonely flag. We want another one."

Nearly a decade later, the Warriors have three more.

Lacob told NBC Sports Bay Area's Greg Papa before Tuesday night's season opener that he imagined -- but didn't necessarily envision -- Golden State would over-deliver.

“When I watch that tape of me saying that, it was not planned and it just came out," Lacob insisted. "I always wonder whether I should have used different words or whatever, but at the end of the day, it really reflected how I felt, and how we felt. 

"We're just very proud that we've been able to deliver on some promises and a lot of hard work to these great fans what they really did earn over so many years of supporting this team. All I can say is we're going to have one great final year here at Oracle [Arena] I think, and hopefully deliver another one.”

At the time, Lacob's title aspirations seemed ... a bit ambitious. The Warriors were 35 years removed from their last title at that point, and three-plus years removed from their last playoff berth in the "We Believe" season. 

"Everybody laughed. I laughed," coach Steve Kerr admitted before the game Tuesday. "I was at home like, 'Psh, c'mon, the Warriors?’ [Lacob] set the goal that night, and I think there was a young guy named Steph Curry in the building who this whole thing has sort of revolved around in many ways as it's all crystallized."

Reflecting on his own title-winning teams, Kerr added that the "first domino has to fall." Curry, like Michael Jordan in Chicago, was Golden State's first domino. Kerr then said you need a little luck, such as Draymond Green falling to the second round of the 2012 NBA Draft.

But, according to Kerr, the foundation needs to be in place in order for that to happpen. Eight years -- but not light years -- later, Kerr believes the Warriors have that. 

"I think there's a structure that has to be in place [and Lacob] immediately went to work on when he bought the team with [Peter Guber], and tonight is a night to sort of reflect on that," Kerr continued, "and then all of a sudden you've got to warm up and play the Oklahoma City Thunder."

Joe Lacob optimistic Warriors will re-sign Kevin Durant in free agency

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AP

Joe Lacob optimistic Warriors will re-sign Kevin Durant in free agency

If you're looking for insight into Kevin Durant's future, Joe Lacob said he doesn't have any. 

"Really nothing more than you've heard," the Warriors owner told NBC Sports Bay Area's Greg Papa on Tuesday night's "SportsNet Central" when asked what he's heard from Durant and agent Rich Kleiman.

"He has earned the right to be a free agent each year because he's always signed one-year deals. I respect that," Lacob continued just before the Warriors opened the season against the Thunder at Oracle Arena. "He's been fantastic for us in terms of what he's achieved. And he's also ... he took less than he could have taken. So I have nothing but good things to say about him. I want him to be happy."

Durant signed his third consecutive "one-and-one" contract, or a two-year deal with a player option, with the Warriors this offseason. The 30-year-old won his second consecutive NBA title with the Warriors last season, but he has remained coy about his future beyond this season, while being strongly linked to the New York Knicks

Lacob told Papa he is confident Durant will return, and that the Warriors will pitch him on the benefits of staying in the Bay Area -- once the season is over. 

"Obviously, we want him back. We're going to try to recruit him, and I'm actually optimistic," Lacob said. "I don't know why ... I think the media loves the story, and maybe other people would like us to lose [Durant]. So maybe there's some of that, I don't know.

"I'm frankly not going to worry about it until the year's over with. I think Kevin and we should just go through the season, do our thing, and we'll all find out next year."

After Tuesday, they'll be one game closer to doing so.