Warriors owner Joe Lacob didn’t want to give up on former No. 2 overall draft pick James Wiseman, but in the end, he trusted his basketball people.
In an interview with The Athletic’s Tim Kawakami, Lacob said trading the 7-foot-1 center to the Detroit Pistons was "very hard" and even revealed that he believes it might come back to bite the Warriors.
"You know, we might very well regret that one, longer term or even intermediate term," Lacob told Kawakami after the Warriors' Thursday win over the Los Angeles Clippers at Chase Center. "But as much as I love the guy, I can't overrule what our basketball ops and our coaches and our players felt was the right thing to do.
"So it’s a consensus thing. We're 'we,' we’re not 'me'. And we're going to do what the best thing is, and we felt it would improve our team short term and kind of went for it for Gary [Payton II]."
Lacob said the trade took some convincing for him, but he understands the circumstances.
"I think James is a really good young player, and we’re not going to get many opportunities to draft a young guy like that again," Lacob said. "And he really didn’t … let’s be honest, he didn’t really have a chance; it’s partially his fault, partially bad luck, partially our fault for not playing him enough.
"But we’re not getting an opportunity to get a big talent like that with size very often. I mean, it was a very hard decision for the organization, to be quite honest."
Wiseman was sent to the Pistons as part of a four-team trade that allowed the Warriors to reacquire Payton from the Portland Trail Blazers. Bringing Payton back to the Bay wasn't the reason why the Warriors traded Wiseman, though.
"I don’t think [when] we started out we thought he’d be available, to be honest," Lacob said. "He was expensive last year, that contract, we couldn’t really afford it. But given what we did with Wiseman, we took some money off the books. Our biggest weakness, you could argue, has been perimeter defense. So we felt it was a good move to make."
Warriors general manager Bob Myers called the trade "tough," coach Steve Kerr said he was “all-in” on Wiseman, and players such Donte DiVincenzo, Draymond Green and Steph Curry sent well wishes to their former teammate after the deal was finalized. But apparently, the team consensus was to part ways with the big man.
Lacob built a close relationship with Wiseman over the years. While Wiseman was sent to the Warriors' G League affiliate in Santa Cruz, Lacob was courtside to show his support.
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Wiseman averaged 9.9 points and 5.0 rebounds in 60 games during his three seasons with the Warriors, and those numbers rose to 11.8 points and 8.2 rebounds in his first five games with the Pistons.
Kawakami asked Lacob if he's watching Wiseman's box scores in Detroit, and his answer was telling.
"Sure I am," he said.
That probably won't change anytime soon.