OAKLAND – Having seen his team recover from a 3-1 deficit to win the Western Conference Finals, Warriors CEO Joe Lacob is eager to get on with the series he has longed for since late last summer.
The Cavaliers, healthy and rolling, are coming to Oracle Arena for Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday.
[RATTO: Warriors proved they can take a kicking and keep on sticking]
“I can’t wait. I’m so excited. And it’s exactly the matchup that I, frankly, was dreaming of this year,” Lacob told CSNBayArea.com Monday night, after a 96-88 victory over Oklahoma City in Game 7 at Oracle Arena.
The Warriors last season defeated Cleveland in six games to win the championship. Insofar as the Cavaliers were without Kyrie Irving for the last five games and without Kevin Love for the entire series, there was considerable debate as to whether the Warriors caught a break.
Some coaches and former players implied that the Warriors were lucky to have played a short-handed Cavaliers team, with LeBron James as the only available star.
[POOLE: Curry silences Westbrook's giggling: 'That's just who he is']
Going into the rematch, both teams are fairly healthy. Cleveland sailed through the Eastern Conference playoffs, sweeping the first two series and eliminating Toronto in six games in the conference finals.
“I think I can speak for most of the team,” Lacob said. “We’re pretty excited to go play them again because of everything that was said after we won last year, that they weren’t full strength.
“And, apparently, LeBron wants us too. So it should be interesting.”
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.
The Warriors received their 2018 NBA championship rings Tuesday night, and they're definitely fit for back-to-back basketball kings.
Don’t believe us? Just check out the bling that Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Co. received before the season opener at Oracle Arena.
The ring contains several features that symbolize the Warriors’ dominance, but our favorite? As the team explained it in its video reveal, “the bristle texture featured on both sides of the ring represent the series sweep in the NBA Finals.”
Ouch. Sorry (not sorry) 'bout that, LeBron and the Cavs …
The top of the ring also twists off to reveal “Strength In Numbers,” the Warriors’ slogan, and it’s reversible. Yes, reversible. So if players want a white-topped ring, they can have it. If they want blue instead, they can have that, too.
Hey, it’s nice to have options. You need that when you win three rings in four years.