Warriors

Why part of Joe Lacob believes Kevin Durant leaving Warriors was for best

Why part of Joe Lacob believes Kevin Durant leaving Warriors was for best

Warriors owner Joe Lacob did not want to see Kevin Durant leave Golden State in free agency last summer.

But you can't always get what you want.

The two-time NBA Finals MVP -- who is expected to miss the entire 2019-20 season because of a ruptured right Achilles tendon sustained in Game 5 of last year's NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors -- now is a member of the Brooklyn Nets.

“I was sad to see him go because I think if he’d have stayed -- which I think he should have -- we would have, maybe not this year but for the next five years, one of the best players in basketball,” Lacob recently told Wes Goldberg of the Bay Area News Group. “So that was sad.

"On the other hand, he was going to be injured and out this year and he’s 31, he’s getting older. So there’s a part of me that said it might be for the best, long-term, for the franchise.” 

It's safe to assume that it's a very, very small part of Lacob that feels it might be for the better that KD is no longer with the Warriors. And it's not a surprise to hear this sort of rationalization from Lacob because he always is looking ahead and is forward-thinking at his core.

[RELATEDReport: T-Wolves 'dangled' Wiggins-for-D-Lo trade to Dubs]

For the man who "took" the Warriors away from Oracle founder Larry Ellison in 2010, there is no time to dwell on the past. It's all about assembling a roster that can compete for titles as soon as possible.

“We have no reason to not be in the hunt for championships all the time, every year, forever,” Lacob told BANG. “If we don’t, we’ll make sure we get people who do.”

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Steph Curry believes Warriors' 15-50 year could be blessing in disguise

Steph Curry believes Warriors' 15-50 year could be blessing in disguise

Making it to five straight NBA Finals is a tough task.

Not many NBA teams have accomplished it. The journey each year takes a lot out of players.

During the Warriors' five straight Finals appearances, they played 105 NBA playoff games. That's a lot of extra miles on the human body, and it started to take its toll on the team over the course of a few months last year.

Kevin Durant, before leaving for the Brooklyn Nets in free agency, ruptured his Achilles in Game 5 of the NBA Finals. Klay Thompson tore his ACL in the very next game, the last of the Warriors' season.

In the Warriors' fourth game of the 2019-20 season, Steph Curry broke his left hand and didn't return until early March. With his Splash Brother sidekicks out, Draymond Green nursed several injuries and missed 22 of 65 games.

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

All that added up to an NBA-worst 15-50 record this season.

So what gives Curry hope that the Warriors can get back on the right track during the 2020-21 season?

"We still have a great core," Curry told reporters Friday during an interview after the first round of the American Century Championship golf tournament in Lake Tahoe. "We have an understanding of who we are, and like you said, it was a crazy year with my hand injury, Klay being out all year, Draymond in and out of the lineup with injuries all year, a lot of new guys. It's definitely different.

"But this could be a blessing in disguise in terms of this next three, four years we want to have. Get rested, get healthy. We'll obviously be watching Orlando and taking all that in, but come next season, whenever that starts, we'll be ready. We've had a long seven years, so it was nice to get a little refresh."

The NBA is set to restart the 2019-20 season in Orlando later this month. At the moment, the 2020-21 season is expected to start as early as Dec. 1.

The championship core of Curry, Thompson and Green still have that hunger and still carry a chip on their shoulders, as guard Damion Lee said recently on the Runnin' Plays podcast.

[RELATED: Five bold predictions for Warriors]

General manager Bob Myers and his staff will attempt to retool the roster this offseason, and get the trio some help.

But no matter what happens in Orlando or during the offseason, Curry and the Warriors expect to return to contention next season.

It would be unwise to doubt him.

[SPORTS UNCOVERED: Listen to the latest episode]

Warriors' championship core still has chip on shoulders, Damion Lee says

Warriors' championship core still has chip on shoulders, Damion Lee says

When it comes to understanding what motivates the best players to become even better, Warriors guard Damion Lee has gotten a first-hand look by scanning his own locker room. 

“Steph [Curry] revolutionized the game,” Lee said on the Runnin’ Plays podcast. “But if you look at him, Klay [Thompson], Draymond [Green], a lot of guys on this team, we’re all guys that have a chip (on our shoulders).” 

Lee pointed to Curry coming out Davidson, a mid-major college in North Carolina. Draft analysts called him “undersized” and “not a finisher.” Curry was the No. 7 overall pick in the 2009 draft. 

Thompson was a skinny kid getting few looks from Pac-12 schools. Washington State, a relative no-name among basketball powerhouses like UCLA and Arizona in the conference, gave him a shot. The Warriors picked Thompson No. 11 in the 2011 draft. 

Green was a second-round draft pick. Warriors fans are familiar with the story that Green can rattle off the 34 players selected ahead of him in 2012 before he heard his name at No. 35.

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Now this trio wrote their own stories, forming a dynasty with three NBA championships in four seasons. Curry is a two-time NBA MVP. Green is a Defensive Player of the Year. Thompson is among the best two-way players in the league. 

The Warriors made sure they paid these guys too, but fat checks didn’t lessen their hunger

"Some people make it in the league and get their first or second deal, then level off and be complacent," Lee said. "But everyone I’ve mentioned strives for more. We want more.” 

Lee himself was doubted, fending off insults that he’s only in the league because he’s Curry’s brother-in-law. Lee made his path through Drexel, then Louisville, then the G League, overcoming injuries along the way to finally earning a contract with the Warriors last season. 

When Lee thinks of his teammates and the desire to improve after an injury-filled 15-win season, he continues down the roster, mentioning Eric Paschall, Jordan Poole, Kevon Looney, and Juan Toscano-Anderson as fighters. 

“You just have to give credit to guys who have kept that consistent chip, who want to be great,” Lee said.

[RELATED: How Wiggins won over Lee]

Lee landed on the idea of “intestinal fortitude,” the guts it takes to go beyond expectations and push yourself. 

“Having that and knowing you want more ... There’s just a spark,” Lee explained.

[SPORTS UNCOVERED: Listen to the latest episode]