Zaza Pachulia eager to 'learn from the best' in Warriors’ front office

Zaza Pachulia eager to 'learn from the best' in Warriors’ front office

When his phone stopped ringing during the NBA free agency frenzy last month, Zaza Pachulia wondered if he would have the opportunity to extend his career into a 17th season.

Then came a call the veteran center was not expecting.

It was Kirk Lacob, executive vice president of basketball operations for the Warriors, and he wanted to know if Pachulia might be interested in rejoining the team in an off-court capacity.

Yes, because he enjoyed most everything about his two seasons with the Warriors.

No, because Pachulia, who entered the NBA as a 19-year-old in 2003, wasn’t sure he was ready to call it quits.

A few days later, after discussing the possibility with his family and, among others, his good friend Klay Thompson, it was unanimously concluded this was the perfect opportunity for Pachulia to begin his transition from player to what he hopes will be an executive position.

“Honestly, I wanted to keep playing,” he told NBC Sports Bay Area on Thursday. “At first I got a couple calls from different teams. But it didn’t go the way I wanted. Then in the middle of July, it got very quiet. I kind of sensed it would be difficult to play another year.”

Lacob’s phone call led to the official announcement that Pachulia will be full-time consultant next season. He’ll do some coaching, probably with the team’s young big men, but he also will participate in player personnel discussions and perhaps some scouting.

“Coming from the team and franchise where I have so many amazing memories, probably the best memories of my career . . . honestly, I took it as a chance to retire and still stay with basketball,” said Pachulia, who has settled in the Bay Area with his family.

“If you’re going to start a new chapter, this is the way to do it,” he added. “At some point, I figured this is better than playing for another team. I can learn from the best.”

[RELATED: Looking back at the bromance between Zaza and Klay]

Pachulia says he’ll be all ears, willing to absorb any morsels of knowledge he can from coach Steve Kerr and his staff, as well as general manager Bob Myers, COO Rick Welts and Lacob.

“It’s very exciting,” Pachulia said. “Even though, the games are over, I’m not sad at all. I’m thankful to have 16 years, with so many great moments.

“It’s good to be wanted and I can’t wait to start. I know I’m going to learn a lot. At the same time, I get to share my experience as well.”

Warriors close facility after team employee has positive coronavirus test

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Warriors close facility after team employee has positive coronavirus test

The Warriors announced Wednesday night that a team employee who works at the franchise's Oakland facility had tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19). As a result, the facility has been temporarily closed. 

"We have been notified that an employee who works at our Oakland facility has been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19," Golden State said in a team statement. "As a result, the Oakland facility will undergo a thorough sanitation immediately and will be temporarily closed. Due to this closure, our virtual summer basketball camps, which have operated with only staff present at the facility (no campers) this summer, will be postponed next week."

This is the first known instance of a positive coronavirus test within the Warriors franchise.

This story will be updated.

Why Warriors' Draymond Green enjoys playing with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson

Why Warriors' Draymond Green enjoys playing with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson

Draymond Green has spent his entire NBA career on the Warriors with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson as teammates. This season, however, he played alongside them far less often than any previous season to date.

Despite having only played four games with Curry and zero with Thompson over the last calendar year, the benefits of playing with the Splash Brothers are still fresh in Green's mind. When ESPN's Jalen Rose suggested people need to "put more respect" on the Splash Brothers' names, Green described how much he enjoys playing with Curry and Thompson.

"It's extremely dope," Green said Wednesday on ESPN's "Jalen & Jacoby." "A, they've been a huge part of changing the game of basketball as a whole. But then when you play with two guys like Steph and Klay ... their selflessness, that's important in building a championship team. It's never all about them.

"For me, as a facilitator, I can't ask for two better guys to play with. Delivering the ball, trying to put the ball on time, on target, but always knowing that if you put the ball in the right place, they can get a shot off.

"Seeing the eruptions that they can go on, it's always fun to play with those guys and the way they can just wreck a defense. They'll have two or three guys chasing them, and it's always fun seeing the guys turning to each other and start bickering because they done messed up the defensive assignment." 

[RELATED: Draymond gets votes for All-Defense, DPOY in coaches poll]

With the Warriors not included in the NBA's expanded playoff format, it's going to be quite a bit longer until Green, Curry and Thompson take the court together again. But when they do, they should be amply rested, which is a bad sign for the rest of the league.

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