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 takeaways: What we learned in 124-122 overtime loss to Knicks

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in 124-122 overtime loss to Knicks


SAN FRANCISCO -- In the battle of the worst teams in the NBA, the Warriors came up short.

In their latest effort -- a 124-122 overtime loss to the dysfunctional Knicks (5-20) at Chase Center -- the Warriors (5-21) were bullied from the start as New York built a 22-point first-half lead. 

For much of the season, Golden State's veteran core has been warned that these types of starts will not end in its favor, considering the Warriors' lack of talent. On Wednesday, the team didn't take heed to the message, losing their second straight game. 

Here are the takeaways.

Warriors get bullied early

Bad starts have been the norm for this iteration of the Warriors and Wednesday was no different. Through the first 24 minutes, the Knicks built an 18-point halftime lead as Julius Randle, Marcus Morris Sr., and rookie RJ Barrett scored 44 points combined through the first two quarters.

The Warriors responded after halftime, outscoring the Knicks 37-21 over a stretch in the second half and showed the effort they should have put forth at the beginning of the game. D'Angelo Russell sent the game into overtime with a late 3-pointer.

In previous years, with a star-studded roster, Golden State could afford such starts with Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson looming in the wings. Now, with a younger cast, these types of starts can't happen. 

Solid game from Draymond Green

In a season he's not expected to score, Green did just that Wednesday evening, finishing with 14 points in 34 minutes. 

Playing mostly point forward role, he grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out 12 assists, helping Russell and Glenn Robinson reach double figures. With three minutes left in regulation, Green found Russell for a 3-pointer to bring the Warriors within two points. On the next possession, he grabbed a rebound, found Russell again, leading to another score to tie the game. 

This year has been a trying one for the three-time champion as he's trading wins for lessons, putting his arms around the young roster. But as he showed, Wednesday, he's still got some game. 

Eric Paschall rookie wall?

Sure looks like it after his latest output. In 17 minutes, Paschall finished with just six points on 2-of-6 from the field. Entering Wednesday, he was one of the best rookies in the league. However, he's shooting just 39 percent from the field over his last three games as a hip injury is impeding his progress. 

In Wednesday's loss, he was battered, frequently grimacing, even after jamming his hand. 

No matter how good Paschall was at the start of the season, a rookie wall was inevitable. His response in the coming days will be vital.

Watch rehabbing Klay Thompson hit half-court shot at Chase Center

Watch rehabbing Klay Thompson hit half-court shot at Chase Center

Klay Thompson has yet to play a game at Chase Center, but on Wednesday night, he was seen shooting on the Warriors' new home court.

Prior to the Warriors' game against the Knicks, Thompson spent a few minutes shooting and even nailed a half-court shot.

A day earlier, the All-Star shooting guard was seen shooting after Warriors practice.

Thompson is rehabbing from surgery on his left ACL and is still months away from returning to game action.

With the Warriors mired in a 5-20 season, fans will take all the positive developments they can get.

[RELATED: Ayesha says Steph's injury was 'really, really bad']

We'll be honest: It's good to see Klay's sweet stroke again.