Larry Riley Rumors
From the start, Myers leaned on West for advice, especially once elevated to GM, replacing Larry Riley. The Warriors’ unique collaborative process evolved, with decisions undertaken by a team consisting of Lacob, Myers, West and assistant GMs Travis Schlenk and Lacob’s older son, Kirk (and, later, coach Steve Kerr). Strong opinions were expected. Disagreement was encouraged. One rival coach calls it, “one of the healthiest organizations in the NBA.”
“The day before (the draft), we became convinced that they were actually going to take Jonny Flynn (in addition to Ricky Rubio),” then-general manager and current director of scouting Larry Riley told USA TODAY Sports. “There was a lot of angst before that. Frankly, the next guy taken after that was Jordan Hill, and we would have probably gone in that same direction. “Up until the day before the draft, we were really having a lot of anxiety about it, and we were in a position where there wasn’t much we could do. We also knew that New York valued him, that they would have liked him.”
A prospect walks into a small hotel room, a room that has had the bed removed in favor of a round table and offers Walgreens-purchased water as the only refreshments. The prospect sees two headboards on the wall, but no beds. He sees a table, half glasses of water and eight people (Jerry West, Bob Myers, Travis Schlenk, Kirk Lacob, Mark Jackson, Larry Riley, Larry Harris and Speedy Claxton) ready to interrogate.
“I’d be disingenuous if I said anything other than there is some real disappointment about not being the general manager anymore,” (Larry) Riley said Wednesday, a day after taking a hard swallow of his new reality. “I think the team is set to be pretty good. It took a lot of work to get it to this point, and I’d like to be in the position to enjoy the success.
Jackson won a championship with the Spurs in 2003, left a month later and Duncan and Popovich have missed him ever since. He shouldn’t be here now, but the Spurs landed him at the trade deadline while cleaning up one of their few mistakes. They’d given Richard Jefferson a four-year, $39 million extension two summers ago that was regrettable the moment the ink dried on the contract. When Golden State acquired Jackson in the Andrew Bogut trade 10 weeks ago, Buford immediately called Warriors general manager Larry Riley. “Pop,” Buford told Riley, “still thinks he can coach Jack.”
Meanwhile, several other potential candidates who are held in high regard and could be interested in the position didn’t turn up any other requests for permission by the Blazers. As of Saturday, Portland had not requested to speak with Rockets assistant general manager Sam Hinkie, Pistons assistant GM Scott Perry (or GM Joe Dumars, who was atop the Blazers’ list a year ago but has not shown interest), Warriors assistant GM Travis Schlenk (or former GM Larry Riley, who was named director of scouting because of Bob Myers’ promotion to general manager), or Nuggets front-office advisor Pete D’Alessandro.
Q: Joe, why make the move now? -LACOB: You come towardss the end of the year, you start to reflect and you say, ‘OK, where are we? What are we going to be going forward?’ And it just became apparent to me and the others that I confide in that Bob was ready to do the job. I didn’t know, we didn’t know when we hired Bob. You never know for sure… until you’ve worked with someone, you never really know. Working with Bob, he’s outstanding. He has all the capabilities to do this and be really, really good at it. We just decided that rather than wait another year or two, which was sort of the original plan, we were going to go ahead and make the move now and give Bob the opportunity to continue to prove himself and give him the authority he needs to go forward and do the job.
Lacob, Riley and Myers sat down and discussed the transition. According to one source, Riley wanted to see through what he started. But the source said Riley understood the move and was grateful the Warriors kept him around.
But perhaps the biggest factor, per the sources, was Myers’ as assistant general manager. It was part of the plan for Myers to succeed Riley when they lured Myers from the player agent side of the business a year ago this month. But at the time, co-owner Joe Lacob said Myers was in line for the job after Riley retired “in a few years.”
That the Warriors replaced general manager Larry Riley with protege Bob Myers comes as no shock. The big surprise is the timing. Why now? According to multiple team sources, a few factors came into play. The coming draft, and all the ensuing prep work. The pending free agent season, which kicks off July 1, and the Warriors’ need to woo someone though armed with nothing more than a mid-level.
Lacob, Riley and Myers sat down and discussed the transition. According to one source, Riley wasn’t happy that it’s happening now – presumably because he wanted to see through what he started. But the source said Riley understood the move and was grateful the Warriors kept him around.
The Warriors have promoted Bob Myers to general manager, the team announced Tuesday. Larry Riley, who has spent the last four years in the Warriors’ front office — including the last 12 months as general manager/Executive VP of Basketball Operations — will stay on as the team’s scouting director.
According to sources in the franchise, the Warriors promotion of Bob Myers to GM and demotion of Larry Riley was more about Myers proving he was ready. In the 12 months, Joe Lacob has been impressed with Myers connections, relationships and negotiating skills. This is happening now largely because Myers has convinced Lacob he was right in pegging him as the next Warriors GM
Dave Joerger, who led the Wizards to four titles in five seasons in Bismarck, expressed disappointment about the potential move. “Thats certainly unfortunate,” said Joerger, now an assistant with the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies. “There are a lot of people who care very much about the Wizards, not just the people who work for the team, but the season-ticket holders, the sponsors, the fans. … There are passionate fans in every city, but there were a high number of passionate people in Bismarck.”
From the day they bought the Dakota Wizards last summer, the Golden State Warriors made no secret of the fact that relocating the team from Bismarck was a possibility. Now that the Wizards are on the verge of a move to Santa Cruz, Calif., in time for the start of the 2012-13 season, Warriors general manager Larry Riley insists taking the team from Bismarck was not a foregone conclusion at the time. “I wouldn’t say that the team was totally doomed when we bought it, but we had to have an eye on all the factors,” Riley said.
Gotta love Warriors GM Larry Riley’s candor. His take on the pairing of Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry: “Now that it’s over, the doggone thing didn’t work. We didnt get a (center) and it didn’t work. We’ve heard for a long time that you can’t play with two small guards. Well, we’ve now opened up some playing time for somebody at (shooting guard) that’s not a small gaurd. We’re going to be a more traditional looking team.” There. The first open confession that the small backcourt did not work.
As their season of promise (literally) quickly slips away, with their veteran roster unable to consistently win close games and their chance at recovery damaged by the possibility that their 2012 draft pick is ticketed for Utah, the Warriors are pursuing a deal before the March 15 trade deadline, general manager Larry Riley said. “We’re working day and night and we’re hopeful,” Riley told NBA.com on Monday night. “But what will not happen is, we won’t do something that sets us back just to do a deal. We want to find the right deal, and if we get one of those we’ll do it. I don’t know what the odds of it are right now.”
-Q: I know you addressed this a little at shoot-around, but Larry Riley did mention that it might be time to look to the future. Do you not like hearing that? -MARK JACKSON: I have no time for that. Really, the front office’s job is to look towards the future. So Larry making that statement, whether it’s Larry, Bob or Joe or anybody else, the job is to look towards the future, prepare us to be effective down the road. My job is to handle the business today. I let my guys know, I have no time to think about a lottery pick or anything that doesn’t have anything to do with right now. Our goal is to be a playoff basketball team, continue to get better and put ourselves in position to be the team that we hope to be.
Many Warriors fans already have given up on this season and started looking toward building for the future. Warriors general manager Larry Riley has not reached that stage. But he’s getting closer. “That’ll be a decision we will make pretty soon here, probably in the next week or so,” Riley said in a phone interview Sunday. “But we have a little more time to look at things.” Riley said the next week, starting with Monday’s home game against the Los Angeles Clippers, is crucial. Golden State, which has lost three straight, needs to start showing some results.
If the Warriors don’t turn things around quickly, Golden State will be forced to turn its attention away from the playoffs and to developing the young talent. That probably means more time for rookie swingman Klay Thompson and even more minutes for second-year big man Ekpe Udoh. Maybe even rookie big man Jeremy Tyler gets into the rotation. It could also mean Riley will turn his attention to the trade deadline and potentially revamping the roster. Riley said he’s not quite ready to start looking toward the future. “But the clock is ticking,” Riley said. “No question.”
So Lin’s success is perhaps a nod to the Warriors’ ability to spot and develop talent. Of course, the problem here, in the mind of many Warriors fans, is the inability to keep that talent. “We had a player,” Riley said. “We let him go to go after another player and we didn’t get him. We have to face up to that.
In some ways, Riley and the Warriors could actually find some form of vindication in Lin. After all, the Warriors are the ones who signed him. The Warriors also get some credit for developing Lin. They spent a year working with him. They sent him to the NBA Development League, where he got much-needed game experience. “It wasn’t a publicity stunt,” Riley said. “We saw a young man with some real intelligence and skill, but we knew he needed to get better. We gave him a guaranteed contract that first year, which people thought was crazy.”
The best chip the Warriors have in any potential trade talks involving Howard is point guard Stephen Curry. But Curry has been plagued by ankle issues this season, and there is uncertainty about his long-term future. It is highly unlikely that Smith — or an NBA general manager, for that matter — would trade for Curry until and unless there is resolution on that ankle.
Riley confirmed the lunch before the Warriors-Magic game on Thursday night, and said it’s not unusual for him to meet with or grab a bite to eat with executives from other teams. “I have a few commitments before the game and I wasn’t sure I’d get to talk to him for more than two or three minutes,” Riley said. “So, I figured this would be a way to have a longer conversation.”
Warriors general manager Larry Riley and Orlando Magic general manager Otis Smith met on Thursday afternoon over lunch in downtown Oakland, and there is little doubt the names of Howard and Stephen Curry came up.