NBA Rumor: Warriors Front Office

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Shaun Livingston to join Warriors front office

Unselfishness has always been what set him apart. His core motivation, a drive heightened by the end of his NBA career, is to help people. Livingston believes that is best accomplished by action. Words have the most meaning when girded in care. “I want to serve people,” Livingston said in a recent phone interview. “I want to help others. That’s what I get the most joy out of. So whether it’s at the boys club, you know, Salvation Army — whatever it is, it is going to be in service of other people.”

This is the core of why Livingston has decided to join the Warriors’ front office. A year ago this month, he announced his retirement from the NBA after 14 seasons. He was waived by the Warriors in July 2019 and spent two months trying to find a new team and prolong his career. He would only play for the Warriors, Clippers or Kings, so he could be near his wife and daughters. Those teams all went in other directions last offseason. So Livingston conceded to the inevitable and retired, then retreated into solace. As the African proverb says, do something at its right time and peace will accompany it.

Warriors GM Bob Myers declined to talk about the team’s future plans before this season is officially over, but there has been no indication from league sources that the Warriors are exploring ways to improve by tinkering with their current core of Curry, Thompson, forward Draymond Green and small forward Andrew Wiggins, acquired at the trade deadline from the Minnesota Timberwolves. That would be a change in philosophy for the franchise, which has shown a willingness to consider major changes during its run of success.

What all went into your decision to retire this offseason? Zaza Pachulia: This summer it was different than any previous time with so many free agents, with 40 percent of NBA players being free agents this year. There was a lot of movement, lot of players changing teams. Really, it was hard to keep up with what team what player was going to. And now, watching the games, it’s, “Oh, gosh, this guy is on a different team with different uniforms.” So, a lot of players were free agents, and the game changed, it became very young and a lot of teams want young. Obviously with the draft, you have a new 60 players coming in. To maintain a spot is pretty competitive.

Zaza Pachulia: To be honest, I was aiming for staying in basketball in a front office, but I didn’t know what team. The last couple of years, every summer, I’ve been going to different schools to get an education from the business side. This summer, actually, I went to the NBA office for a job shadow, went there for a couple days. Met with every single department I possibly could and got a lot of knowledge and experience in that regard. But I didn’t know the Warriors were gonna be the team who would offer me to join. I was really concentrated on playing every year, I was practicing and playing over the summer. It just … I dunno, it was great.

“This is a team that probably was headed toward the lottery anyway and now you look at the lineup they’re going to be putting out on that floor … This is a team that is going to be in the lottery, and probably deep in the lottery. Remember, they have a protected first-round pick going to Brooklyn in the sign-and-trade that brought them D’Angelo Russell, but that means they’ll keep that pick this year and they’ll have a chance to get back up really high in this draft and maybe get an impact player and then try to come back next year with Curry, Klay Thompson, certainly Draymond Green and that core. They’ll have the mid-level exception they can use in free agency.

The Golden State Warriors have promoted Jennifer Millet to Senior Vice President of Marketing and Mike Kitts to Senior Vice President of Partnerships, the team announced today. Both Millet and Kitts will continue to report to Warriors Chief Revenue Officer Brandon Schneider. In their elevated roles, Millet will continue to lead all marketing efforts and Kitts will oversee all corporate partnerships efforts for the Warriors and Chase Center. “Jen and Mike have both established themselves as fantastic senior leaders during one of the most pivotal times for our organization as we move from a basketball team to a sports and entertainment company,” said Warriors President and Chief Operating Officer Rick Welts. “From Jen creating, expanding and launching new marketing elements across the Warriors and Chase Center and Mike building the most robust and innovative partnership program, both have proven to be the best at what they do in their respective areas. Jen and Mike are perfect examples of what our organization represents.”

Dunleavy lived closer to Barclays Center than Madison Square Garden. So he was in Brooklyn a bunch, allowing him to closely observe Russell’s transformation from presumed bust to fringe All-Star. “I didn’t see D’Angelo Russell play live 10, 20 times (like Mike),” Myers said. “There’s never been more information available, whether it’s analytics, your ability to watch tape, see games, dig into numbers. But I don’t think any of it is a substitute for actually going to a game in person, talking to coaches and watching the whole day develop, from when the player gets there to warm up, the stuff fans don’t see, interacting on a closer level, how they act when they get subbed out, how they react to winning and losing.”

The Hall of Famer was a guest on The Dan Patrick Show on Monday, and made some interesting comments: “One of the things I enjoy about being here — and obviously this is gonna be my final stop in my basketball life — is [Clippers owner] Steve Ballmer has really put together an unbelievably terrific organization. He has spared no expense. “It’s a really fun place to be. It’s not ego-driven at all. He’s got an awful lot of basketball people over there and I’m just happy to be such a small part of it. “He’s willing to spend on players, he’s willing to spend on personnel within the front office. I’ve never been around any organization that’s better than this one that’s for sure.”

Jerry​ West helped​ build​ the​ Warriors​ dynasty beside Joe Lacob, Bob Myers,​ Steve Kerr​ and​ the rest,​ of​ course,​​ and right now he’s in his second season of trying to do something very similar with the Clippers beside owner Steve Ballmer, president Lawrence Frank and coach Doc Rivers. So I asked the NBA legend on Tuesday: Has it been a little strange for you to watch your Clippers play the Warriors — and fall to a 3-1 deficit — in this first-round series so soon after you celebrated multiple titles in the Bay Area? “I don’t look at it that way — to me, this is all about competition,” West said by phone. “It’s fun. At the end of the day, you just want to win.”

If there is one team that could make Myers consider leaving the Warriors dynasty, it would be the Lakers. He’s of Danville origins, but Myers is definitely Los Angeles verified. He went to UCLA, where he played basketball and helped with the school’s long search for a new men’s basketball coach, which ended with Mick Cronin’s introduction on Tuesday with Myers in attendance. He got his law degree in Los Angeles while working his way up the ranks of Los Angeles-based Wasserman Media Group. He has a good relationship with Kobe Bryant, the Mr. Laker of this era, whom Myers worked with during his agent days.

But why would Myers want to go to the Lakers? Well, for starters, money. According to Sam Amick, national NBA writer for The Athletic — as he discussed on the new “Tampering” podcast — Magic was making $10 million a year with the Lakers. No, Myers does not make that much with the Warriors. Maybe about half that. Myers definitely makes less than Warriors coach Steve Kerr, who recently signed a contract extension at a number the Warriors have been diligent about keeping close to the vest.

The back-to-back NBA Champion Golden State Warriors have promoted John Beaven to Senior Vice President of Ticket Sales and Services and Raymond Ridder to Senior Vice President of Communications, the team announced today. Beaven will continue to report to Warriors Chief Revenue Officer Brandon Schneider, with Ridder continuing to report to Warriors President and Chief Operating Officer Rick Welts and Warriors President of Basketball Operations/General Manager Bob Myers.

As the Warriors enter the 2018-19 season, Kevin Durant’s pending free agency next season serves as the most vivid example. Will he re-sign with the Warriors as he has done every summer for the past two years? Or will he decide he is better off pursuing NBA championships, scoring records and business deals elsewhere? “For some reason, everyone thinks this year is different than last,” Warriors majority owner Joe Lacob told Bay Area News Group. “I don’t see that.”

The source of the hullabaloo stems from Durant’s obvious star power and uncertainty on what variables he will measure with his next contract. Will he value the Warriors’ championship equity, team-oriented culture and monetary advantage? Or does Durant want to prove he can win elsewhere without the Warriors’ three other All-Stars in Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green? “He loves being a part of our organization and being a part of the Bay Area,” Lacob said of Durant. “He’s earned the right to be a free agent or do whatever he wants in terms of contract status. I would let it play out and see what happens. I’m not too worried about it.”

Yet, the Warriors hardly seem satisfied. Durant and Thompson will become unrestricted free agents next summer. Green will be an unrestricted free agent in 2020. And as much as the Warriors expressed confidence they can retain all of their All-Stars, they also have contingency plans. To help with that process, the Warriors hired a former player and father of a former longtime NBA coach and executive (Mike Dunleavy Sr.). “That’s going to be really helpful for us,” Kerr said of Dunleavy’s presence. “He’s also a great guy and cool person, fun to be around and good to have in your building.”

In his new role, Dunleavy, 38, will help oversee the Warriors’ pro scouting on the East Coast. His focus will be on compiling reports of players whom Golden State might target in free agency or via trade. Dunleavy, who lives in New York City, also will help scout college players when necessary. It is the first stop in what he hopes is a new career in an NBA front office. Warriors general manager Bob Myers, who spent nine years as Dunleavy’s agent before taking a job as Golden State’s assistant general manager, offered him the position in hopes of strengthening the team’s pro-scouting department.

This illustrates another layer of complication in a team sale process: Is it the commissioner or the seller who holds the cards? Some knowing parties have speculated that Ellison miscalculated and fostered more of a connection with Stern than with Cohan. While, say, Clay Bennett might have benefited from a tight relationship with Stern in his pursuit of the then-Sonics (now the Oklahoma City Thunder), every one of these situations is different. Stern, though famously powerful, saw himself as more of a facilitator in this and other proceedings. “I knew that Sal was representing the product, and I knew Joe, and I knew Larry (Ellison) and so I was in touch with them,” Stern said in a phone interview. “I don’t wanna get any further than that.” Stern added his assessment: “Larry could’ve made the purchase, but he didn’t. He skipped a beat and Joe moves right in and took the team away from him.”

Lacob had laid the groundwork with Cohan, though, having met with the notoriously shy absentee owner at AT&T Park years earlier. At the time, Cohan wasn’t selling, but Lacob wanted to make an impression. “So he liked me maybe,” says Lacob, who then muses, “I think that was part of it was that he really didn’t want Larry to get the team, perhaps.” Then Lacob picks up the sale story. “‘OK, what’s the price?’ I asked. He said, ‘$440 million and there will be no deductions for anything you find during the due-diligence process. That’s the price, flat out, has to be it. Second, $20 million, non-refundable under any circumstances.’ Now, that is a risk.” “And so I gave him an answer, instantaneously, and I don’t know where it came from, but it just came out of me: ‘I won’t do that.’ And he said, ‘OK.’ And I heard a silence at the other end of the line.”

“We worked straight, 72 hours,” Lacob recalls. “I said to our lawyer, ‘You do not go to sleep until this thing is done. ‘Cause this is the key, we have to get this closed, we can’t have a non-binding agreement ’cause we’ll get re-shopped.’” Three sleepless nights later, the Warriors were secured, taken right from under Ellison’s nose. Guber celebrated at his Los Angeles area home, while holding the “Ellison reportedly close to buying Warriors,” story up in the air. Lacob exalted in a helicopter flying over the Oracle at Delphi. He even allows some reminiscing for this one. “We took off up there and took our vacation days,” Lacob says. “That was a pretty big moment that you like to remember. And pretty fun when you think about it. That was a big moment.” That moment was the start of a currently dominant dynasty.

I’ll point out that Bob Myers was always going to spend at most a year as an assistant general manager behind Larry Riley, and it turned out it was about 11 months before he was promoted to GM. In truth, Myers assumed GM powers almost from the moment he arrived, though I realize some people don’t report it that way. But what was the one moment I saw the possibility that Lacob and Guber could create something great? I’ll say all the events before and after the Monta Ellis-Andrew Bogut trade — the detailed basketball acumen (West and Myers arguing that Curry and Klay needed to be the backcourt, free of Ellis), the deal-making (Myers working the phones), the patience (Bogut was hurt and wouldn’t be available for months), the abandoning of the loopy “Great Time Out” mindset (defense matters), and then the angriest episode.

Question: So you just got a call that morning (you signed Cousins) — can you take us through how it went down? Bob Myers: We talked, I talked to his agent Jerry (Akana) in the morning, and he said: “What are you guys trying to do?” And I said: “What are you trying to do?” From there, I was honest, I said there’s not a lot we can do. Then hearing from there they were open to (taking the mid-level exception), that was the first moment where it looked like there was a possibility it would happen. Then I talked to DeMarcus pretty early that morning. That was really just the beginning of it, just (wondering) if it was something he’d really consider. Hearing his voice, hearing his conviction, it made it real to me.

“I was f—ed up,” Cousins said. “I said to Jarinn, ‘Let’s make a call.’ He was shocked. It was very insulting to not receive an offer. But I understand. I prepared myself for this.” So around 8 a.m., Cousins said he called Warriors general manager Bob Myers. This is not a misprint. Myers cannot talk about free agents until they can sign with teams on Friday. But when Myers can speak, boy does he have a story to tell. Imagine Myers picking up his cellphone and a man with a deep voice says, “Hey, this is DeMarcus Cousins … got a minute?”

Bryant was a guest onThe HoopsHype Podcast with Alex Kennedy on Monday and playfully discussed the idea of playing with the Warriors as he recalled an offer from Warriors general manager Bob Myers to forgo retirement and join the team. “Not seriously,” Bryant said while laughing. “I’ve known Bob Myers, the (general manager) over at Golden State, forever… My last all star game we had a chance to catch up, as we were staying at the same hotel. I got a chance to tell him congratulations on everything and he said ‘Hey listen, if there’s any chance you want to change your mind and play another year, you can always come here.’ But it’s all tongue in cheek man.”
2 years ago via ESPN

After a lethargic loss in Indiana in April, Kerr publicly wondered if his team needed to care more. That didn’t go over well with the players, and Kerr subsequently walked the statement back. Kerr and general manager Bob Myers met privately after that loss in Indiana to discuss what could be done to rouse the team from its late-season slumber. “I told Steve, because he was upset after Indiana, ‘We have to give them the benefit of the doubt. They’ve earned that,'” Myers said. “Was I worried? My first thought was, ‘Yes.’ But my second thought was, ‘Have they let us down yet?'”
2 years ago via ESPN

Three weeks later, the Warriors added their third championship in four years to the trophy case. They celebrated in the same building and at the same restaurant — Morton’s The Steakhouse in Cleveland — as they did for the first championship in 2015. So much had changed since that first year. For the Warriors and for the league. And yet there was a sweetness in the symmetry. “It’s like your first kid; there’s nothing like it,” Myers said in comparing championship runs. “And then you try to get more.”

Warriors buying a second-round draft pick?

Warriors owner/CEO Joe Lacob dropped by the ESPN2 set live from the NBA Draft combine at the Barclays Center in New York on Friday to talk all things draft. Lacob said this was the second time he’s been at the combine, which precedes the June 21 draft. The event primarily features second-tier prospects, which works out well for Lacob and the Warriors who sit No. 28 in the draft. “For us, it’s (players drafted) 20 to 40 or 20 to 50. Those are the players that are here to some extend,” Lacob explained. “And that’s where we are — 28. Maybe we’ll buy a second-round pick again. I’m very aggressive with respective to those, as you know.”

The Warriors have been in discussions with point guard Quinn Cook about a multiyear deal that would turn his two-way contract into a standard NBA deal, a team source has confirmed with The Chronicle. […] “Quinn is a guy Steve (Kerr) has leaned on and the players have come to trust,” general manager Bob Myers told 95.7 The Game on Wednesday afternoon. “It’s conversations we’ve had. We’ll have to come to some type of decision prior to the last game of the season.”

The NBA champion Golden State Warriors are losing one of their top executives. Chief Marketing Officer Chip Bowers is joining baseball’s Miami Marlins as president of business operations, reporting to part-owner and Chief Executive Officer Derek Jeter, according to people familiar with the personnel move. The people requested anonymity because the move hasn’t been announced. It is Jeter’s second executive hire since taking the reins in September. Earlier this year he also added David Oxfeld from Jeter’s longtime agency, Excel Sports Management, where he worked on client sales and business development.

Warriors general manager Bob Myers said that injury scare is often forgotten in talk about Durant’s road to his first championship. He added that he was glad Durant not only got the ring but also lost the pressure of not having one. “I’m glad he’s getting a ring,” Myers said before the game. “He earned it. It would have been sad if he had not gotten one and didn’t check that box. He’s too good of a player. Sometimes great players never get that opportunity. Players in this day and age, I feel like there is such pressure that it has to happen for them. Sometimes it’s not their fault. But to see him obtain that pretty early, I think he has a lot of years left. I’m really happy for him.”

On top of that, as the Warriors prepared for the postseason, Warriors owner Joe Lacob was considering offering Curry a contract below the max, even though Curry has been one of the most underpaid players in all of sports over the last three seasons. Warriors general manager Bob Myers kept Lacob from bringing a reduced offer to the negotiating table, but it was enough of a thing that Myers reassured Curry of the franchise’s commitment. Curry wound up getting the largest contract in NBA history: five years, $201 million.

Bob Myers: You remember when there were rumblings that he didn’t want to be a Warrior. You remember him potentially not showing up for a press conference. So Steph Curry, he is who he is so he shows up. His first few years were not a good initial experience. As far as I know, I never heard him saying, “Get me out of here.” My point is this, when he got to our organization we were not a team or destination that the most ardent Warrior would say was capable of winning a championship; the playoffs were our championship.

Bob Myers: People always ask me what we said to Kevin (Durant) in the Hamptons. It wasn’t what anyone said in that four-hour period. It was Steph Curry building a foundation, being selfless enough to go. It was Andre Iguodala, who knew we were going after a guy who played his position. It was Draymond Green, it was Steve Kerr, it was all the things that those guys had done that put us in a position to be in a place where Kevin Durant said, “I wanna meet with that team.” There’s no magic words in life.

On Monday, the former Lakers legend and Hall of Famer talked about his move south an interview with The Athletic’s Tim Kawakami. “Frankly it was very sad, OK? It really was. A place where I thought that if I was going to work another year or if somebody wanted me to work another year, I thought I could contribute; I did not want to leave. I did not want to leave. I was very happy there. But those things happen sometimes. Obviously to be around a bunch of players that were as together as any I’ve seen and I think more importantly the talent that was on that team and to see the joy. There’s a lot of joy there. I think those are the kind of environments where people really prosper.”

No coach ever stops coaching, even in the offseason. Kerr says he spends at minimum a couple of hours a day on Warriors business. “I’m on the phone, talking to (general manager) Bob Myers, talking to our coaches and to different people. Writing down thoughts, putting together plans for our coaching retreat (before training camp). It might be just something that pops into my head, where I just stop and write something down. But I’m not Jon Gruden (famous workaholic), I’m not waking up at five in the morning and going to the film room (laugh).”
More HoopsHype Rumors
September 24, 2020 | 12:47 pm EDT Update
“I think Billy Donovan will do a great job,” an Eastern Conference general manager told HoopsHype. “He has not coached a team without a strong personality, so we will really be able to see what Billy is about now with this young growing team. I think he and Arturas will work great together. I think (Wes) Unseld Jr. had a good shot at getting it, but I feel like Billy is the better coach for the team right now. Looking at the other jobs for Billy, the only one that might have been better for him is New Orleans, but I can see why he went with Chicago. They have young talent, lots of flexibility, a great city, and solid ownership.”
“It’s a great spot,” one Western Conference coach told HoopsHype. “I like their position. They’ve got to hit on that fourth pick, but you’ve got some talent at least.” Several agents with clients on the Bulls also praised the move. “I’m not too familiar with him personally, but they can only go up,” one agent told HoopsHype. “He’s obviously a winner. I’m excited to see what he does.”
When Celtics assistant general manager Mike Zarren came on the Tampering podcast with Denver general manager Tim Connelly in early September, the two executives discussed the unavoidable reality that front office executives will always miss the mark on some prospects. And the Celtics, Zarren explained, were still stinging from that choice to take Johnson over Butler. One is a five-time All-Star who has transformed this Heat team after signing with Miami in free agency in the summer of 2019, and the other played 36 games as a rookie (2011-12) before eventually heading overseas (he currently plays for Bayern Munich in the EuroLeague).
“JaJuan Johnson had a tremendous college career,” Butler, who was taken by Chicago at No. 30 in that 2011 draft, told me when I asked if he was aware of the Celtics’ regret. “He probably did more in college than I ever dreamt of doing, and I hope he’s having a healthy career, wherever he is. But I don’t look at it like that, man. You don’t know. I got lucky. I fell into Chicago and turned into a player, and maybe if I’m (with the Celtics) I don’t pan out to be the player that I am. It’s funny how things work together to make something happen like that. I’m grateful for where I am, and I’m grateful for who did take me in the draft.”
September 24, 2020 | 12:10 pm EDT Update
Some are more skeptical that the interest is a two-way street. Multiple league sources who spoke with PhillyVoice have questioned whether D’Antoni is genuinely interested in the job or whether it’s a leverage play to get a better deal elsewhere. There are other teams, most notably the Pacers and Pelicans, with rosters that better suit his style of basketball.
Storyline: 76ers Coaching Search
The Celtics were very much enamored with the 20-year-old leading up to last June’s draft, aware that there was a shot that he might be on the board when it was their turn to select at No. 14. But in came Heat team president Pat Riley, sticking it to the Celtics again by not only taking a player Boston had a major interest in selecting but also developing him into a difference-maker whose play may very well spell the end of the Celtics’ season.