103

Joe Lacob: “We’re all about winning”

UPDATE: Here’s some insight on Joe Lacob from the majority owner of the Boston Celtics, Wyc Grousbeck.

“Joe has been a world class partner at the Celtics, honest, team oriented and knoweledgeable.  He has long wanted to own his own team. He brings business accomplishment and has won in business becuase he is a team builder. His record is identifying and building winning teams. He loves basketball, and is a real competitor. He is a great fit for the Warriors. I told him good luck but we will try to kick his tail for the next few decades.”

I’m already a fan of Joe Lacob. I put in a call to him this morning when I heard he was buying the Warriors. And guess what? He called me back! What a refreshing turn of events, an owner calling back the beat writer for the team! And he gave me a few minutes.

God bless you, Joe Lacob.

OK, enough of my selfish rambling. Here is Lacob in his words, Q&A style. (Save you the agony, he declined comment on who is in and who is out.)

How does it feel to fulfill your dream?

LACOB: “It’s a great, great feeling. I live in the Bay Area and have for almost 30 years. I’m a Warriors fan. A season-ticket holder. A Stanford basketball guy. This is a dream come true.”
When do you start making decisions and making this franchise yours?

LACOB: “I’m not going to talk about that. But we’ve thought about this. We’re fans just like everybody else. We think we understand what has to be done. But I’m going to take my time. We’ve got to close this deal first. We’ve got to get league approval.”


Many fans wanted Larry Ellison to buy the team and are disappointed now. You think they’ll be pleasantly surprised by you?

LACOB: “I hope so. I personally don’t really know (what other groups bid). It was an auction process, so who knows what really went on. We did what we felt was right. We’ve been in it all the way.”

“I’m incredibly proud of the fact that we stayed out of the news. We were not under the radar with respect to Chris Cohan. We did our due diligence. I think we wanted it more than the other guys and I think we are more knowledgeable about basketball than all these others guys. And if I didn’t think so we wouldn’t have done this.”

“We’re there. We got it. We’re all about winning. We think it’s a very good opportunity as a business enterprise and the potential is there. But this is all about winning. We’re going to change the course of the franchise.”

Coming in and turning around the Warriors could make you a legend in these parts. Is that the hope?

LACOB: “We’re fans, too. We all think we can do this better than the current owner. We all do. Certainly, it occurred to us that given the history we could wind up looking pretty good. With their record (on the court), you couldn’t go much lower than that, to be honest. But we’re going to try to do everything we can to do a better job.”

“I do want to say that they did a good job. Things on the business side have been very, very well. Obviously, I know it’s all about the results on the court. We all get judged on results and I expect and I expect to be judged on the results.”


What do you think of the recent moves, specificially acquiring David Lee

LACOB: “I’m not going to comment on that. I know they are doing the best they can do.”


Many think $450 is an overpay. Why do you feel like it’s a fair price?

LACOB: “All I can say is that we wouldn’t be doing it if we didn’t think it was a fair price. We obviously analyzed it very carefully. As you know, I am part owner of the Celtics. So I know all the (financial) numbers. I know how this compares and how this doesn’t compare. Look, this is a fantastic market. It’s I think 5th largest market in the country. One of the wealthiest bases of fans with the opportunity for sponsorships and partnerships and all that. There is a helluva an opportunity here.”

Before you go, how do you celebrate the feat of buying an NBA franchise?

LACOB: “Maybe get some sleep. (Laughs) I haven’t gotten much trying to get this done.”

“It’s a great day. I’ve built a lot of companies in my day. I know what’s involved. This is a real challenge. This is going to take a lot of work, a lot of hard work. We’re prepared to do that.”

“The No. 1 thing (fans need to know): we’re going to do our damnedest to bring the Warriors to respectability on the basketball court.”

Marcus Thompson

  • Keith

    Everyone should give the new owners a chance, granted it would have been nice to have Ellison and he had deep pockets but the NBA has a salary cap and every team has to follow the rules. Let’s hope the Warriors go get some true and knowledgable basketball people to run this team! Ellison may or may not have done a good job with the Warriors. Whether he had the highest bid or not, this is business. Was there a deadline we may never know? Was this personal…we may never know? Was it fair or not fair? As far as Cohan is concerned he can accept whatever bid he wants. Bottomline, we have a new owner and Cohan, Rowell, Nelson and Riley hopefully will be replaced. This is a good day!

  • The Wisdom Cow

    Joe, you may be great, but when asked, “Many fans wanted Larry Ellison to buy the team and are disappointed now. You think they’ll be pleasantly surprised by you?”, you described the deal and why you won [go back up and read for yourselves].

    That answer seems awkward to me. Bump into a guy driving a BMW roadster, you ask him in awe, “Wow, nice ride. What are your plans?” Only a guy that stole it starts telling you how he got it.

    The “We did what we felt was right” line seemed really wrong. What question did you think MT2 asked, Joe?

    Again, he can negate my skepticism by being a great owner, but I think we got screwed yet again.

  • John Starks

    itsagreattimeout Says: July 15th, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    I am reluctantly optimistic.
    …and still very disappointed.

    Couldn’t have said it any better.

    I want so much to be ecstatic, but I’m just not. I want to give the guy a chance (at least Cohan is out), but this another case of “Who t F?” like I had when Cohan bought the team.

    And don’t give me any BS about “couldn’t be any worse” than Cohan. That should not EVER be a standard by which to run a sports franchise.

  • Gunner

    I hope the new owner is not the same as a person overpaying a house and is left with no money to buy furnitures and sleeps on the floor…

  • jakarta

    I have to agree that the initial answers are not encouraging.

    “I know all the (financial) numbers. I know how this compares and how this doesn’t compare. Look, this is a fantastic market. It’s I think 5th largest market in the country. One of the wealthiest bases of fans with the opportunity for sponsorships and partnerships and all that. There is a helluva an opportunity here.”

    Which makes it sound like he/they want to make money off of the team. Not what I want to hear. I want to hear that crushing all the other franchises is the ONLY goal, and that by extension the new Warriors are willing to pay for draft picks, spend big on international scouting and specialized coaching, all the other things which allow an organization to out-spend their opponents despite the constraints of a salary cap.

    “I do want to say that they did a good job. Things on the business side have been very, very well. Obviously, I know it’s all about the results on the court. We all get judged on results and I expect and I expect to be judged on the results.”

    We don’t care if the books were is disarray or not. We want ownership willing to underwrite the team and operate at a loss. Admiring things on “the business side” feels like a slap on the face to all the fans. And you don’t just get judged on results, you get judged on the process that leads to the results. That’s so much a part of why Cohan was so despised, he wasn’t around to be held accountable, Rowell took credit and didn’t take credit, decisions were made in a random way, etc… If they build/luck into a consistent winner but don’t appear to be doing EVERYTHING possible to find an edge, it will still be disappointing. Don’t be like Phoenix who jettisoned assets for money reasons, despite the Suns record of respectability and success, it’s still not enough.

  • Geo77

    Lacob sounds like he definitely has potential. My big concern is that the giant FU Cohan has discovered one more way to totally FU what should be the second happiest day in Warriors history (right after winning the championship). If Cohan screwed the pooch in how he handled this sale process (would you be surprised?) and the minority owners decide they got a bum deal and sue Cohan our worst nightmare could come true. The sale sits in a court battle and drags on and on and on. Oh please god if you have an ounce of pity just get Cohan outahere!

  • J-Walk

    I have no problem with the new owners. They fought hard, played the game and won. Upseting the titan in the process. You don’t do that without having passion to win. I believe there are much better days ahead for this franchise.

    If Ellison realy wanted this team with the intention to do whatever it took to win regardless of the cost. Then he would have done whatever necessary regardless of the cost to secure the team. He got out played by men with a fraction of his money. I would rather have the hard pushers who were willing to do what it took to win the biding process. Read the hoopsworld.com’s story. Both these guys are driven winners. The Warriors are in good hands.

  • dubfan

    I see several comments here about how Ellison was the highest bidder and should have been the one to get to buy the team, etc. What I’d like to know is…how the f*** would any of us fans writing to a blog have any earthly idea who was the highest bidder and what exactly happened that led up to consummate this sale.

    Pretty damn likely the answer is absolutely no idea whatsoever…

  • vintage56

    Remember, Ellison did not outbid Lacob’s group according to the news reports and he said all along he wasn’t going to overpay for the franchise. So with that attitude, Ellison might have refused to overpay for free agents/super stars so I think we may have gotten lucky with Lacob. He has been involved in the NBA and has won with the Celtics, now he is investing his time and money to make the Warriors a winner. As a 45 year Warrior fan and season ticket holder, I think we may have gotten a guy who is a lot like us, has lived through some terrible Ws years and now is fired up about turning the franchise into a winner. Last thing, if he overpaid for the franchise, then maybe it’s Lacob who will throw the checkbook at the free agents and make the necessary moves to bring a championship. Overpaying for the Warriors indicates that he is more likely to pay more than the other guy during his tenure to bring a championship to the Warriors.

  • Kipras

    = ), i am happy Lacob and Guber bought the team, i personally though they would be better owners then Ellison. Wish you the best of luck.

    And now i want to say one thing regarding all those fans on the internet who are whining that Ellison didn’t bought the team. – So sad that there are so many dumn people in the world …

  • J-Walk

    Amen Dubfan. Just because Ellison releases a statmement saying he was the highest bider, doesn’t mean he even knows who the highest bider was. Let alone us fans who are only going on that statement. I’ve read that once Lacob & Gruber put in the 450 mil bid, Ellison was given an opportunity to beat it and he declined. End of story, you lose.

    If a guy like Ellison with all his money loses to a guy who can’t even live in his zip code, then I’m not buying his willing ot go the extra mile to make this franchise great. I think the combined talents of these two could do great things. They are obviously driven and hungry.

  • lulzguy

    don’t you guys see the subtle jabs he threw against Cohan in the interview?! He obviously hates Cohan too, just like a true warriors fan… lol, how can you not like the guy?!

  • HoopsFan

    The big difference between Lacob and Ellison:

    Lacob is a VC whose decisions are ultimately determined by the financial bottom line. Ellison has spent money on sports just for fun – America’s Cup.

    As an owner, Ellison might have spent money to improve the team on the court, but not the profitability. Lacob will not do that.

  • MWLX

    Unbelievable how negative some of you guys are, especially the Ellison lovers. On what basis do you think Ellison would be better? He’s rich? He’s an egomaniac? His sailboat team won a trophy? He attended a Warriors game last season? I got news for you — most team owners are rich and egotistical and have a boat. And most of them are losers.

    The new owner is a solid basketball fan, a Warriors season-ticket holder (meaning, he has suffered with us), and he’s been involved in the resurrection of the Celtics fortunes. I like what I’m hearing, and we ought to cut him some slack on what he says and does while his group finalizes the deal. Remember, it’s not even final yet.

  • robert rowell

    #55 we know because it’s on the front page of the Merc, that’s how. whether or not it’s accurate is another matter. you would hope so as it’s supposed to be their job to check facts and not just report crap, but you never know. not sure why you’re so angry about it, tho, seems weird.

    i’m on board with the new boss as soon as he fires rowell, riley and nelson. until then, it’s just more of the same.

  • cleve

    A fan first and an owner second. This is the perfect formula ! Unless you are a fan of the team, you’ll see it only through the prism of a business venture. This is EXACTLY the problem with the Cohan regime. He was a business owner first thus his SUCCESS in turning a profit when everyone else was losing money. How many times did we see Cohan at the Coliseum ? Once every blue moon. Now, how many times have seen Ellison ? Again, once every blue moon. See the pattern guys ? Had Ellison taken over, he would have treated it as a business FIRST. Then we’re screwed again. Lacob is a fan FIRST- for 10 years. He endured every game and knows first hand the problems of this team. He is exactly what the doctor ordered for the Bay Area. A fan is going through the exact anguish each and everyone in this post is enduring. A fan has passion while an owner is devoid of it. A fan gets emotional while an owner defers to logic. Ellison could have EASILY forked out the 450 million but he didn’t since he viewed this as another business purchase- no different from buying People Soft, BEA or Sun. To Ellison, this was not a logical business decision. If he was a fan first, this deal would have been consummated a long time ago. This town NEEDS another Eddie D as an OWNER – a man with a fat wallet and the PASSION of a die hard fan! This is a GREAT day for Bay Area Basketball.

  • marc

    just give don nelson one more year. that’s all i ask of this guy

  • J-Walk

    good post MWLX,

    Only our diehard Warriors fans could make a wonderful day miserable.

  • cleve

    To Lacob, buying the Warriors is a DREAM come true. To Ellison, buying the Warriors is adding another feather to his collection of companies owned. Both are fierce competitors but they are competing on a different playing field. For Ellison, the Warriors is another trophy that satisfies his EGO. For Lacob, the Warriors fulfills a life long dream. Eddie D’s dream was to own the 49ers. Horrible business man- way overpaid for players, always running the franchise in the red etc. but a fantastic owner. Bay Area fans deserve the resurrection of Eddie D not John York !!!!!

  • Jackson

    I cant wait for the day when I turn on the news and see that Chris Cohan gets arrested by the IRS

  • Warrior nation

    I hope this new owner is all about winning so we will find out how much he is about winning by the moves he makes bottom line he can say whatever he wants but until we get results on the court it doesn’t mean anything to me yeah he may be a warriors fan but when there is money invovled that changes peoples decision making and the way people think so if he is a basketball mind then he will do whatever it takes to win and will make his money at the same time so he knows we have a good market base so who wouldn’t want to by the warriors so if he is a real warrior fan and now owner bring us a title

  • Warriornation

    Let’s go dubs the new owner is a warriors fan we will see by the moves he makes so let’s see if he is all bout the dough or all about the titles hopefully he does whatever it takes to get us a title bcuz he maybe a fan but when money is involved that changes your whole way of thinking as far as a basketball stand point prepared to the buisness aspect of the game

  • Warriornation

    Let’s go dubs the new owner is a warriors fan we will see by the moves he makes so let’s see if he is all bout the dough or all about the titles hopefully he does whatever it takes to get us a title bcuz he maybe a fan but when money is involved that changes your whole way of thinking as far as a basketball stand point prepared to the buisness aspect of the game. Warriors 4 life

  • The Wisdom Cow

    We also know about the Ellison bid as highest because Galatioto said so in an interview, saying it was late, and he was “morally” obligated to stay with the Lacob bid.

  • John Starks

    Ellison could buy about half of the NBA franchises outright. For some reason, I highly doubt he was outbid. What’s another measely $20-$30 mil to get the deal done?

  • John Starks

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=5383261

    Sal Galatioto, the president of Galatioto Sports Partners, which advised Cohan on the sale, said a handshake agreement with Lacob and Guber was agreed to about two weeks ago. The team had four offers of at least $400 million at the time of the deadline.

    While the two sides worked out the details, Ellison came back with what Galatioto described as a “marginally higher” offer just hours before the signing.

    “He was way past the deadline,” Galatioto said. “There was no way I was going to recommend that bid to Chris. … Once the shot clock expires, are you allowed to get back on the court and have it count? I don’t think so.”

    This is the logic for not selling the team to a billionaire. Instead of finding ways to keep Larry out, they should have found a way to get Larry back in. I hope to God the Owners’ Association does not approve the sale. Why would the owners approve a guy with less financial capability than Larry Ellison? Larry freakin’ Ellison, for God’s sake????

    I hate Galatioto, Cohan and I’m not happy with Lacob/Gruber whateverthehell their names are.

  • Pboss

    He had me till the “respectability” comment. Is he striving to the the Utah Jazz?

  • deano

    Marcus: Thank you for getting that interview and posting Lacob’s comments. I am very much reassured to learn that he is a basketball guy with experience as an owner of a high quality NBA team. We fans focused on Ellison, the billionaire we knew, the voracious builder of Oracle, the competitive yachtsman. So, it was initially a WTF shock to hear that he had been out-bid. I now see the advantage of having an owner with NBA experience, who has been a long time Warrior fan. Lacob is NBA connected, and i think that he will be more personally involved with the team than Ellison would have been. This is a good day, and not just for seeing Cohan leave.

  • V7i7c

    Well, at first I was disappointed it wasn’t Ellison because I’d love to have GM with tons of dough to burn to achieve his competitive ambitions (like Eddie D). But now, I’m kinda’ glad we have a basketball guy in the mix of owners.

    We’ll have to be patient, but I’m optimistic that we’ll be back in the playoff mix this year or next, and moving past the first and second round by year four.

  • Scott

    Galatioto also said that with normal adjustments made in final negotiations Ellison’s bid could have represented significantly less money than Lacob’s. Ellison was late getting to the table, period. Think of it this way . . . you want to know if Lacob is all about winning? Well . . . he just beat Ellison and that can’t be easy to do. I’m on board with Lacob!

  • jaxfor3

    Being a season ticket holder isn’t a confidence builder. Cohan was a season ticket holder before he bought the team and look how that turned out.

  • JustPuked

    I’ve been following your amazing dedication to this story from the beginning Marcus, fantastic work. Seriously, great work. Next time I see you at the arena, I’ll have to treat you to a round.

  • dddd-nnnew

    We don’t know what’s going to happen – but i agree that the disappointed tones by many here are bordering on the child like. I was rooting for Ellison for all the same reasons: unlimited cash and ambition. However, now that I learn about who we are getting, I am actually quite encouraged and at this point am glad we got these people in place of Ellison. The risk with Ellison is questionable domain knowledge, and the potential for abrasive persona to alienate. Again, unknown how he’d be as an owner and unknown about who we’re getting. But the fact that Lacob has played role in the Celtics recent resurgence hugely encouraging.

  • FeatherRiverDan

    The richest guy finally loses…refreshing…..Doesn’t happen often in America….

  • Fat dog

    Everyone who is butt hurt elision didn’t get team needs to chill. This guy won the bidding process. He’s got the backbone and the cash to win. He’s a breath of fresh air. I’m totally pumped!

  • Cleve Yu

    The fact the Lacob BEAT Ellison to the punch in buying the Warriors speak volumes in determining who will be the better owner. Lets juxtapose this situation to a top-tier free agent next year- perhaps Melo where Lacob and Ellison is competing to acquire. What happened in this situation makes me feel confident the Lacob will be the winning bidder.

  • JJ

    some news is good news. I was hoping for Elly but this guy seems like a fan and a 100x better than Cohan. this is a great day.

  • Joseph B

    I don’t like Venture Capitalist as I find them to be arrogant and egotistical although Larry Ellison believes he is God. And frankly being a partner at KPMG is more of a negative than a positive to me. The advantage Larry Ellison had is he actually ran a company and therefore has operating experience.
    The VC on the other hand bets on good technology and hopes the CEO can run the business. Very different from being in the trenches and I think the VC will find basketball players and coaches are completely different from Stanford MBA’s trying to con them into investing in their startup.

  • billy

    So people are mad that a guy who owns a piece of a successful NBA team, and is a long-time season ticket holder beat out the 6th richest man in the world (who only recently showed up at a warriors game)?

  • http://merc joefan

    this and the stopping of the oil spill is definitely cause for celebration. lacob & guber maneuvered cohan and out-maneuvered ellison, judging from that, the dub fans should see some great dizzying moves by the new ownership.

  • http://merc joefan

    1)if ellison wanted the team he should have come right out and paid whatever cohan wanted. which he got anyways.
    2)i wouldn’t sell to ellison either. ellison basically told cohan go get bids, then he would match or raise his price. the hell with that, i would turn it around on ellison, just like cohan did, i would go tell the bidders u buy at my price, i won’t sell to ellison. big FU to ellison.
    3)ellison got too cute for himself and now he is regretting it big times.

  • Slimman

    I wish that Ellison was the winner. I do not believe that this guy has the resources or the desire to do what it takes to win a championship. He wants to “run it like a business.” Where have we heard that before? Cohan has been doing that for years. He will likely trade away our future to the Celtics, which, by the way, is not a well run franchise. They got lucky on an inside deal to land Garnett in his prime, that is all. He does not have much to work with now either since Riley traded our talent to NY and hung the albatross of David Lee on this team for years to come. For Warriors fans things always just get worse. This is a travesty. I hope the league will not approve the sale and gives it to the highest bidder, Larry Ellison.

  • WiseGuy

    Who is better fit for the Warriors?
    Ellison or Lacob?

    The main difference is: Ellison will immediately
    clean house by replacing Rowell, Nelson, and Riley.

    Lacob is silent about it. If he claimed to be a Warriors’ fan for a good many years, he should have known that the fans hate those 3 CANCERS of this team and the fans expect the new owner to cure the team of CANCER.

    Lacob’s silence on this all-important matter has me worried a lot and that’s why I’d prefer Ellison.

  • WarriorDragon

    Cohan will NOT get arrested by the IRS. That is cruel. He will pay his back taxes. I paid my back taxes. A person cannot escape from tax collection. I hire a lawyer. Let’s hope GS get back into winning ASAP.

  • WarriorDragon

    David Lee is a Larry Bird type forward. He put up Larry Bird type numbers 20/12 rebs. I just don’t understanding why some people are against a player like David Lee.

  • WarriorDragon

    David Lee put up 37/21/10 assists against GSW, he destroy GSW frontline, he can toss the dimes, rebound and score. That’s Larry Bird type forward IMO.

  • permabear

    It looks to me as if Cohan didn’t want Ellison to buy the team. I’m afraid he didn’t want Ellison to make him look bad. Cohan couldn’t have been more of a disaster as an owner. Most of us have no idea how good an owner Lacob is going to be. There is little doubt however that Ellison would have brought us a winner. I’m not sure Cohan wants the Warriors to be a winner after he’s gone.

  • Little Penny

    Finally!!! Thank you, Marcus and the new Warriors owners. For actually letting us into you domain. I’m glad that Lacob bought the team and they will be rewarded for their effort. Now it’s time to do some dealing or not, please keep Monta, and let him be Monta on offense. He’s also an under rated defender.

  • JW

    A question for #76….
    So let’s say you had a family of four and just put in a bid for the house of your dreams, your wife and kids loved the neighborhood, you’d been looking for an opportunity too live in that neighborhood on that street for 10 years and you paid the asking price for the house and shook hands with the seller’s agent. You and the family tell your friends all about it with excitement and anticipation.
    You get a call 2 days later from the realtor only to find out that a guy you know who makes more money than you, someone you don’t particularly like by the way, outbid you after your offer was accepted. You lose the house, the other guy’s family gets the house when you were told it was yours. How do you feel?

  • Anthony Randolph

    Well, I am not cool with NYC. I will probably be an allstar next season since D’Antoni isn’t a mental midget like Nellie. I will average 18/12/4/3, th 3 being blocks. David Lee won’t block 3 shots all year. But my rookie contract is up next season, Joe can sign me and bring me home again. By then Charles Nelson Riley and Nellie will be gone and I can resume my quest to be the biggest beast you have had on the W’s since Webber left. Its not my fault they made another stupid choice in sticking with BWright, and who is Udoh? Did B Wright ever survive the summer league? No? Surprised?