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Lacob and Guber Talking Big; Bobby Rowell Sticking Around; Overrated Gumbo

A few things stood out to me at the luncheon today to introduce the Warriors’ new owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber.

But first, let me get something off my chest. I WAS NOT impressed with the gumbo appetizer. I am only mentioning it because the Chef hyped it up, talking about how he’s so good at making gumbo. You all can imagine I know something about good gumbo. And what I had today was not all that. First off, I’m not sure gumbo without seafood is gumbo at all. You gotta have shrimp, or crab, or crawfish, or something. Throw some sardines in there if you have to.

That was a joke.

I am never the one to complain about free food. That’s always a blessing. Eating quality food is a luxury most can’t enjoy, and one I haven’t always been able to enjoy. But, with that said, if you’re going to hype up your gumbo, you had better deliver! LOL. … 

Anyway. Click here to read the full transcript from Lacob’s presser today, courtesy of TK. On to other noteworthy items I discovered at today’s luncheon …

Lacob said Keith Smart was not an interim coach. But he is on a one-year trial, kind of. Lacob revealed Smart is on a two-year contract, and the second-year is a team option. (The likelihood is if they keep him beyond this year, he will get an extension)

That means Smart has this year to prove himself. (Certainly, his start has impressed Lacob) One might ask, “Why have Smart on one-year deal when you could’ve had Nellie in the same position?” The answer is simple, at least if you read into Lacob’s comments:

LACOB: “He’s been the coach from the start. He is the guy we’re going with. He is the coach and no one should think otherwise.  And the fact is, he’s doing a pretty good job. So let’s evaluate him. Let’s see how he does. Whether it would be him, or whether it would be Don Nelson. I don’t care how much you make or what your reputation is or what your name is, if Don Nelson wasn’t doing the job, he’s gone. I don’t care if it’s $6M, he wasn’t the right guy to coach this team. I don’t care whether it’s a famous coach or whether it’s an infamous coach, doesn’t matter, it’s results that matter.”

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Peter Guber is a funny dude. He’s got the gift of gab, though I am not sure it’s a gift considering this zinger he got off about outgoing owner Chris Cohan.

GUBER: “The idea is to have fun. This is not the cure for cancer. Might be the cure for Cohan, but it’s not the cure for cancer.”

Guber did chat up the media about the entertainment aspect of the franchise. He talked about getting a mascot, upgrading the entertainment and enhancing the overall fan experience.

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Lacob suggested change is coming, though he said he would evaluate first. Everyone is under watch. Robert Rowell is being examined as team president, though Lacob already said he is taking Rowell away from the basketball side. Larry Riley is under watch as GM, though Lacob thinks highly of him and the work he’s done so far. From what I hear, even public relations guru Raymond Ridder is being surveyed. 

The reality is that someone like Lacob probably has a list of people he would like to do each and every job there, especially the high profile ones. Finding replacements wouldn’t be hard. But his approach is to look and see what he’s got first.

So far, he sounds high on Bobby Rowell.

LACOB: “I think Bobby Rowell gets a lot of criticism obviously in the press. I’m not sure how he managed to get all that. But the truth is, he’s done a good job in many respects. In some things maybe he hasn’t done such a good job.

“We’ve talked. I’ve told him, basketball-side, you let me be the guy that sort of takes the role there. So I’m going to have basketball report to me and I’m going to have business report to me and they’re kind of separate things.”

“So he understands that. And I think that’s probably a little of a mistake he made. So I’m going to evaluate him, just like I’m going to evaluate everybody else in the organization. And we’ll take it from there, see who’s good, who can do it, who can work with all of us in the ownership group to build something great here, and who can’t. And if changes need to be made, they’ll be made.”

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Lacob was non-committal about what to do with the expiring contracts. But when the question was asked about what he wanted to do with the $14 million in expirings, he corrected the questioner and said it was $17 million.

From what I’ve been told, the ideal in their mind would be to use that to land someone good. Lacob, again, brought up Boston and how the turnaround started with the signing of KG. I know he wants another star who fits the kind of mold he wants. The urgency for that player is perhaps lessened by the improvement of Monta and the addition of David Lee. But I think they still want a beast to complement, if not lead, the current crop of stars.

Who that guy is and whether or not they can get that guy, especially with the expirings, is the question. But from everything I’ve been told, they aren’t content with the current roster and are looking to add another big piece.

LACOB: “I think about that almost every day. That’s a big, important piece. What do we do with that? Do we do something at the trade deadline? Do we wait until free agency next summer? I think these are things we’re going to have to analyze. We’re going to have to see what’s available.

It’s a little more complicated than that, in terms of those cap numbers and…. We’re going to be looking at it very carefully. If we have an opportunity to go get a great player, we might do that.”

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Lacob said he took Monta and his family to a 49ers game. Wonder what that conversation was like!

Marcus Thompson