The Warriors didn’t confirm or deny reports they have agreed to a deal for a new arena inSan Franciscoin 2017. Instead, Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob—and team spokesman Raymond Ridder—settled for an ambiguous statement:
“We are not prepared to make any announcements at this time.”
But Sunday, Mercury News fan blogger Adam Lauridsen broke the news Golden State agreed to build a fancy, new, privately funded arena on Piers 30 and 32 on the Embarcadero. Of course, in the past, the standard company line was they’re doing their due diligence as they search for a new home. But in light of the latest news, the company line has changed, suggesting an announcement is pending but they are not “prepared” to make it.
The Warriors, according to league sources, had preliminary discussions with the San Francisco Giants. But those discussions didn’t pan out as, according to one source, the two sides clashed over how much control the Giants would have.
The Warriors could still end up part of the $1.6 billion Mission Rock project, which was unveiled April 4. The 27-acre plan—which will develop the land south of AT&T Park—isn’t scheduled to break ground for three years. Plus, the aforementioned site on The Embarcadero, isn’t without issues. Parking for a new arena there would be scarce, not to mention the potential traffic headache could be enough to scare off the city officials who would have to approve the plans.
One source with periphery knowledge of the negotiations said don’t be surprised if the Warriors agreed to the deal for an arena on Piers 30 and 32 as a message to the Giants. With years worth of bureaucracy awaiting both projects, plenty time exists for the two sides to work on a deal and change directions.
Either way, all signs point to the Warriors leaving Oakland for the financially greener pastures of San Francisco. Many would say this is the direction Golden State has been headed since Lacob and Peter Guber bought the franchise. That theory was fueled, if not sparked, by three major press conferences held in San Francisco: Lacob and Guber’s introduction as owners, and the introductions of executive board member Jerry West and head coach Mark Jackson.
This paper learned Lacob met with San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee on May 11 and presented a letter signed by city supervisors, business leaders and state representatives. The letter expressed the city’s hopes for the Warriors to build a “state-of-the-art sports and entertainment facility.”
The Warriors moved from San Francisco to Oakland in 1971. But now Golden State plays in the NBA’s oldest arena. Plus the corporate dollars awaiting the franchise in the West Bay look especially good for a group of owners looking to profit on their $450 million investment. A new arena with luxury suites, which is all but a requirement in modern stadiums, figure to be much more likely to sell in San Francisco.