Joe Lacob joined the broadcast of the Warriors’ summer league game vs. the Miami Heat on Wednesday. Here is the transcript of his interview with NBATV’s Dennis Scott and Kevin Calabro.
You enjoying yourself as owner of the Warriors?
It was a tough year. Waiting (through the lockout) was tough. But we had a lot of work to do. When we bought the franchise, we had a lot of changes to make. So that did give us the time to do that.
You have some of the most rabid fans and they need to be rewarded
They do. They deserve it. We have incredible fans. And we think over the next few years we’re set up to do that.
What’s your philosophy as you approach this season?
We just want to continue top show improvement. Get bigger. Get stronger. We’ve got a lot of young guys, so it may take a little while, But a lot of talent. We’ve and Two good drafts. We all know that building through the draft is usually the best way to do it. We had a key trade with the Andrew Bogut trade. I think that’s going to help us a tremendous amount. Very hard to find a center, as you know. So, we’re looking forward. We think we’ve got some good pieces here to build on.
How excited are you about having Klay Thompson emerge so quickly?
Amazing. Honestly, I’ve watched him for three years as a Stanford fan, sitting courtside in the Pac 12. All our guys — Jerry West, everybody — were so excited. We really felt that he could be a really special player. We feel even more so that that’s the case now.
Where is Bogut and what stage is he from a health standpoint?
He’s ahead of schedule. He’s looking great. We’re in constant communication. We think he’s going to be healthy. His injuries were really freak injuries. The elbow and the ankle. There is no reason he can’t recover. He does seem to be a little injury prone. That’s fair. Hopefully he stays healthy. Curry’s healthy and we’re a much-improved basketball team.
And then you throw in Ekpe Udoh in there. He could be another big body for you guys.
Yeah, but of course as you know we had to trade him. We would have loved to have kept him. He was really starting to emerge. But you’ve got to give up something good to get something good.
People don’t realize what you have to give up sometimes in a trade
Monta Ellis, great player. We gave up a lot. But Bogut’s one of the top— top 3, top 4, top 5 — centers in the league. Can’t find them. You just can’t find guys like that.
He’s also a great passer
He and David Lee, tremendous passers. You put Lee at the high post — I don’t know what the coaches are going to do, but I’m just saying — and put David down low. Look, we didn’t have any size prior to this.
And now you’ve got Festus Ezeli
We targeted him the whole draft hoping that he would be there at 30. I think we thought it was a pretty good shot. He didn’t have the best senior year. But he’s a four year player. He hasn’t played a lot of basketball. He’s very talented. He has 5% body fat. He’s 6-11, 270. This is the kind of guy we need. And a very smart player. So we were excited about him. We were very fortunate he was there. We were perhaps even more fortunate that the guy we thought would go in the mid-20s, Draymond Green, was there at 35. I mean it couldn’t have gone much better. And Harrison Barnes, as you know, could have gone in the top 4. So it just couldn’t have gone any better from our perspective.
What’s the latest on new arena in SF? Is that still in the mix?
Very much so. It’s a long process but we are actively working on developing that site, getting the approvals. It’ll take a couple years to do that in SF. But it’s a tremendous site on the water front. There is only one other arena on the waterfront, that’s Miami. It is a beautiful site. It is going to be privately financed. It’s going to be expensive. It’s going to be a hard process to get through. But we think we can do it. We’re going to do it. And I think our fans are going to be richly rewarded with a tremendous arena.
You really get into this game emotionally. Nothing does it quite like owning an NBA basketball team I would think?
It’s pretty fun. This is the best. This is just the best. We have great fans. I was a fan for a long time of the warriors. Many, many years. We all have suffered so much. We want to win soooo badly.
How tough is that being a fan and making those decision?
I think I’ve prepared for this mentally for a long time. We know it’s a process. But Peter (Guber) and I, and the ownership group, put great people around us. Reconstructed everything in terms of the staff. So were just trying to do everything first class, everything as well as we can. Put the best players out there. We’re going to make some mistakes. But we’re making progress.
You guys could be interesting in the Western Conference
I think the Western Conference, as you know, is really tough. A couple teams might not be up to what they were in the past, but some of them have gotten even better. It’s going to be tough, but we have improved a lot, too. I don’t think our record last year really says much about what kind of talent we have. I think with what was injured, what we added, I think another year of experience for our coaches, I think we can be pretty good and contend for a playoff spot. We’d be upset if we didn’t. No predictions, but hopefully everything goes right, we’re going to be there, and our fans will be pretty happy.
You’re going to sit courtside?
I didn’t pay $450 million to sit up in the rafters.
You’ve got to be careful there don’t you?
You have to be very careful. But I have to be honest, I try not to do anything embarrassing. But, look, it’s fun. We enjoy it. We’re all into it. We just act ourselves and we’re just into it like everybody else. I paid a lot of money for good seats.