The Warriors Are In Flux
3:30 PM EDT on May 31, 2023
The Golden State Warriors are skilled at the performative; everyone gets along within limits, everyone likes each other more or less, the culture endures.
But cultures grow and shrink depending on circumstances (see: Draymond Green's right fist and Jordan Poole's left face), and the Warriors have had their issues during this largely happy time, so it was with at least moderate skepticism that GM Bob Myers's departure presser came and went. On-site owner Joe Lacob described Myers as "my fifth child," which seemed considerably over-the-top, and over-the-top in the Succession era means somebody's laying it on too thick to be truly believed.
But we won't really know if Myers's claims that he is leaving the best job he's ever had because of exhaustion rather than money are true until we see when he takes another job in the league, because (a) he will have one if he wants, and (b) if it happens sooner rather than later we can make a fairly safe assumption that he'd have stayed under different circumstances.
Myers has helped navigate both glorious (Kevin Durant) and fractious (Kevin Durant) times. He has spent literally days of elapsed time explaining Green in and of himself, and there is also the old John Madden rule that says that 10 years in any high-stress job is plenty. Myers did 12, and the extra two can probably be explained by the universally curative powers of Wardell S. Curry.
But nothing is as linear as organizations try to make them for the gullible, and the Warriors are very definitely in the throes of a complicated transition, and would have been whether they had advanced past the second round or not. Myers was part of that transition and now he is not, and the fact that he and Lacob spent months being far apart on a new contract suggest stridently that money was indeed part of the equation. Executives of Myers's levels of accomplishment and reputation usually aren't allowed to enter their walk year unless the boss wants that to be the case, and Myers not only entered but exited it. It is hard to imagine he was that tired for that long. When Myers said, "It wasn't about money. I have plenty of money," he forgot the first rule of wealth in a hypercapitalist dodge like entertainment, specifically that there is no such thing as "plenty of money." There are two levels on the money gauge, and they are "some, but not enough" and "more, but still not enough."
Lacob's sons, Kyle and Kirk, added to the equation as they have been part of the furniture for years now. Kirk is the business-oriented son, Kyle the basketball-leaning one, and while neither of them are fully prepped on either running a franchise or basketball operations, Joe isn't going anywhere, and Mike Dunleavy is in house, either as the long-term inheritor of ball ops or as a transitional figure. We will learn soon enough what is what and who is whom within that what, but the Warriors are clearly deep in reinvention mode. The two-timeline plan that blew up when the second timeline proved inadequate to needs is proof of that impatience, as Lacob desperately wants there to be life and revenue after Curry ascends into whatever comes after being beatified on earth. That most dynasties need to hit the skids awhile is what Lacob is trying to deny, and while the attempt may be understandable, it is not the way to bet.
Besides, Lacob wears his ambitions as a cloak of cellphones with the flashlights turned on. He has been prevented from being more hands-on only because Myers brought so much cred to this once-irrelevant operation, and Myers's cred sprung from Curry's, even though Curry didn't actually turn into Curry until Myers had been on the job a couple of years and hired Steve Kerr to modernize an offense ready to evolve.
In sum, Bob Myers left because Joe Lacob chose not to make it impossible for him to do so, and that was a choice months in the making. This might have happened a year ago if the Warriors hadn't screwed up and won another championship, but that's all parallel universe stuff. Today, we are left with suppositions for a well-acted scenario that makes little basketball sense on its face, but if there is a press conference in another town within a couple of months with Myers's impossibly lean face at the center microphone, we'll have all the answers we need. In the meantime, Kerr is entering the last year of his contract, and if we have to do this again, we'll have more evidence to suggest that Lacob is pushing the Warriors even further into their next incarnation while the man who made all of this possible is still in the room. Ultimately what we may find is that it is Stephen Curry's patience that is being tested most, and based on his contract, as many as three years prematurely.