SAN FRANCISCO — Golden State Warriors owner Joe Lacob couldn’t fathom why Bob Myers — his general manager and president for the last 12 years — would decide to step down.
“I’m not going to sit here and tell you I understand it because I don’t,” Lacob said as he sat adjacent to Myers in a news conference at Chase Center on Tuesday.
It had been just about four hours since Myers told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that he would be leaving his position when his contract expires at the end of June.
“But it’s really not for me to understand why. I just want him to be happy,” Lacob continued.
Myers’ decision took a lot of factors into account, including wanting to spend more time with his family. He squashed the notion that it was because of the Warriors’ turbulent and mediocre season.
“If the team wins the championship, would you leave? I think, yes,” Myers said. He told Wojnarowski it wasn’t about money, saying he declined ownership offers on a new deal that would’ve paid him in the same range as the league’s top-earning executives. It’s not for a new position waiting for him — he said he will take a moment to sit still before making his next move.
“The bottom line is, this job, the one I’m in … requires complete engagement, a complete effort, a thousand percent, and if you can’t do it, then you shouldn’t do it,” Myers said. “So that’s the answer to the question of why. I can’t do that to our players. I can’t do that to Joe and Peter [Guber]. Really, I can’t do it to myself. And that’s the question I’ve been wrestling with.”
The natural next question the Warriors face is: Where do they go from here?
At Tuesday’s news conference, Lacob wouldn’t address any clear plans for Myers’ successor. But, Lacob is expected to seek more prominent roles for his son, Kirk, an executive vice president of basketball operations, and VP of basketball operations Mike Dunleavy Jr., according to Wojnarowski. The conversations to promote from within — particularly Dunleavy and the younger Lacob — have been ongoing for weeks as the team braced for the true possibility that Myers would leave.
“[Dunleavey is] as good a GM, if he wants it, it will be great,” Myers said.
“I will say that we do have a very strong organization, and there’s a good possibility it could be an internal candidate,” Lacob said. “But haven’t made a decision, so can’t really give you an answer. We are going to work on that.”
The plan to promote from within also stems from a possible inability to land an external big-time general manager, as power struggles within the Warriors become an issue, particularly between front office and ownership, sources said. The power dynamic will continue to evolve and become less separated as the Warriors franchise could become more of a family business.
Lacob said he will continue to work with Myers through the end of his contract in late June. However, it is unclear who will take on the lead role during the draft process with the draft taking place on June 22. Myers said he would be operating in a support role.
“We’ll make a decision as soon as we can, but I want to make sure that we make the right decision, and if it happens in a week, great. If it happens in a month, great,” Lacob said. “We’ll make that decision through the natural course, have the right process. I think we are preparing for the draft and free agency and all those things regardless, and we’ll be ready.”
Whoever is tapped to fill Myers’ shoes has a big job waiting for them as the Warriors enter what is the most important offseason the franchise has gone through in recent history.
Draymond Green has a player $27.6 million player option waiting for him which, if he turns down, will make him an unrestricted free agent. Klay Thompson is about to enter the final year of his contract. The same goes for head coach Steve Kerr. And then there is replenishing their depth as they work with an already sky-high salary and new CBA rules that will only make it tougher on them.
“The truth is, we have a lot of work to do,” Lacob said. “We are going to win no matter what. I don’t care what the rules are. We are going to figure out a way to do it. That’s what good organizations do.”