GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS MEDIA CONFERENCE
May 24, 2021
San Francisco, California, USA
Q. I wanted to get your big-picture assessment on the season because maybe glass half full, you finished six games over .500, lots of positive player development; glass half empty, you have an MVP candidate, a defensive Player of the Year candidate, and you guys didn't reach the Playoffs. What's your assessment of how things were this season?
BOB MYERS: I think you said it pretty well. Can look at it both ways. Some good things. The result obviously not what we wanted. The goal was to make the Playoffs. We didn't do it, so we have to accept that and deal with it and be better in that regard.
But yeah, some good moments, some things that obviously yourself, you're used to being around the team, many of you on this call are kind of used to traveling with us or at least being in the locker room, I will say that the -- in order to win you have to learn how to lose, and I kind of harken back to 2012 when we lost -- I believe actually 2013 when we lost to the Clippers, or '14.
Looking in the locker room of losing -- and we did make the Playoffs that year and lost to the Clippers. How you lose sometimes builds a foundation to winning. It doesn't excuse not making the Playoffs. It doesn't mean we're happy. But I do like what that locker room looked like in a loss and what that last month or so looked like and those last few games.
Again, shouldn't please my owners, shouldn't please our fans, shouldn't please our players, shouldn't please me, but like you said, some positives, and certainly dealing with the truth of not making the Playoffs is something we can't escape.
Q. Curious to know what you think of the roster in terms of you guys played your best basketball over the last six weeks of the season, and you did it for the most part with a starting lineup without two shooters. You had three guys that were shooters. How hard is it to win in today's NBA when you've got guys like Draymond and Loon who aren't really storing threats?
BOB MYERS: Well, I think every team is trying to do it all. As you know. You've covered it a long time. At one time I thought we had the puzzle fit exactly right. I don't think you ever as a general manager get to see something like we had in years past as far as roster and not a lot of deficiencies.
But most teams deal with some deficiencies, and I think we've certainly acknowledged there's holes. We had a thin margin for error this year, and that's why you saw in the last week or so some very close games and games that could have gone either way. But they didn't go our way, and we've got to own that, too.
In order to win, you have to play really well, really, really well for us to win. At times we did and at the very end the other team did and beat us.
Shooting, sure. Every team needs it, every team wants it. But at the same time, every team wants guys that can defend multiple positions, which Looney and Draymond do. Obviously Draymond's play making is a huge part of who we are.
So that's where we get back to work, and sometimes it comes from within, sometimes it comes from trades, sometimes from free agency, sometimes from the draft.
But I think you're right. Certainly at with the attention Steph was getting, we acknowledged scoring was difficult in some of those situations against some really good teams and good game plans.
Q. How does it change your offense when Draymond is actually making shots or at least posing a threat to defenses, a scoring threat?
BOB MYERS: It changes it quite a bit, and about 40 minutes ago he was in my office with Steve and we were talking about that exact issue.
The good news is we're all aligned in that that opens things up. He wants to do it, too, and he's done it before. That's also -- you were covering our team when he was shooting at a high clip from there. He's capable. Some of it's a mindset, some of it's work.
But we need it. He wants it. He's not going to shy away from that. I think he wants to feel confident in that regard. And so yes, that ability to be a threat out there is important to us, and we're focused on it and so is he, and we think we can improve in that area.
Q. Ken Bazemore said Steph Curry had a hairline fracture in his tailbone; is that right?
BOB MYERS: Yeah, I think he had a small hairline, but as I've been told, the pain and discomfort was coming from more of a contusion. Just to you know, for anyone on the call, when we have an injury, everybody that I'm talking to here or looking at is very good and have probably -- working on their medical degree just like I am.
But when you have an injury like that or any injury, what we do is we meet with the player, we meet with the player's representative, we meet with our medical staff and say, How do you want to characterize this injury? In conjunction and collaboration we all said, You know what, hairline fracture sounds scary. Do you want us to put that in there, do you not. They said, Let's just go with contusion. And it's not a situation where we're trying to be deceitful, the player is, and in that specific instance that's how we went about it, and being told that the reason why he was not playing right away was more the contusion, that's what we went with, so that's the story of that.
Q. You guys obviously kind of have a timeline conflict right now with Steph and Draymond and Klay at the age they are and James coming up, two first-round draft picks potentially in this draft, 14, maybe 6, 7 overall. What is the urgency level to dip into that asset base for your future to help next season's team and the one after, which is kind of the Curry title window?
BOB MYERS: Yeah, I mean, we've been -- since obviously Steph was here before I got here, and when you're lucky enough to kind of fall into a player like that in my position, I think you owe it to them to try to win. Those people don't come along too often with that kind of talent that he obviously has.
For the last 10 years, that's what we've been trying to do, is give him a team that he can win a championship with, and some years it's easier than others. But we're always looking and trying to do that, and we'll keep trying to do that, and that means looking at all different types of things.
As much as it's been said and written, I do think young players can help. It depends on when or how. Things can evolve much differently than we all think over the course of a season or over the course of a training camp, but that's where we make our predictions, and we look at the roster and say, Well, how much can we expect from this player, how much can we realistically expect from that player, what's Klay going to be, when is he going to be back. I'm sure we'll get into that.
So it's something we're constantly looking at and certainly we'll try and do. We want to win. Our payroll is not a payroll that will reflect any type of rebuilding. It's a payroll that's trying to win a championship, so that's how we're going to approach it.
Q. Kind of related, but what did you learn now that the season is over about developing top prospects like James Wiseman? Was it maybe a little bit more challenging than what was originally anticipated?
BOB MYERS: I think it's always challenging. I wasn't here when Steph was a rookie, but I was here with Draymond and Klay, obviously Jordan Poole a little bit, Harrison Barnes, some of the guys I'm thinking of that we brought in that were higher picks, I guess, although Draymond was a second rounder.
It happens when it happens, and it's hard to predict. I didn't know Jordan would help us as much as he did this last year. I don't know what's going to happen in the course of these guys' -- how fast, how slow.
There's an unknown to what we do, but you have to predict something. You have to make some guesses, some educated guesses. It's really about being helpful in some way, helping the team win, and I think that would be the goal with any rookie we have, can this guy add to winning in the minutes he's on the floor, and that's what we have to kind of -- Steve uses the word thread the needle, but at the same time, to say it's easy on him or the player or the veterans or the young player even is not fair.
It is a little unusual, like we all would say, for a team that is as mature as ours to have high picks. That's the part that's unusual. So we look at that all the time. We would like to think they can help us, and that's how we're going to approach it, but that's how we view it.
Q. Given all those challenges, you guys have as many as two lottery picks. Would you be comfortable adding two teenagers, young guys to this group?
BOB MYERS: It depends on who they are, right, and it depends on what else we do, depends what's available, it depends on what optionality exists. I know those answers aren't what you want to hear, but the truth is you can look at a lot of different things and some come to fruition, some don't.
I do know we need veterans, and the one area I can say without kind of equivocating is we have to add some veterans in free agency. We just have to. We're well aware of that. We'll try to do it. We actually tried to do it last year with a few guys, so it wasn't as if that mindset didn't exist. It doesn't matter, nobody cares, but we were in second place with quite a few guys that I think were veteran, could have helped, but they chose to go to a team after Klay's injury that they thought they could win it more, and that's fair to them.
Some even said, Had Klay not gotten hurt I would have come. Who knows if that's true or not. But that's the thing we hope we've accomplished in the last couple months, is proven to some of those kind of guys, I think the Warriors can win. They have to believe that. I hope we've showed that we're close. But that's what you get when you're looking at a vet minimum guy or a vet taxpayer that's maybe taking less money, is can I win with the Warriors. There's no doubt they like playing with Steph and they love Steve, and I think they view our organization as one that takes care of its players.
But those players are in demand, and the contending teams are after them. But we want to -- we did it last year; we didn't get him. But we're going to try to do it again, and I think hopefully we'll have some more success this off-season.
Q. You mentioned Klay just now; is there any clarity as we sit here after the season about when he'll be able to return next year?
BOB MYERS: Yeah, I think -- I don't know that it'll be the start of the year. We'll see more as camp gets closer. When I say start of the year, I mean Game 1. I don't know if that's realistic or not. That'll be less than a year. I think that'll -- I don't know what date the season opens up, but I think that'll be 11 months. I don't know that that's realistic.
What we're focused on is when do we expect Klay to be Klay, and I don't know if that'll be January, February, March. It's too early to say.
I know that's not an answer that -- I'd love to be able to tell you exactly what it is, but until we get closer, I don't know.
But we're not going to throw him out there if he's not ready, and he's doing everything he can to get back. For someone that's covered us like you, there's a -- I don't like to -- I want to talk about Klay a lot, but I'm reluctant because I don't want to use that as an excuse. I don't want people to think, when Klay comes back, everything is going to be great.
As great as he is, and it will help a lot, we have to look at our team and say, Klay will be a huge addition, but there's other areas where we need to improve on, as well. But I don't know exactly when it'll be.
Q. You've been on record as saying you'd like to bring Kelly Oubre back. I don't know if you've had your closeout interview or not with him. How confident are you as we sit here today knowing that things can change in free agency that you will be able to bring him back going into next season?
BOB MYERS: Yeah, I don't know. I don't know what his market will be. I don't know what our ability will be. But he did help us when he moved to the sixth man role. I know that was much discussed throughout the year, and I thought he handled it well. Especially when we played him more at the 4, I thought he was pretty productive for us.
He went through a lot this season, obviously new team, hearing all the noise that he heard and then not starting, and I thought he handled it well. He got a lot of questions about do you want to be back, do you want him back. But for the most part I think he could have helped us. At the end there we were running out eight guys and they did the best they could, and I think he could have helped us because I felt like unfortunately -- and everybody is free to have their own opinion, I thought -- I don't think I'm being biased, that he was helping us more in that role, and I even think Wiseman was starting to come into his own, but of course everybody is going to think I'm saying that.
But I actually thought that over the last few games there was some positive as far as impacting winning. So we view that with Kelly, but Nick, I can't say -- I think he helps us, but I can't predict what the market will be and all those things.
Q. Did he make it clear to you that he would be willing to return in a bench role next season?
BOB MYERS: Yeah, we didn't specifically say are you coming off the bench or not, but he did make it clear he'd like to be here. He did say that. I think some of it -- I think you even asked him about starting and if he'd be okay with that. Organizationally we didn't look at it as much as starting or not.
I don't mind a player that says he wants to start. I think that's fine. If you're on our team and you said, I want to start and you didn't, say great, you should. So I think we can work that out. But again, those conversations will come two months from now.
But there was no, we don't want you here, I don't want to be here type conversations going on.
Q. Draymond after the game on Friday says he expects to be heavily involved in the off-season moves. How much is Draymond, Steph, and Klay a part of what you guys do, whether it's roster moves, free agency, draft picks? How involved are those three guys?
BOB MYERS: It's funny, I saw that, too, and I hear people -- for those of you -- the guy has never not been involved. He's not capable of not being involved, which I value and encourage in Steph and Klay. Klay is not that involved because Klay is just -- it's not how he thinks as much.
But I will tell you Draymond and Steph have never not said, and we like that partnership. Those guys are more important than I am. Their opinions matter. They're harder to find than somebody like me.
I love them weighing in. We just talked half an hour ago and he has thoughts and opinions, which are great. He sat in on the draft one year, and I'm sure he'll be leading something or running something at some point in his life.
So he's got great -- he's very smart. Steph, too. So welcome that. Always have and always will. Draymond will probably be telling us what to do when he's gone.
Q. How optimistic are you that you guys can get a new contract done for Steph this off-season?
BOB MYERS: As optimistic as you can be. I don't see any reason not to be optimistic. He seems like he's motivated, we're motivated. I would say pretty confident we'll get something done.
Q. Have you guys talked to him about the Olympics? Do you know his plans? I know at one point in his career, checking that gold medal box was like a priority to him. Things have obviously changed with COVID and everything. Do you know his thoughts on the Olympics and his involvement?
BOB MYERS: Yeah, well, Steve is one of the coaches, so I think him and Steve spoke.
I talked to Steph about it on Saturday. We did our exit interviews a little bit, but I don't think he's decided. I don't think he's decided. I think he wants to see the schedule.
The season ended abruptly. It all ends abruptly usually unless you're down 3-0 in a playoff series, so I didn't want to press him 15 hours after we lost.
I think he's going to weigh his options and see, and clearly he's got Steve to bounce off of what the schedule looks like and what it would be. I think they've got to decide in the next few weeks whether they're going to do it or not.
Q. You were talking about how players when Klay got hurt, they were like, Yeah, you guys aren't going to win a championship so I'm out. How much were you influenced by that in your decision making, and I guess mostly I want to know did Steph's play at all surprise you? Did you find yourself like maybe he's better than we thought he was? Knowing what you know now, is there something you might have done differently to set him up more in behind set?
BOB MYERS: Yeah, he was unbelievable. I don't think anybody predicted he'd have the year he had. But I don't think anybody thought, Well, Steph is not going to have a great year, let's not -- I don't think that played into any of our thinking as far as hedging because we didn't think Steph would be great.
We expected him to be great, but this great? But it didn't impact any of the things we did. In fact, the Oubre signing pivoting and spending that money probably was an indication of, Hey, we think we can be pretty good; let's go after what we think is the guy we had to sign that was available with only a few days after Klay's injury to figure out who could fit into that exception.
I think our actions showed it, but again, when Klay went down I probably didn't -- we didn't get some vets to support Steph as much as we'd like. But he was even on the phone with some of them and doing his part and I was asking him to talk to them and Draymond was, as well, and Steve.
But even if you were one of those guys, you look at our team, and with arguably our second best player out, I can't blame them for saying, I think I can go win it over here with one of these teams.
Q. I'm wondering, I know the tendency is to say I don't know, but you're making decisions based on where you think you are right now, and I'm wondering where you think you are. How far away do you think you are from contention and what needs to be done to get back there?
BOB MYERS: Well, making the Playoffs was probably -- how far were we from that? I don't know. You watch the games, the bounce of a ball, one shot going in and out. But we didn't, and that's what happens sometimes.
So as far as being a playoff team, I think we're there, as close as you can be without making it. But beyond that, I always thought when people ask me prior to this year, I want to see our team, and our team includes Klay Thompson. I wanted to see that. We didn't get to see it, which is most hurtful to Klay.
So now you go into another year saying who's our team. I've seen Klay, Draymond, and Steph together. You have, too. But I haven't seen them recently, in the last two years. If those three guys are on the floor together I'm not afraid of any team in the NBA. That's how I feel.
But that plays into what Nick asked, which is when is Klay coming back. But he is coming back. When is he coming back? I don't know. I believe when he does come back, there will be an acclimation period, but then he'll get back to a really good version of himself.
I think that team is going to be very good. So you take those three guys out -- I thought Andrew, there was questions about Andrew and what he would bring this year, and I thought he comported himself tremendously well and made believers out of some detractors. And I don't think myself or anybody was trying to prove anybody wrong, but I think he was part of the solution.
Jordan Poole, he was maybe more than we thought or showed more than we thought he could by the end of the year. Juan is another example.
So then you look at it and say, What's going to happen in the draft? James, again, a lot of scrutiny on him, a lot of in and out of the lineups. I do think he can help us next year. I do think he can. We've got to hopefully have a training camp with him, give him some time, put him in situations, simplify some things.
But I don't doubt he's going to be better than he was this year. And he did have some bright moments. I thought we had some really good moments, so I think he can help us.
If you add it all up and we have health, I think we're up there with any team in the league. Who do we draft at those positions? I don't even know what pick we have. I have an idea. I think that team can be really good, but not if it's not healthy.
If you look at the Playoffs right now and who's winning and who's losing, you cannot win that much without your top core guys healthy, and so we have to be healthy. But if we're healthy I like our team a lot.
Q. When you mentioned James and the scrutiny and whatnot, is it your position that he's effectively untradeable until you see him with Klay as you're talking about because you haven't seen everybody together? Or is it a situation where all possibilities are on the table to get back to contention?
BOB MYERS: No, I think he can help us. I expect him to be on the team next year. We don't want to trade James Wiseman. I think he's a tremendous talent and he was put in a position where, again, the guy is taking hopefully all of his lumps early in his career, but I think he can be very helpful to us in the future. I think he can be helpful in the present.
We plan on him being on the team. We plan on him helping us. Maybe that's because we have seen a lot of things -- I know you guys watch the games and that's a good indicator, too, but we're very confident he's going to be a good player and help us win next year.
We think he's part of winning for this team going forward.
Q. To circle back to some of the things you said about needing to add some veteran help, what specific team needs do you think you guys have, and what kind of veterans would you like to get in free agency?
BOB MYERS: You know, it's the ones that have kind of done it before, maybe been in playoff series. Not to say that Juan and Jordan and even Wiggins I think showed that they're capable in those big moments. That's the thing about having -- we didn't make the Playoffs, I think we had some meaningful games at the end, and that's when you really find out about a team and a specific player.
But it's guys that maybe can stretch the floor, maybe a shooting big, maybe a play-making guard. Our defense I think finished fifth. Maybe some more offensive-minded guys. Like I said, the shooting is interesting because with Bazemore, and hopefully we'll get him back, but with Juan and Jordan and Mulder, we had some decent shooting, but you can always use more.
But with Draymond anchoring the defense it's hard not to have a really good defense, and I think Looney is a great defender, and Steph doesn't get enough credit for his defense, and Wiggins, too. I really like our defense.
But offensively you saw, too, how Steph was being guarded. It's not fair to him almost. One guy can't do that much. It's a compliment to him clearly that he got the attention he got, but that's very hard and a lot to ask of him to shoulder that burden by himself. So we need to help him on the offensive side a little bit.
Q. I want to build on the urgency topic again. (Indiscernible) championship form would you say Steph and Draymond showed this season, and how much longer might that patience extend considering everyone wants to capitalize on their primes?
BOB MYERS: Yeah, I don't know. I think they both are aware that -- I suppose, I think, or at least I know in my conversations with them, they know we want to win. I think we've earned that trust over the time with them, and they know we'll do everything we can.
Clearly with what our owner has spent I think it's obvious he wants to win, too. But how do you accomplish that? I think there's a lot of players in the NBA that want to feel like they're getting the most they can out of their roster, and those guys do, too. But it's very -- it's not contentious. It's not you shoot on this or that or we need you to do this, I don't like this.
I met with Steph for an hour on Saturday, met with Draymond for an hour and a half just now. When you've been lucky enough to do what we've been able to do, you don't rest on your laurels, but you do have equity in those relationships. It's like working with someone for 10 years. If anything is meaningful you're going to succeed together and you're going to fail together. Those guys have -- you can call this year whatever you want, but we've had some great success, we've had some great disappointment, but everybody is competitive, everybody wants to win.
The point is that as long as they all feel like we're trying to do that, then everybody is okay. I haven't had a conversation -- I've never had a conversation with either of those guys, even in the last two days, where they've said to me, You'd better do this, or we should have done that. That's just not how the relationship works.
But at the same time, I may initiate and say, You know, maybe I should have done this or maybe I should have done that. And that's why you get a situation where you have the same players in an organization, which is almost impossible now to keep a guy like Steph for 10 or 12 or 15 years, or Draymond or Klay. They all want to leave, or do leave.
So that's a testament to kind of going through it with somebody. But it doesn't mean anybody is happy right now. We don't want to be sitting here watching the Playoffs.
Q. You mentioned the idea of James getting a training camp with you and more of a summer than he did maybe last year. Where is he at with the knee, and how optimistic you are that he will be ready full go for training camp?
BOB MYERS: Yeah, I think we're going to have an updated start of September, but the timeline would suggest he would be able to have one is what we're hearing. As you know, things happen sooner, things happen later, but being four or five -- what is it, a month, two months out from surgery? April 15th, I think, so he's actually a month out. Then he'll get off crutches and then we'll see.
But that's the thinking now is that he should be able to participate, which would and should matter.
Our system is -- I was talking to Zaza, and it's fantastic, what our coaches do, and you watch us play, but I wouldn't say it's easy for a young big to kind of grasp. The training camp part is important. It would have been important, and so we really hope and think that he'll be available for that.
Q. You've had a number of these young guys for a couple of years now. I count six of them that's been with you two years. They haven't played with Klay, but have you seen enough of these young guys that you have on the roster to be able to decide on them? And do you anticipate a lot of turnover?
BOB MYERS: Yeah, I don't know -- it's hard to say when is enough, when have you seen a guy enough, because especially now, guys are coming out so young it's really about what can you expect from that guy. I think that's the part we have to figure out as a front office and coaching staff, being realistic about this guy may be good, but when and what's realistic to expect from that player.
If the guy is 28 like Juan is, maybe if Juan was 22, we would have cut him or he wouldn't have been on the team, but he's finding his way through going to the Mexican League and figuring it out at an older age.
So it's really about where we are, how many of those guys you can have. You don't want to have a team with none of them, but you also don't want a team with six of them, seven of them, eight or them, or you at least want to build in some veterans.
I think we've got to sit down in the next few days and weeks, find out what our pick is, and then decide if we can add four vets. If we can add three, what does that mean, and make those decisions in the next couple months.
Q. You mentioned earlier the finances; I just wanted to ask, you're going to be in the repeater tax next season, will be the first season you're in. This season you were already paying more than you ever have done. Is there an upper limit to what you can spend realistically? Because if you bring everyone back you're going to be well north of $400 million in luxury tax and salaries.
BOB MYERS: Yeah, there's a limit. That would be exceeding the limit, I think, $400 million. Especially -- we didn't make the Playoffs. Even if my owner, Joe, wanted to do that, that would be -- I think you'd have to fire me if we paid $400 million and didn't win a championship or something of that nature.
There's a limit. There's always a limit. But you want to spend as prudently as you can while trying to win, but there's a limit in any business. We have to figure out what that limit is. Clearly we've exceeded many limits.
But we'll look at it, see whether we get that Minnesota pick or not, see what's available for us, and when the dust settles, we'll meet with Joe.
The good news is he wants to win more than he wants to make money, and I'm lucky to have him in that role. But short answer, of course there's a limit. What's that limit? More than most teams would pay, I'd say.
The last thing before we go is I miss seeing you. I know that you've got to write the truth, which I appreciate and understand it's your job, but thank you for the Zooms and the way you cover our team. I appreciate knowing most of you, who you are, and hopefully you'll be back in the locker room and around our team.
I do think you cover the team more when you're around more. Some would say not wanting you around, I like seeing you guys, I like having off-the-record conversations. I can say a lot more in those. So hopefully you'll be back next year and we'll get to see all of you.
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