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Joe Lacob is owner of the best team in the NBA, regarded as perhaps one of the greatest teams of all time, and he believes Kevin Durant’s happiness is important and knows he’ll have to re-recruit Durant next summer.
Lacob, owner of the Golden State Warriors, winners of the last two NBA championships and three of the last four, understands Durant will once again have all options open next summer after signing a one-year deal to remain with Golden State this summer.
“That’s a two-edged sword, right? Sure, I think we would have liked to have had him be here longer, sign a long-term deal,” Lacob told The Athletic’s Tim Kawakami on The TK Show Podcast. “On the other hand, we’re happy to have him. By him signing a one-year deal, it save us a little bit of money, actually, right?
“So, it allows us to do some other things. Like, maybe we wouldn’t have DeMarcus Cousins, right? As an example.”
— The Athletic (@TheAthleticSF) September 23, 2018
Cousins signed a one-year deal with Golden State for the tax-payer mid-level exception of $5.3 on July 6. The six-time All-Star is still working his way back after tearing an Achilles’ tendon last season.
Lacob expressed admiration for Durant — Most Valuable Player of the last two NBA Finals — after leaving Oklahoma City to sign with Golden State on July 4, 2016.
“KD’s been great. He’s my hero, man. He’s been a really good partner for us,” he said. “He’s taken a little, as you know, a little bit of a discount over the last few years that has allowed to do a few extra things. I’m never going to forget that.”
In the summer of 2017, Durant could have signed a maximum-contract deal that would have paid him about $34.7 million last season. Instead, he chose to sign for $25 million, which allowed the Warriors to retain Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston.
Durant’s decisions have saved Golden State about $15 million in salary, plus tens of millions more in luxury-tax penalties.
Next summer, Durant will be eligible to sign a five-year max deal with the Warriors worth more than $221 million.
Lacob understands he and the Warriors’ organization will have to re-recruit Durant — who signed for $30 million for this season with a player option for $31.5 million in 2019-20 on July 7 — again next summer, and he’s fine with that.
“Of course we do… he deserves to go and be happy wherever he wants to be. I hope it’s here,” he said. “I hope he feels the same way that I do and we do about him, when it comes time next summer.
“But you never can predict these things. We just will do our job, and he’ll do his job and we’ll see what happens next summer; let the chips fall where they may.”
As for those whom express Golden State “ruined the league,” first by the signing of Durant, and now by adding Cousins, Lacob doesn’t care.
“No. It’s not our job to care about the rest of the league. It’s our job to win. Period. End of story. Nothing else to be discussed,” he said. “And, since Day 1, that’s been our attitude. You can talk about this or that, how much money we make, we’re building an arena — all that is really interesting — but our job is to win. Period.
“With that, a lot of good things happen that follow. We’re committed to winning. That means being excellent at everything you do — from the people you hire in the organization, to building a new arena, to filling out your roster, to retaining your head coach. Whatever it may be.”