The Golden State Warriors‘ long and perilous journey back to the mountaintop is finally complete after the club dispatched the Boston Celtics in Game 6 of the NBA Finals on Thursday.
Despite the devastating injuries that the Dubs incurred in recent years — not to mention the departure of an all-time great in Kevin Durant — they were somehow able to hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy once again. Not everyone is looking to dole out props for their accomplishment, though.
After the Warriors overcame a woeful shooting effort to win Game 5, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst called it a “checkbook win.” And there are fans, pundits and Twitter trolls out there who are chiding Golden State for buying their latest chip.
However, Warriors majority owner Joe Lacob is having none of it.
“Oh, come on,” Lacob told The Athletic after his team’s title-clinching win. “That’s a joke; I think it’s ridiculous. All of our players are guys that we drafted or minimum signings except for one [Wiggins] trade. One trade and no free agent beyond the minimum. How can you say we bought the title? It’s crazy.”
But Is It That Crazy? And What’s Wrong With Spending to Win?
Lacob was spot-on in making the point that the Warriors’ roster is largely made up of homegrown talent. Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green — who have now added four titles to the team’s trophy case — were all drafted and developed by the Dubs. So, the franchise has definitely earned its roses on that front.
That said, ownership has also very clearly paid a premium beyond anything we’ve ever seen from another NBA team to keep those homegrown guys together and surround them with title-worthy pieces. Lacob even made mention of that reality on Thursday.
“We wouldn’t spend that kind of money on the roster if we didn’t think we had a chance to win. When you do think you have a chance to go far and compete for a championship, our belief is we are going to do everything we can, use every last dollar,” Lacob said.
Every. Last. Dollar.
“A lot of teams can’t do that or won’t do that, I guess. We have great revenue. Our business side is so good. We generate revenue at a great rate, so we’re able to spend a little more. There’s no doubt about that. But we wouldn’t do it if we didn’t think we had a chance to win.”
That’s the rub with the Warriors — they’re bringing in the money, so they have it to spend. And the fact that Lacob and Co. are reinvesting into the team is a great thing for fans and players alike. It’s what successful business owners are supposed to do, and Lacob is clearly in the business of winning.
Building from the ground up and spending to win aren’t mutually exclusive.
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Myers on Lacob Using His Resources
For his part, team president Bob Myers used Gary Payton II’s situation as an example of that reinvestment in the franchise.
“GP was a 15th guy that cost us $12 million,” Myers said. “That was a debate. A lot of owners would never have done that. We went into camp saying we’re not signing a 15th guy. That’s $12 million. We’re not doing that. It’s not a minimum contract. But Gary was so good. We went to Joe and said it’s going to cost us $12 million. And he thought we were keeping 14. It’s the little decisions.
“We are trying to win a championship. We have a payroll that states that. You can’t have a payroll like that and not be in that title conversation.”