Golden State Warriors owner Joe Lacob has seen some incredible success over the last decade, but believes the gold standard for ownership was set by a legendary divisional rival.
In June the Warriors defeated the Boston Celtics to win their fourth title in the last eight years, jumping back to the top of the league after two injury-plagued seasons that fell short of the playoffs. Lacob has made an unprecedented financial commitment to the team, paying $346.2 last season in payroll and luxury tax for the last season.
While Lacob is happy with the team’s success, he still aspires to the success of his late counterpart with the Los Angeles Lakers.
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Lacob Shares Praise for Lakers Owner
Appearing on the “Point Forward” podcast with Warriors veteran Andre Iguodala, Lacob explained that winning championships is his sole objective as an owner.
“The truth of the matter is that I’m about only one thing for the rest of my life, and that’s winning and winning championships,” Lacob said. “I’m maniacal, and it’s all I care about. That’s it.”
Though the Warriors have been a model franchise over the course of the last decade, Lacob said he looks up to late Lakers owner Jerry Buss, who has an even longer streak of success in the NBA.
“We’ve done really well, we’ve won four in eight years which is incredible, made six finals in 12 years,” Lacob said. “Which by the way there was someone else who did that as an owner, Jerry Buss. I look up to him. In 33 years of ownership, 16 finals. That 50 percent rate, I don’t know if we can continue that but I’m sure as hell going to try. That’s my goal. That’s my goal, to have this team be great.”
Buss led the Lakers through different eras of success, winning with teams led by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant. At the time of his death in 2013, the Lakers had won 10 titles with Buss as owner, and he was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010.
It’s Costly at the Top
As Sam Quinn of CBS Sports noted, it could be increasingly costly for Lacob to keep the Warriors on top of the NBA. The Warriors continue to be subject to the repeater penalty for teams that have paid the luxury tax in three of the past four seasons, and there is no relief in sight as the team’s core — Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins — are all making their max salary or close to it.
Quinn noted that general manager Bob Myers had previously hinted at $400 million as a limit on payroll, but that mark will soon be passed.
“They have the capacity to re-sign most of their own free agents through their own Bird rights or through cap exceptions,” Quinn noted. “And based on what those players are likely to cost, that $400 million limit is probably going to be in the rearview mirror in the very near future.”