Warriors owner Joe Lacob after Klay Thompson injury: ‘We’re not tanking’
Golden State Warriors owner Joe Lacob has had his fill of losing after the team plummeted to the cellar of the NBA last season, and Klay Thompson’s devastating injury won’t compel him to accept another disappointing campaign.
The Warriors were expected to return to the NBA’s upper echelon a season after limping to a league-worst 15-50 regular-season record amid the injuries and absences of both Thompson and Stephen Curry.
Those best-laid plans were derailed even before training camps tip off on Dec. 1 when Thompson suffered a season-ending Achilles tear while rehabbing this week after he missed the entire 2019-20 season with an ACL injury.
Lacob, however, is striking a defiant tone amid the devastating news on Thompson. The Warriors’ majority owner relayed to Tim Kawakami of The Athletic the substance of a recent conversation he had with team staff about the season outlook.
“I said, ‘We’re not tanking,'” Lacob said on “The TK Show,” via Anthony Slater of The Athletic. “If anyone’s even thinking that, get it off your mind. Forget it. Give me options. What can we do to make this team as good as we can make it?”
As expected, the Warriors quickly recalibrated their plan and the first move was to acquire Kelly Oubre by shipping a protected 2021 first-round draft pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder. While Oubre obviously cannot fully fill Thompson’s shoes, it’s a start.
The Warriors also held on to their No. 2 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft despite rumors the team may move out of the spot and used it to select James Wiseman. Lacob has spoken glowingly of the incoming former Memphis standout, calling the 19-year-old “immensely talented” and potentially a “once-in-a-decade kind of guy.”
Whether the additions of Wiseman and Oubre to round out a lineup featuring Curry, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins is enough to make the Warriors major players in the Western Conference is unknown. What is clear, though, is that the team’s owner isn’t about to suffer through another horrible season without doing everything possible to avoid it.