While no one could mention the lockout elephant, he trumpeted loudly when David Stern’s visage appeared on the Oracle video scoreboard. That spectre of Stern complimented new ownership, while describing Joe Lacob’s victory over Larry Ellison in the Warriors acquisition: “It wasn’t quite cloak and dagger, but it was to a degree.”
And when asked about Video David’s quote, the smiling GSW owner responded.
Joe Lacob: “The thing you gotta understand about David Stern is that he likes to throw in little barbs. I don’t know what (cloak and dagger) means. But I do know that he used to call me a tire kicker, because I’ve been looking at NBA teams for a decade, and came close several times, and ultimately became part owner of the Celtics. By the way, he was the one who recommended that. He was the one to say ‘Get in the club, get to know the business.’”
ESS: “So you had your dagger ready?”
Joe Lacob: “I don’t know. But you know, he’s a tremendous commissioner, he’s good at what he does. But you know…he’s prickly sometimes. He is.”
Like his nettled mentor, Lacob can favor financial concealment in certain situations. When I asked after the new GSW local television deal, the Warriors owner deigned offer the nitty.
Joe Lacob: “That’s because it’s not public.”
ESS: “Is there any particular reason for that?”
Joe Lacob: “Uh, We’re a private business. We don’t, you know there’s no, we don’t publish those details. Everyone knows we did redo the deal and it’s substantially greater than it was but that’s about all we’re going to say really.”
When I asked about whether new Wolves coach Rick Adelman was considered for the Warriors chair, Lacob was a bit less coy.
ESS: “You said that you had three to four coaching finalists before you were sold on Mark Jackson. Was Rick Adelman one of those finalists? Was he considered at all for the position?”
Joe Lacob: “Um, you know we haven’t commented publicly. There’s been speculation about who the other finalists were. Uh, he was somebody we considered. That’s all I’ll say.”
ESS: “Was it known that he was potentially available?”
Joe Lacob: “Yes.”
It’s possible that the new owner is coming to build a moat or two after an initial period of immense openness. At the STH event Lacob told a crowd of 3,100, “The media’s a challenge,” with a smile-meets-grimace. In the post-event interview, he cited the issue of how “everyone’s media” in this age of social tech connection. To be sure, Lacob deserves credit for being a big presence in the wake of Cohan’s shadow act. But his manner is slightly more guarded since the honeymoon period.
I wonder if Mark Jackson will follow a similar trajectory. Today, he mirrors Lacob’s old inviting, almost guileless energy. It is difficult to imagine that he’ll be so effervescent when questioned about a withering losing streak. I recall watching Matt Steinmetz probe Jackson for any trace of cynicism or self doubt. The new coach seems absent the heavier neuroses, and it will be fascinating to see such a personality deal with the swings of regular season basketball. You know, if we have regular season basketball. In the meantime, I’m asking Jackson about zone defense and church shopping.
ESS: “Since defense is such a focus, how do you feel about zone defense? Are you a proponent?”
Mark Jackson: “I think it does a good job of mixing up and giving a different look. We watched the Dallas Mavericks do that very successfully in the NBA Finals.”
ESS: “Have you moved up here or are you still based in L.A. right now?”
Mark Jackson: “I’m based in L.A. right now with my wife, my kids, and with my church.”
ESS: “Have you chosen a new church up here? Are you going to go church shopping?”
Mark Jackson: “That’s a great question. You do go church shopping. You do go church shopping believe it or not, because every one is not the one for you. Ultimately I will do that when I come in. I look forward to getting into the community and finding a church home here.”
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