1. Was Joe Lacob in the wrong for his recent comments about former HC Mark Jackson?
No, I don’t believe Joe Lacob was in the wrong. He was at a private function, was asked a question and responded to it honestly. To those who follow the team, what he said wasn’t news. It comes off poorly on Lacob to continue to point out the miscues of a former employee when the new regime is doing so well, but to deflect a question in such an environment would’ve have also been in bad taste. The dude has an ego, but he’s also a successful businessman in Silicon Valley. Those two pretty much go hand-in-hand. We hand athletes, coaches and people with power to be honest, but if they’re too honest we criticize. Then we turn around and get mad at that particular figure for not being honest later on. It’s a lose-lose situation for Lacob. Could have have said “no comment” and moved on? Sure, but if you think Lacob will ever say “no comment” to anything you also haven’t been paying attention.
He was in the wrong because it did not serve any positive purpose for the organization. While I can understand why Mr. Lacob did not anticipate that his statements would become so widely heard (even if that is a major mistake in today’s world), criticizing a popular former employee and airing your dirty laundry in public does not help your own image. Despite being a big business the NBA is still an incredibly small world and Mark Jackson happens to be very popular within it.
Even if Lacob’s statements are completely true, they may give certain basketball people pause before engaging with the organization because of the possibility of a messy breakup. I doubt it makes the difference in an important choice but putting any unnecessary reservations in someone’s mind does the Warriors no favors.
The statements carry far more potential for damage because a vast majority of the players still on the team played for Jackson and he had positive relationships with almost all of them. Even a remote possibility that this puts some distance between the team and Stephen Curry makes this a more significant issue. Lacob’s takeaway from LeBron leaving Miami should be that owners can and do make a difference and his goal must be to first do no harm when it comes to the franchise and their star player.
Yes and no. These statements make him (and the organization) look petty and classless, so from that perspective, Lacob is deeply regretting the comments. Jackson is gone, and the Warriors are winning so why even bring it up? But Lacob was speaking at a VC luncheon and didn’t intend for the comments to go public. When you look at his statements in context of a business analogy and management style, it made a lot of sense. Still it’s naive to assume it wouldn’t get noticed. Lacob has to be smarter than that.
2. Warriors on an incredible hot streak, can this controversy distract and affect them?
No, this team is too mentally strong for it to become a distraction. I know Stephen Curry has responded to the Lacob comments in support of both his former and current coach(es), but once the ball is in the air it won’t matter. This team is filled with proven veterans that have seen and done it all, which is why this isn’t a concern to me one bit.
No. These are professionals and the only significance it should carry in their day to day lives comes during those twenty minutes or so on game days when we media folks invade their locker room. The whirlwind surrounding the team last season carried far more potential for distraction and the team handled that very well so I have no concerns.
Probably not. It’s an unfortunate gaffe but largely irrelevant. I’m more concerned how players who maintain a good relationship with Jackson view him. By that I mean, franchise player, Stephen Curry. Curry’s love of Jackson is no secret, and having his owner appear vindictive and petty will be something to monitor in time leading up to his eventual free agency.
3. Will Joe Lacob say something else he’ll regret at any point in the season again?
The odds say Lacob will say something that irks people, but in this day and age whatever you say will be criticized anyway, so it comes with the territory. It might be about a personnel move, transaction or simply about business. I don’t believe Lacob even regrets the Jackson comments, but he might as a result go about his public appearances more cautiously. Just no more speaking at jersey retirement ceremonies at halftime.
*Looks into my Magic 8 Ball*
We have precedent to go on here so while this should be the most regrettable statement he makes, the odds are clearly in favor of another one before the end of the regular season, much less the increased attention and interview time created by a playoff run.
Will Lacob say something controversial? Yes. Will it be something he regrets or harms the team? Unlikely. Lacob’s certainly never been shy about speaking his mind. He’s a brash guy similar to Mark Cuban, and that general personality type leads itself to putting out controversial quotes. And like Cuban, I don’t think he regrets most of comments he makes. He only regrets this one because it makes the Warriors look small and potentially upsets some players. I think he’ll be more careful with regards to quotes like that.