Three questions Warriors will face if Bob Myers leaves as general manager

Three questions Warriors will face if Myers ends GM tenure originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

SAN FRANCISCO — Bob Myers always has felt one step ahead.

He wasn’t even going to play basketball at UCLA. First, he went the walk-on route and proved his worth quicker than imagined. Myers played 16 minutes as a freshman, yet he earned a scholarship after that initial season as a Bruin.

The next season, his first on scholarship, UCLA won it all. On the cover of Sports Illustrated, there Myers was, hoisting Tyus Edney in the air. That same season, Myers played a total of 32 minutes and averaged 0.3 points per game, though he still was at the center of the celebration as a revered part of the team.

Myers in his life as a sports agent went from an intern to vice president in a three-year span.

Life as a general manager was supposed to be gradual growth. Instead, it was a rapid rise. Joe Lacob had seen enough, he knew what he had in front of him. Myers was hired as an assistant general manager in April of 2011, and one year later wore the crown as the Warriors’ general manager.

First impressions are everything to some, and in Myers’ first draft as lead GM, with the No. 35 pick in the 2012 draft, he selected Draymond Green out of Michigan State.

Now while Lacob might need Myers’ voice and expertise as much as ever, his future with the Warriors can come to a close in a little over a month. Myers’ contract ends June 30, and he is slated to talk with Bay Area media members later this week. These are the three questions that will require all-important answers if Myers decides to close the book on his time with the Warriors.

Will Myers Join Another Team?

This situation always has been the most far-fetched, even if it’s the Warriors’ biggest worry. Myers is from the Bay Area, growing up in Danville and attending Monte Vista High School. The 48-year-old has roots in the area, and he loves living here.

As does his wife, Kristen.

The oldest of their three daughters is now 12 years old, and though Myers has kept his private life mostly private, behind closed he’s known as a family man who, like most with hectic schedules, would like to be around his kids more as they grow.

“I really like being available to my three daughters in the morning because the evenings sometimes get consumed with games,” Myers said to GQ Magazine in December of 2022, giving us an idea of where his mindset might be with his Warriors future.

Myers has been in the Warriors’ front office for 12 years, has been their lead general manager for 11 and spent 14 years as a sports agent before taking a leap into a new career. Sometimes change is needed. Sometimes a rest, or reset, is more important.

There is one team to keep an eye on if Myers decides to continue being a GM, but for a different franchise. The Los Angeles Clippers could pose the biggest threat to the Warriors. Clippers GM Michael Winger has interviewed to be the Washington Wizards‘ head of basketball operations, Myers has the ultimate respect for Jerry West and never wanted to see West’s time with the Warriors come to an end, the Clippers have an owner in Steve Ballmer who’s willing to take big swings and the franchise is soon stepping into a new arena.

But Myers’ ties to the Bay Area, along with his personal relationships to people like Steve Kerr, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Green might be too much for him to wrestle.

Does He Not Believe in the Big Three?

That brings us to the Big Three of Curry, Thompson and Green. Myers from Day 1 has been more than a GM to the three of them, for the same reasons that made him such a successful agent and beloved member of the UCLA men’s basketball national championship team as a player: His human tough.

People trust him. He’s in a position where that often isn’t shared between players and GMs, or coaches and GMs. Some might walk into the building, shake hands, smile and show off their trophies. That isn’t Myers’ style, which has given him praise inside and outside of Chase Center.

When Klay Thompson sustained a torn ACL in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals, Myers led the way down the Oracle Arena hallway to the Warriors’ locker room. As Thompson came back to the floor to shoot free throws and do his best running impression on the other side of the court, Myers was right behind him, hearing the echoes of Dub Nation.

He was teary-eyed announcing Kevin Durant‘s torn Achilles, sat next to Andrew Wiggins at the press conference room podium this season when Wiggins returned from a two-month absence for a family matter, has stuck with Green through all his complexities, awarded Thompson with a max contract right after his torn ACL and makes it clear the Warriors’ dynastic success doesn’t happen without Curry whenever afforded the chance.

Curry, Green and Curry all happily have stated on the record how much they admire Myers, and how much he means to the Warriors. The perfect example came on March 28 when Myers walked down to the Warriors’ bench to consult a fuming Green in what wound up being an 11-point Warriors win against the New Orleans Pelicans.

“Y’all don’t always get to see Bob’s work, other than putting the team together,” Green said after the game. “But he’s so important to everything that we do. I can’t imagine — and I know, I watch this league. GMs don’t keep a pulse on the team like Bob keeps a pulse of this team. Maybe two other GMs in the league right there would come down to the bench and say something. And that’s also someone who I have the utmost respect for.

“If Bob comes and tells me something, that’s Bible to me. I’m going to listen to that. But that’s a relationship that has been built over the last 11 years, and that is a relationship that will continue to grow over the next 40 years. For him to come down in that moment and say something to me, you gotta honor that and it was huge.”

In the chance that Myers does leave, what does that say about the future of an all-time great trio? They lost a playoff series to a Western Conference opponent for the first under Kerr in their defeat to the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference semifinals. Green was up and down in the series, Thompson’s shot fell short while his legs couldn’t reach a needed gear, and Curry, though he proved yet again he still is one of basketball’s elite, struggled from deep the last few games without the necessary help even he needs.

Green has a player option this summer and his future as a Warrior is in question. Thompson is owed more than $43 million next season before becoming an unrestricted free agent. The Big Three’s future is murkier than ever.

Does Myers believe moves involving the two not named Curry need to happen to extend a dynasty? Is that reality too hard for him to be so close to? If he leaves, both questions deserve deeper thought, and hopefully answers.

Who Replaces a Legend?

Like Myers once was, Mike Dunleavy Jr. has been on the fast track to being a future GM.

The Warriors hired him as a pro scout before the 2018-19 season. He then was promoted to assistant GM going into the 2019-20 season. Dunleavy after two seasons had another bump in his title, moving to vice president of basketball operations ahead of the 2021-22 championship season.

Golden State has squashed the two-timelines plan and all signs point to them shifting to a more veteran team to build around Curry’s remaining peak. Curry, as well as Thompson, Green and Kerr still being Warriors likely means continuity as far as the leadership ladder goes. Kerr repeatedly has stated how much he believes in roster cohesiveness, and it’s hard to see he, Curry and others pushing for an outside voice.

RELATED: Early exit lets Kerr, Warriors have rare self-reflection

Lacob’s oldest son, Kirk, has been in the front office for over a decade and now serves as the Warriors’ executive vice president of basketball operations. Kent Lacob, the younger brother, has been lauded for his work in the G League and Golden State’s growing player development system. Either being promoted to GM also would have antennas raised for clear reasons.

There always can be an unknown, a wild card, and Lacob might see a young Western Conference that features enough teams on the rise for a shift in thinking from an outside voice.

“The continuity that exists between Bob and the older players means that he can have those difficult conversations, and sometimes even during games, which is pretty rare, but something that has been a huge help for me,” Kerr said about Myers after the season. “Bob and I have a great friendship, a great working relationship and I absolutely hope he comes back, but it’s also a case where I want what’s best for Bob, and if he decides that he’s going to leave, of course I’m going to support him 100 percent, and we will remain friends for a long time.

“I would miss him, but I support him regardless of what he does.”

Whether it’s this year, or years down the road, someone will have big shoes to fill when Myers no longer is the Warriors’ GM. For so long, it felt like those shoes were sealed away in a box to never be opened. Now, they might be on the front steps, waiting for the next person to lace them up.

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