July 6, 2022

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Kawakami: “This is the team we paid for” – Joe Lacobe in the Warriors’ 2-0 lead and first playoff at Chase Center

Kawakami: "This is the team we paid for" - Joe Lacobe in the Warriors' 2-0 lead and first playoff at Chase Center

The match was up a minute on Monday, and Joe Lacob was probably walking out of the field alone, not smiling softly at anyone in particular and losing a bit in the imagination. no footnote. No guys back off.

Only Lacob himself, moving slowly as everything was moving fast around him.

Chase Center was still cheerful and resonant. The the Warriors The players were still passing through the tunnel to their locker room, yelling and laughing in celebration of their solid 126-106 victory over Denver Nuggets To take the lead 2-0 series. Lacobe, usually not so much about keeping to himself, was mostly doing just that.

What he looked like: That’s all Lacobe planned for this new arena to feel during qualifying. Luxurious, loud, highly profitable, and the right home for a championship competitor. He was taking a moment. He was absorbing everything.

Then I asked him what he was thinking.

“This is the team we paid for,” Lacob said. “We haven’t really had the team together all year. So I’m excited to see them play together. We never really got to see him. I think it’s exciting to see him.”

He paused for a moment and added:

“The most important thing that I am really happy about is revealing Jordan Paul. It just plays incredibly well. … he was arguably our best player for a month and a half. It really does arise. He’s a tremendous talent.”

There is a lot going on with warriors these days, and Paul’s leap to the elite level is clearly the most important of them all. But Saturday and Monday were the Warriors’ first-ever playoff games at Chase, and they were a success. Stephen Curry He’s back healthy for this series after missing the last two weeks of the regular season. Draymond Green He made a full comeback after his long absence due to injury. Klay Thompson Really, he’s back.

The lineup of Poole, Curry, Klay, Draymond and Andrew Wiggins The first half closes with lightning: for the second game in a row, that group, I call it Death & Maxes unitNuggets were completely destroyed in the second quarter.

“It all went as we had hoped and planned, I think,” Lacob said. “The plaza was great. The team played great. And I think it was a little louder than that night.”

“The audience feels it when we’re playing really well, feeding on each other at that point,” said Steve Kerr.

The crowds on a Saturday or Monday weren’t as raucous as the classic Oracle Arena thundered, but that would never have happened in a new building, in San Francisco, not Oakland, lined with luxury suites and multi-millionaire fans. He’s still pretty loud, though, during the Warriors’ second-quarter scramble, with Paul, Carey and Clay taking turns roasting the Nuggets defense and Lakop doing some tempo and fist-pumping on their own.

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“I thought the power was good,” said Draymond Green, who also tried to do some acceleration on his own a few times to make sure the power stayed at the peak level. “There have been times when it has felt like an oracle. There have been times when it has been very loud. … as fast as we can, we should all get rid of the idea of ​​an Oracle in our heads. This is a very special place. It is a completely different place.”

“I mean, even a building’s configuration is, like, going to be much louder, you know, and so we all have to get this idea out of our heads that this place is going to be an oracle. It’s a completely different place. With that said, it’s great too, and we need to keep cultivating it as the best.” A stadium on our land in the league.”

I asked him: Did you notice Lacobe in the sidelines?

“It’s hard not to notice Joe on the sidelines,” Green said. “Whether you’re going well or badly, it’s hard not to notice Joe on the sidelines.”

That’s what Lacobe and co-owner Peter Guber wanted for years, of negotiations to build it, and the years they waited and then missed the playoffs in the first two seasons after Chase opened. Now they have two playoffs with many more matches likely to come.

“The building is amazing,” Lacob said. “Everyone who comes here thinks this place is cool. When I’m on the field, that’s what I think, ‘This place is cool.’ We’re very proud of that, obviously.

“And whoever has wondered if our audience will be in the playoffs, you can make your own judgment on that.”

Paul’s amazing play is a big problem, too. He is eligible for a contract extension this summer, although the Warriors have his rights until the end of next season.

Either way, he added in his 29-point and 8-assist performance on Monday to his 30-point tally in Game 1 and it’s hard to see Paul getting much less than his maximum allowable — which could start at $30 million a year. That’s some complication for a team that is already set to pay more than $300 million in payroll and luxury taxes this season.

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Lacope asked: What would happen if re-signing Poole could raise your paycheck above $400 million?

“I’m not worried about that – certainly not now,” Lacob said. “We only have one thing on our mind right now, which is to win, get to the next round and see how far we can go in these qualifiers.

I won’t talk about salary because it’s irrelevant now. We are in this year. After the year is over we are all taking stock of where we are, and we will try to put the best team on the field next year. We’ll see what that is.”

But here’s what could pay for all those top salaries: Chase Center itself, a cash machine unlike NBA Or any other sport you’ve ever watched. If the Warriors keep winning and the building continues to turn in huge profits, there’s some chance that Lacob will be willing and could afford any near-logical payroll figure.

So I asked Lacope about those playoffs, as the Warriors are now scheduled to play games 3 and 4 in Denver starting Thursday. Do you think that this team, now that almost everyone is in good health, can win the championship?

“I’m not going to make any judgments yet,” Lacope said. “Let’s take it a little further and see where we are. Let’s go to Denver and get at least one of them and get this chain behind us and then we’ll see who’s there. I can make a few more statements if we get there, but for now we just want to.” To stay healthy and play the best we can.

“I think one would definitely have to look at what we did in the first two games and say it looks good.”

What were you thinking when the team went through several pins late in the season, including a 1-7 run in March?

“I would say I was a little worried,” Lacob said. “We were struggling Difficult Near the end of the season. But I think once we reset, we had a week off before the playoffs started and got everyone back together on the field for the first time this season…we didn’t see that.

“This is not a baseball game. This is not football. This is not 50 guys or 25 guys. One person can make a huge difference. I added Steve Curry to what we were doing at the end of the year, he’s so good.”

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Finally, I asked Lacob about the Warriors’ somewhat controversial desire to succeed in two timetables this season: building around Curry, Clay, and Draymond for at least one more round with the Old Guard…and also gathering a group of very young and very talented players who could take on in the future. .

Almost impossible, isn’t it?

Now, 22-year-old Paul is the only younger player to play a major role, even though he’s a rookie. Jonathan Kuminga It is still possible to get some rotation time at some point this postseason. Warriors 2-0 so far in the first round.

Is this part of the two timelines project?

“I’ll let you judge that,” Lacob said. “You know where I’m at. You know what my point was from the start with Bob (Myers) and the rest of our group. I don’t see it as something with a timeline two. I see it as what we need to do to be the best team we can be now and in The future. We have to think about both. I really believe in that.

“There are two teams, I won’t say who, there are some other teams that have been in everything with older players. And the older players get hurt. That’s the thing you have to remember. Let’s say we did the trade, and we traded all our guys, because I don’t know, the guy was named, And they’ll be infected all year round. Anytime you’re over 30, 32, 35, these people get infected. It’s data.

“Jordan Paul has a 22-year-old and Kominga, who is obviously incredibly talented, hasn’t played much so far in this series, but I think he’ll have his part…And (James) Wiseman will be back next year, (Moses) Modi…I think we are ready for the future. However we are really good now.”

Then Lacob smiled again and went to the owners’ lounge, where the music was playing and his guests were in a very good mood. There will be more difficult times ahead. Maybe right away. But on this night, after the first Warriors playoff at Chase Center, there was also a little serenity.

(Photo: Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)