OAKLAND — Warriors GM Bob Myers did his best today to slalom away from the heated reports of the team closing in/not-closing-in/talking with Minnesota about a deal for Kevin Love, but he still had to address the topic in general terms.
It was his annual pre-draft media session (the draft is Thursday), but the Warriors have no picks at this point, and there are all these trade rumors, so there was no way to avoid the questions.
Are the Warriors on the verge of a big deal? No, Myers said, but he said things could change quickly.
What about trading Klay Thompson? The team values him very highly and wants to keep him, Myers said, and that's all he wanted to say.
Thoughts about Klay's father, Mychal, saying that he hears Klay is about to be moved in a Love deal? Not much for Myers to say about that one.
Not much to conclude from these 20 minutes other than what we already knew: The Warriors are having lots of discussions, they have players other teams want, but the Warriors absolutely want to avoid bidding against themselves in a hot trade market.
They'd like Love — who wouldn't? — but until the final price tag and moment of truth arrives (that's up to Minnesota, not the Warriors), the Warriors have to play it coy. Which continued through this session, not surprisingly.
Here's what Myers said, almost every word...
--BOB MYERS gaggle transcript/
-MYERS intro: Before we start, I know you guys have your jobs to do, but I'm not going to comment on trade rumors. Just let you know you can ask, but appreciate my position. But I know you have to ask...
-Q: Without any picks right now, how likely do you think it is that you'll end up with a pick or two by Thursday?
-MYERS: You know what? About a week before last year's draft, I said it was unlikely and we ended up with one. I think it's going to be harder this year because we don't have a second-round pick and we don't have the $3.2M to spend on a pick.
It's possible. I think unlikely is how I'd gauge it. But everything's pretty fluid so I never want to rule it out. I think it will be difficult to get one this year.
-Q: You have zero to spend?
-MYERS: We don't have any to spend, not until July 1st. And unfortunately the draft's before July 1st, so we don't have a ton of tools to obtain a pick.
-Q: There was a report that you guys were looking at McDermott and Stauskas. Is that just due diligence, or is there some hope you can get that kind of pick?
-MYERS: When I was an agent, it's hard to get your players to the teams that have picks. It's hard to even cover the range of picks you might be in. So for us, a team without any picks, the only option for us to go see players is to go see them, wherever they are.
So we spent a good portion of May seeing a variety of players. But we did end up seeing most of the guys that are in the top 20. We actually sent a scout to the workout you might've been referring to.
That's the only way for us to see guys. And you never know on draft night, what may or may not occur.
But what you can't do is sit there and get presented with whatever pick it is and say, well, I haven't seen that guy so I can't make a decision. You have to make a decision, and that means you have to cover your bases the best you can.
-Q: Jerry West has said you don't need another draft pick and you might need more veterans. Is that about where it stands for you guys?
-MYERS: Like anything there's a cost-benefit. Like to have a pick, that's for sure. It's a nice thing and would like to continue to stock the cupboard.
But we're pretty young. I think the year we had four picks was good. We have players that we'd like to see get more time, to be honest, young players like Kuzmic and Nedovic, that we want to see if they're able to impact our team.
So if you draft again, it pushes somebody else down. I think you'd always want a pick, certainly, but there are years where you maybe are more in need of a pick. I don't think we're necessarily in need of a pick, but that being said, I'd like to have one.
-Q: Not trying to make you address a specific trade rumor, but how much does this team value Klay Thompson? What is his value to the team?
-MYERS: To the team? It's extremely high. And well-deserved. I think his value to the entire league is very high. I think his value amongst his peers...
I ran into J.J. Redick after our series with them, and when you play against somebody in a playoff series, you really get an appreciation for him. We saw each other seven times.
And he walked over to me and he said, you know, Klay's a pretty good player. So that... I think respect from your peers is almost the most important thing as a player. He certainly has it.
We think he's been great. And the best thing about him that we've seen is improvement. I think everybody that watched him last year saw him, especially near the end of the season, really take a turn as far as getting to the basket and expanding his game.
So he's highly valued within the organization and within the team.
-Q: Is Klay the guy most teams are calling you about?
-MYERS: Again, I'm not going to talk about who calls for what. But I will tell you there's a lot of players on our roster that have value, which is good. That's what you want to have. You don't want to have a team where nobody's calling you, because that means what you have on your roster is not necessarily coveted by the league.
We have a roster, especially the youth of the roster, is appealing to any team in the NBA. You want to have young, good players and we have a few. And that's something that we don't take for granted.
That's why approaching the draft, it's important to get it right. And I think with Klay, we did a nice job as a staff of selecting him at 11 and like I said there's a lot of guys on our roster that people think are good players and can help any team.
-Q: Given Thompson's role with your guys — defending tough point guards and shooting guards, shooting the three—how tough would he be to replace?
-MYERS: I don't know. You look around the league and that skill-set... I know baseball they call somebody a five-tool guy. There's not much that Klay doesn't do.
And the nice thing about him, I think he hasn't reached his ceiling. I think he's got a high ceiling and that he can only get better. That's the type of player anybody wants on their team.
It's also the complementary piece, when you're trying to orchestrate a roster and put one together, it's not all about individual talent, sometimes it's about how do the pieces fit together. That's another advantage to a player like him fitting with our point guard, Curry, as well.
-Q: Have you had any discussions about an extension with Thompson?
-MYERS: Haven't, no. And that's not unusual. Even when I represented guys that were at the level of some of our players going into what their extension year would be, a lot of these things go right down to the wire. I think even Curry's extension was down, I don't know, we could look it up, maybe October 28th, 29th...
I think Bogut's was done—a veteran extension — but done some time in October. It's a very deadline-driven league in regards to anything. You do see some extensions in July with some of the super-max kind of guys, but we'll see. Look forward to talking to his agent; he's right down the road. We'll be able to do it in person. It should be fun.
-Q: Do you think this team has to make a move to take the big step up or do you think it can be done organically, just watching your younger players improve?
-MYERS: That's the challenge. That's the question we ask ourselves every day. When you evaluate our roster, everybody's got an opinion. I think the best way to build an organization is through organic growth and continuity.
I have a strong belief, as does our organization and ownership, that the more familiar you are with each other as teammates, the more chance you have to become—the sum of the parts is better than each individual.
We believe in that. And that would lead you to think that grow organically is the best way to do it. But that doesn't preclude the organization, myself, from exploring anything. You have to. It's your job.
But the daily work that we do each day is trying to answer that specific question: How do you improve the team in all areas? How do you find the best assistant coaching staff? How do you find better talent anywhere? It's a constant evolution.
-Q: This league is usually star-driven. When you watch what the Spurs did, does the idea change a little, doing it where everybody almost seems like a role player?
-MYERS: Look, they did it, so I'd like to think the way they play basketball should be a model for any level of basketball. It's just... it's harder to guard a team that's moving the ball that much.
You play against a team where a team is going one-on-one or doing a lot of isolation, it's much easier to defend. You play against a team that stresses ball movement and you find yourself in positions where you're at a disadvantage, where you're on your heels...
So I think it's a model for the entire league. That doesn't mean it's easy and you snap your fingers. I think that takes years of practice, years of accountability, years of working on the details. But they have a coach that's been able to do that for them and players that are smart.
They have very smart players on their team and I think sometimes intelligence on the basketball court gets under-valued. And if you look at a team like that, very, very high IQ team. Obviously we all saw what they were able to do.
-Q: Steve Kerr, who has some Spurs background, said at his intro that he'd like a stretch 4 added to this team. How much of that has been on your minds in this period?
-MYERS: Well, it's important with any organization to sit with your coach and ask your coach what they think the roster might need. And Steve might even dial that back. I think he feels stepped too far by saying that and not saying anything else.
But I think the way the league's going, having that asset on the team, any type of stretch 4, is advantageous.
It just is a question of, we may have that guy in Draymond Green. He's shown in the playoffs, especially how he finished the season, that he's able to be a stretch-type of 4. And if he can get his three-point shooting up, which is what he's working on, could he fill that bill?
But I think shooting is... what you referenced about what San Antonio does. And that's what I think Steve's emphasis really is. Yesterday we were talking and you look at a roster like the Spurs and they have 7 or 8 players that can shoot the three.
The way the league is going, shooting is extremely important. We feel like we have shooting, but I feel like you can never have enough shooting.
So as we approach free agency, as we look at things, you're always looking to add it. It's not easy. It's easy to say we need shooting, but it's harder to find, actually.
-Q: You had your preamble, but Kevin Love is the name that's out there. Are you guys involved in talks with Minnesota right now?
-MYERS: I'm not going to... I know in the business of the media you have the responsibility to ask those questions and things get reported. But I can't respond to specific question about any trades, because if I do that, I have to do it every time.
-Q: What are the chances of you guys making a big trade from now until draft night, let's say?
-MYERS: I'll tell you this, I think probably right now unlikely. Best I can do for you. But I will say this, if you asked me last year at this time would we be in a situation to grab an Iguodala, I would've said the same thing.
I know it may be hard to believe, but I could get up from this little caucus and five minutes later my phone rings and it's a deal that I hadn't thought of, nobody had thought of, and all of a sudden you're going down that path.
But right now, I think it's unlikely. Right now, today.
-Q: What do you think when you see all the speculation about you guys involved in big trade talks?
-MYERS: I think things are reported and immediately reported based on that initial report. So sometimes things just pick up speed.
It's nice to be relevant, I suppose. It's nice to have people talk about you in some sense.
But to be honest, I prefer things not to be out there that may not be actually accurate. You hope for that. But I understand... everybody has to do their job and everybody's got different sources...
-Q: One person who put it out there was Mychal Thompson. Have you had a conversation with Mychal or with Klay to say hey, we've got to walk away from that point or tell them that it's not true?
-MYERS: If a situation reaches a level where somebody's concerned, they know my phone number. And I'll always talk to a player, his agent, his father. But again, you get down a slippery slope of every time something's reported doing that.
I don't make an active effort. Everybody's probably got a different belief in how to do that.
-Q: Have you talked to Klay recently?
-MYERS: I have not, no. But I don't talk to Klay, anyway. (Laughs.) He's hard to pin down, anyway. Everybody probably does it differently.
-Q: We know how well all these guys got along last year. Then the coaching thing shook them up. How much does the chemistry among these guys play a part in these decisions?
-MYERS: To the first part of your question, chemistry is so fragile and so important on any team. And I think we have great chemistry, we have a great locker room, we're aware of that. We don't want to disrupt that.
We think that this is a team that gets along, that respects each other, that cares about winning more than their own statistics. So we value that and it's a credit to them, really. It's a credit to their character.
You have to in any position of leadership or decision-making within an organization look at chemistry. Sometimes chemistry is hard to peg, but when you have it, you really don't want to kind of mess around with it.
-Q: When you say unlikely, are you saying that any kind of big deal is tough to do?
-MYERS: I say unlikely because most of the things you talk about don't happen. And there's no blame to be placed. It's just hard. I mean, it's hard to make deals in the NBA because it's very competitive and it has to work for both sides.
It's not always what one side wants.... But then also, when I said 10 minutes ago, unlikely in general, unlikely specifically, but today's Friday and it doesn't sound like there's a lot of time between now and the draft, but trust me, Monday morning when you wake up there's five things that will be proposed that I have no idea about right now.
That's what makes the job fun, it's what makes it hard, because you don't have a lot of lead time sometimes to make decisions.
-Q: Is it fun when you say it's unlikely and then the father of one of your players believes it's so likely that he envisions his son on another team?
-MYERS: Again, I think being in the NBA in general should be a lot of fun. Whatever you are, a player, a GM, a coach, enjoy it. Media's definitely a part of it, so you've got to work within those confines.
It's part of the nature of it.
-Q: Alvin Gentry hasn't been announced as your new assistant, but it's been reported. Is he joining your team? And how important is that?
-MYERS: Not officially but I think it's moving in that direction. We believe it will happen. When I say that, that means it hasn't been pen to paper at this point. But all indications are that it will happen, barring something unforeseen.
We're excited about it, should it happen. It was important to the organization and Steve as well; he wanted to have someone with head-coaching experience, for a variety of reasons.
I think in any business unless you've sat in the chair, whether it's a GM or a coach or anybody, unless you've been a head coach, you don't know what it's like to be a head coach. So to have somebody next to you that has sat in that chair I think will be invaluable across the board, in many ways.
-Q: How far down the road is Kerr in filling out the rest of the staff?
-MYERS: I think now that the first shoe we believe has dropped, I think it'll go a little quicker. I think some of the candidates obviously that he was targeting were in line for a head-coaching position. And now that I believe the only head-coaching position left is the Lakers I think... So the process I think will get expedited, now that I think Alvin is on board.
-Q: Was Gentry under contract with the Clippers?
-MYERS: Yep. Had to ask for permission,.
-Q: The report is that you've...
-MYERS: Paid him? (Smiles and laughs.) He's well-compensated.
-Q: I presume that wasn't a problem for you guys.
-MYERS: We spend roughly $60M to $75M on our players. So logic would say that the people that are instructing them on a day-to-day basis don't make that much, but are important.
The people that touch the players every day, whether it's your head coach or assistant coach... if you want the ones you think are going to help move the needle, you have to pay for it and think it's important.
Especially in relation to what you pay your roster.