The Golden State Warriors launched an improbable pursuit of LeBron James ahead of the trade deadline, which teams sources tell ESPN's Baxter Holmes represents the desire from Joe Lacob to keep the franchise as a contender.
"I'm not going to comment on something I can't comment on, but, in general, I just want to win," Lacob said. "We just want to win. We want to be the best, and we're going to try whatever tactic it takes to get there. I am not here to screw around. We are not here to screw around. We are not here to be just 'some team.' We're not going to do that. We may fail. Everyone fails. We may fail occasionally, but it will not be for lack of trying."
As the Warriors had a gap year in 19-20, they accumulated three lottery picks and a source says they had a "swing for the fences" approach in selecting high-ceiling players. The Warriors picked James Wiseman in 2020, and then Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody in 2021. This became Lacob's "two-timeline" approach.
"We could have drafted more ready players that maybe had a lower ceiling," Lacob tells ESPN. "We thought we had more time with our Big Three. How much more? We didn't know. And at what level? We weren't quite sure.
"Now, melding them in with the Big Three, that's where I think it got complicated."
Lacob had wanted the Warriors to follow the blueprint set by the San Antonio Spurs when they connected the Tim Duncan era with Kawhi Leonard.
"I think there was always a delusion in that building that they were the next Spurs," said one source close to the Warriors organization.
"I think [ownership] made a decision about four years ago that they were going to try and have it all, and it backfired," a former Warriors staffer said. "They probably should have focused on players that just fit with Steph versus trying for the home run swings."
Lacob believes the Warriors have an "ace in the hole" that will keep them immune from ever enduring an extended rebuild.
"It's the reason that I don't think we will ever, ever try to bottom out."
"We are the Golden State Warriors," Lacob said, referencing their status as a free agent destination. "I believe in the culture. I believe that word gets out. I could go on and on. I'm not trying to brag. I'm just saying, that's who we are.
"We're never going to bottom out. I won't settle for that. We're not doing that."