Everyone knew Bob Myers would replace Larry Riley as General Manager of the Golden State Warriors at some point. The timing of the announcement, on the day of the second-to-last game of another playoff-less season, sure is interesting.
“I know it’s going to be looked upon by some of you as some sort of a demotion,” said Joe Lacob during the part of the press conference where he thanked Riley publicly for his services, “That is not the case.”
Well, it sure seemed like a demotion. Riley was gracious when speaking and predictably said all the right things, but he looked a little uncomfortable at times and downright sad at others. “When you get into our business, your days are numbered so to speak for certain jobs,” Riley said.
Here’s video of Lacob thanking Riley and Riley’s thoughts on receiving a new job title, Director of Scouting:
It’s difficult to blame Riley for feeling a little melancholy — he gets to keep a pretty good job with a professional basketball team, but his days as the lead decision-maker are over.
Not that he was ever the point man, if you consider he worked with his buddy Don Nelson (who called all the shots until he mentally checked out), then Lacob took over and presided over a front office team including Riley, Myers and Jerry West. Riley seemed like the glorified spokesman, a guy who scouted players and had input on decisions, but didn’t have the final say on much besides perhaps NBDL callups.
Perception was certainly a factor in the Warriors’ decision to make Myers the official GM. Lacob talked about Myers’ promotion making it clearer to other GMs who the head guy was in Warriorland. Still, why today? Why not after the season?
Lacob said the reason why was that after some reflection over the past couple weeks and conversations with others in the ownership group, Myers was deemed ready to take over his new responsibilities and title. In fact, Lacob didn’t even consider any other candidates for the position. However, the Warriors’ season isn’t just ending quietly, it’s coming to a painful, embarrassing conclusion marred by fans and media alike dismissively using the t-word (tank) on a daily basis (currently the Warriors have the 8th-worst record in the NBA, which barring a very un-Warriors-like stretch of luck would mean they’ll surrender their first round pick to the Utah Jazz). Facing the cellar-sharing Hornets on the last week of the season barely registered as a story worth covering for most major news outlets.
Also, signs around Oracle Arena state that season ticketholders have a deadline of April 26 (the last day of the season) to renew their tickets at the same price they paid last year. The move to a 37-year-old GM who handles himself extremely well with the media isn’t a surprise to anyone, but perhaps the timing was such that a beleaguered group of fans might experience a little excitement and optimism as the Warriors stumble to the finish line.