By ANTONIO GONZALEZ, Associated Press
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Bob Myers showed up for his first game as the new general manager of the Golden State Warriors wearing the same yellow tie with diagonal blue stripes that owner Joe Lacob also had knotted around his neck.
The unplanned fashion gaffe left both a bit a red-faced, at least at first. The Stefano Ricci tie was a gift by the owner purchased months earlier by his fiancee, Nicole Curran, who apparently bought one for each.
"See," Myers joked, "we're already on the same page."
Golden State's new management team certainly looks the part.
Whether they produce enough wins is still to be determined.
The Warriors officially promoted Myers to general manager Tuesday night, speeding up the plan laid out by Lacob when he hired the former sports agent as assistant GM last summer. Former general manager Larry Riley will remain with the organization as director of scouting, and Myers will assume all responsibilities for making out the roster.
Lacob hinted that he originally planned to wait another season but felt no reason to put off the move any longer.
"I'd say the one thing that we probably learned is, when you call the Warriors, it's a little confusing," Lacob said. "A lot of voices, and I think some people pointed that out. So I think this cleans up the lines of authority, the lines of communications, a little bit. He has proved he's very capable of doing that job."
Golden State's management is not all the different than the one already in place.
Myers joined the Warriors last April as part of the new owner's reconstructed front office. Riley, who spent the past four seasons in the front office after working as an assistant coach to NBA career wins leader Don Nelson, was one of the few remaining members of Lacob's gutted Golden State management.
All involved had always worked under the premise that Myers would move up to the top spot.
The 37-year-old Myers was a sports agent for 14 years, played at UCLA and hails from Danville, just down the street from Oracle Arena in Oakland. He choked up a bit talking about his working for his hometown team, recognizing the opportunity he was just handed, but also acknowledging that he will ultimately be judged by wins and nothing more.
"My love for the NBA started with this team," Myers said. "It's more than just a job."
If for no other reason than change for the sake of change, a new front-office face for a team with one playoff appearance since 1994 will likely bring joy to most fans in the basketball-booming Bay Area.
Myers has been assisting and learning from Riley — who Lacob lauded and labeled a "loyal soldier" — in basketball operations, such as contract negotiations, roster decisions and scouting. Together, the two started to show signs of breaking the trend of Golden State gaffes.
Myers played a part in the trade that netted 2005 No. 1 overall pick Andrew Bogut — expected to be the franchise center starting next season when he's healthy — from Milwaukee in exchange for leading scorer Monta Ellis among others, and in drafting standout rookie shooting guard Klay Thompson to be Ellis' replacement previously.
Myers believes, if healthy, next year's team — expected to be led by Bogut, Stephen Curry, David Lee and Thompson — will make major strides in the Western Conference, and he does believe Curry's troublesome right ankle will be fine and Bogut's fractured left ankle will be healed.
He stopped short of making any playoff promises, or any promises really, other than what he's after on the roster — more size and more veterans.
"I think at the end of the day, that just shows he watches the games," Warriors coach Mark Jackson said, poking fun at his team that had lost eight of nine entering Tuesday night's game against New Orleans. "It's really a selling point to have a cool GM."
The light-hearted comments from Jackson weren't necessary to keep his job.
Myers and Lacob have been pleased with Jackson this season, and the expectation has always been that the rookie coach will be back for a second season. The relationship between Myers and Jackson goes back decades to when Jackson was represented by Arn Tellum, Myers' boss at the Wasserman Media Group.
"He's a home run as far as executives are concerned," Jackson said. "There's no part of me shaking that they just gave the reigns to somebody I can't get along with."
Myers said he doesn't plan on bringing in any new members to his staff.
Executive board member Jerry West, assistant general manager Travis Schlenk and director of basketball operations Kirk Lacob, the owner's son, will assist him along with Riley — who's exact capacity in scouting is still to be determined. Ultimately, though, Myers and Lacob said it's up to the new general manager to make the final recommendation to the owner.
"Like any team, somebody's going to shoot, somebody's going to rebound, somebody's going to set screens," Myers said. "And it doesn't work if everybody is going to shoot the ball, and it doesn't work if nobody is going to shoot the ball. I think we have in place now a team."
Your shot, Myers.
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