Why Kirk Lacob was a good hire
Punctuality was the key to Joe Lacob's genius with the installation of his son, as his first official move in the front office. What larger stamp could he apply to his new franchise, other than that of his own son? His own name. The fact that it was done while the ink was still fresh on Joe's signature, creates the appearance of something that has been planned, prepared and intended. "Well, Kirk has no experience holding such a title, how could he possibly be prepared?"
There are 3 possible periods that Joe could have officially introduced his son to the franchise - Beginning, middle, and end.
Beginning - This was the correct time to make the introduction, and begin the education. Just as some fans suspected, Kirk is to have limited power, an extremely short leash, and total access to the central mechanism of the franchise. He will be on trains, airplanes, and taxis to catch games on the east side of the Danube, or the lower side of Manhattan. He will discuss philosophy with the gurus and master scouts who were hot on Isaiah's trail, before he joined Lambier and the rest of those bad boys. He will hear stories of the double crossings, the smiles and the backhands of the Cohan era. The freshness of it's residue will overwhelm him with such an unbearable stench, that he will forever be provided with the emphatic instruction of WHAT NOT TO DO.
He will sit and listen upon every word, crookedly smiling like a little drunken fool who took a sip while daddy wasn't looking, as Riley spills over some old stiff on the phone and gets an appointment with a GM he's been in "discussion" with for 8 months now, for serious trade talks regarding a piece of player who will "solidify our bench for a couple of years".... Wily Riley puts his hand over the mouthpiece, looks Junior straight in the eye and say's, "I meant championships, son. I'm bringing back a champion." He will learn from the ground, all the way up to the cloud covered peak of every heavenly pinnacle, exactly what an NBA franchise is, and how it operates. And when the time comes for intimate discussions to pass regarding whether or not a player's earned a contract extension, Lacob can respond to the query, "What is he doing here?" with, "He's Director of Basketball Operations", instead of "Well....he's my son."
In the beginning, there was light. Let Kirk Lacob learn. Enlighten him. Leave no stone unturned, and perhaps within 25 or some odd years, the boy will become an owl, and a rock to our franchise - a foundation. So when the parade comes, and the keys are turned in by old, gray Joe, we will know his face. We will trust it. How bittersweet is change, when there is no change? I hope they win.
Middle - Let's say Lacob agrees with this notion and hires the best man available as Director of Basketball Operations, instead of Kirk. Let's take it a step further and say the Warriors find themselves deep in the 2nd round with 53 wins, along with some personal accolades, sell out crowds, etc.. The team is now successful. How then, would it look if Joe Lacob were to eventually fire this experienced, qualified, director on behalf of his son, despite his supposed success? Or shall we make up and assign titles as we go along?
How could Joe experience success, and then justifiably fire anybody who has earned a good name as part of that winning program? So that's what you do, Joe? You hire people to help you out, and then when they deliver, you toss em to the dogs and give their lunch to sonny? Is that how you treat people, Joe?
How about make the hire immediately, so that when you do experience success, it is immediately attributed to your group as a whole? We can not be worse than what we were. If this positive change is an inevitability, then the attribution of this positivity is thereby an inevitability as well, granting recognition to the entire organization. Even if Kirk never utters a whisper, his reputation as a "successful front office executive" would blossom around the league, with his name spelled heavy under the grand title. Did the Lakers' equipment manager earn hardware as well this year?
End - When Joe decides to hang the gloves, he releases this statement during his heralded departure, "And I leave the team to a man who I knew and loved as a boy, and who all of you know as a guy who has been part of this winning program since day one. (As he points to the 2014-2015 championship banner next to Rick's '75) We've been through the ups and we've been through the downs, but we came out on top... and I leave you today in very good hands with your new team owner, and my son, Kirk Lacob." Dad embraces the boy.
Mr. Lacob planned well to avoid this reaction: "Who the hell is Kirk Lacob?! Sell the team please, instead of letting some silver spoon take over who doesn't even care about basketball." What a tarnish that would be. The initial reaction many fans had to Kirk's hiring would be both amplified and justified x 1,000,000 if Kirk came out of left field, unannounced, as the fan base scratched their heads and said, "Well damn...I didn't even know Joe had a son."
There is a responsibility that comes with inheriting a legacy. Who saw Pulp Fiction? Remember when Butch smashes the motel room because his girlfriend forget his father's gold watch? That watch is all he cared about, and why? It came from a respected legacy of warriors. I am proud that our owner is determined on making his son actually part of the team, rather than leaving him up to his own lifestyle, keeping him as an outsider, out of the limelight (since it's so cruel for celebs to do to their children, unggh!!) and then pushing the inheritance over to him, with no credibility to his name. This should not only push Kirk to possibly some day being a great owner, but to hold true to this legacy, and like most sons, thrive to best it.
How Riley Keeps His Job
Riley reports to Lacob. Lacob makes the final decision. Many of us have discussed exactly what Riley's real value as a GM is, if Lacob is in fact calling the shots. It's a fair question. Sure, Lacob needs someone to work the phones, do the homeword, cross the T's and dot the I's, but how can a GM ever be a good or bad GM, if he has no final say in the decisions? Is the quality of Lacob's GM based on the man's ability to put together a sentence? Does the gift of gab and prowess of a true salesman match the criteria to be a Lacob underling? I'm not so sure.
A GM needs ideas. A GM needs vision. Larry has proven to have both. But these talents alone will not keep Riley protected, and unlike the Cohan days, he now has one more party to convince other than the GM on the other side of the telephone...and his name ain't Bobby Rowell. Joe undoubtedly lives and breathes the game. Every move, every gesture Riley makes, is under the judging and knowledgeable eye of the owner.
This is what Larry needs to do to not get fired. 1) He needs to discover a plan that will significantly improve what we already have. 2) He needs to make head way in communications to complete such a deal. 3) The Key: He needs Lacob to disagree with his plan. 4) He needs to have a 45 minute discussion with Lacob, and during this stretch of an hour, he needs to spit straight magic. He needs to sell the greatest piece of lyrical b-ball knowledge his 30 + years of experience can muster, and leave Lacob saying to himself, "Wow. Okay, I still need time to think about this, but it's looking good." 5) He needs to be right. He needs Lacob to disagree, to sell him, to make the deal, and then to win because of the deal.
Why is it important for Lacob to disagree? That's dumb. Why can't Lacob just agree in the first place, and then be impressed that they're on the same page?
Because his goal should be to separate his knowledge and his vision of the game from Lacob's abilities. He needs to prove that he is needed most dearly. Since Lacob is already "calling the shots", if Lacob merely agreed and could prematurely envision every move Riley makes, how does that make Larry Riley special? Why won't Lacob say, "Yeah, I thought of that one already, go ahead." Or, "Yes, Larry, I know that wouldn't be a good idea. We've discussed this before."
If he can bring Joe Lacob out of his comfort zone, and allow him to get a glimpse between the cracks at an even grander picture that Lacob wasn't capable of seeing, than that would be very, very impressive. No doubt in my mind, Riley keeps his job for awhile if he's got the moxie and intelligence to execute such a scenario. I think he does. If it happens, and Riley remains GM as the team experiences great success, Joe will enjoy reading articles about his "Magic Eye", and how he's kept around the "right people" and has given talent a "chance to grow." All things owners just love to read about themselves.
Bobby Rowell, The Immortal
Much to the chagrin of Warrior fans, we are actually hearing what we thought to be the impossible. Robert Rowell may not get fired? Are you joking with me? What is the meaning of this? How is this possible? Despair.
Most of us want Rowell gone, plain and simple. From my gut feeling from what I've learned about Lacob, is that Rowell will either depart immediately and permanently, or he will be hired for an extended period of time.
Lacob is a very smart business man. He realizes that indecision suggests instability, instability suggests incompetence, and incompetence suggests distrust. The action will not remain in limbo for long. If Lacob fires Rowell now, the decision will be a great PR move. Even if Rowell did well for the organization financially, Lacob makes a winning statement by being "the people's champ", giving the fans what they want. That card is available if he indeed goes that route (which I hope he does) and if inquiring minds from Rowell's camp strike up enough nerve to demand an explanation.
If Riley does not punish Rowell with banishment, then he must reward him! If not, his decision would appear to lack the conviction that such a huge decision would entail, thus taking the more comfortable route of "let's wait and see if he continues to produce." Suggesting any uncertainty or lack of expertise, could leave any past or future actions subject to questioning. It is important to get it right the first time, and paint the illusion that you're 100% certain of your decisions. This is especially important during the early stage of laying out the foundation of a successful team. Leaders take pride in short evaluation processes... Let's hope this one goes our way.