We’ve known for a while now that the Golden State Warriors were unlikely to emerge from the offseason with Ben Simmons on their roster, no matter how many rumors get spread, and no matter how much the three-time All-Star and reigning Defensive Player of the Year runner-up campaigns to end up in California.
It’s a tired topic, but it was bound to come up again this week, after ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Simmons will not report to the Philadelphia 76ers upcoming training camp, and has informed the organization that he will not return to action until traded. He’s spent his last day playing basketball for the Sixers.
But while that will sparks some more fleeting discourse around the Warriors — and all other teams linked to Simmons — it certainly seems as though there’s nothing to see here for Dub Nation. And that was highlighted on Tuesday, when Warriors owner Joe Lacob did something rare, and commented on the situation.
Speaking with Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle, Lacob publicly questioned if Simmons would work on the Warriors, and seemed to criticize Simmons’ ability to stay on the court in crunch time. That’s an area of Simmons’ game that came under fire during an awful showing in the final games of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, where the Sixers were upset by the Atlanta Hawks.
“In some ways, it doesn’t really fit what we’re doing. He makes a lot of money. And, can he finish games? I don’t know,” Lacob told the Chronicle. “He’s very talented. The problem is: We have Draymond. Draymond and him are very similar in the sense that neither one really shoots and they do a lot of the playmaking. That’s one issue. The salary structure is another.”
It’s a bit of an odd thing for Lacob to say publicly. There really doesn’t seem to be any benefit to it, except to potentially decrease Simmons’ value. And it’s hard to read that quote and think that Lacob would like Simmons’ value to be depressed.
Lacob was pretty limited in what he could say, as anything complimentary could be viewed as tampering, and come with a hefty fine. Still, a quote about being satisfied with where the team currently is, or even just stopping with his quote from earlier in the article — “We are always looking at everything to see if we can improve our team.” — would seem to suffice.
But it’s also in line with Lacob’s recent habits. In the last year or so, he’s been far more vocal in voicing basketball opinions. Presumably the basketball minds in the front office are still the ones making the decisions, but it’s interesting to see Lacob offering up his opinion publicly more often.