Joe Lacob And Peter Guber: Meet the New Boss, Not the Old One

Ashwath KrishnaContributor IJuly 16, 2010

I've been without my computer for the past day, so only when I logged in this evening did I hear the glorious news.

After 15 years of misery under the yoke of Chris Cohan, the Golden State Warriors had finally been sold...wait...Larry Ellison isn't the buyer? 


Like almost every other Warriors fan, I had been under the impression that we would be entering the Ellison Era. While this possibility didn't excite me as much as everyone else—I admit to having been suspicious of Ellison's motives to buy the team—I was completely stunned when I realised that he wasn't the owner.

Even more surprising was his later statement that he had been the highest bidder but Cohan chose not to sell to him.

Instead, the team was sold to an investor group led by venture capitalist Joe Lacob and Mandalay Entertainment Group chariman Peter Guber.

I don't know anything about the sale process, finances or any stuff like that (business school dropout in the house!) so I'm not going to comment on that (although I did read that while Ellison did eventually outbid Lacob/Guber, he did so after the bid deadline ended).

I'm just interested, as a fan, in wondering how the Lacob/Guber Era is gonna pan out.

I don't know what their combined net worth is, but I'd imagine it has to be at least a nine-figure number to be able to afford paying $450 million for a basketball team. Sure, they're not touching Ellison's wealth, but how important is that?

Merely having money isn't as important as an NBA owner as having the willingness to spend it and go over the luxury tax to field a contender. Every owner in the NBA can afford to do so (cause, well, they're all very, very rich) but not all are willing.

Look at the two LA teams.

I don't know how much Jerry Buss is worth, but I'd suspect that Donald Sterling is considerably richer than him.

Yet Sterling's team is the laughing stock of the NBA, where as Dr Buss has rings for every finger on his hand and some of his toes.

It's all because he's willing to spend the money necessary to field a contender. 

Will Lacob and Guber be willing?

The thing that gives me the most hope is that Lacob is from the Bay Area and has been a season ticket holder for the past 10 years. He's one of us. He's seen the same era of failure that we have, only he's been in a position to do something about it by buying the team.

This, to me, is a sign that he at least will be willing to invest what's necessary to make the team a contender.

However, contrary to popular belief Cohan also spent money on the team. In fact, when Mullin was GM, he often spent money pretty foolishly. Which leads to what may have been the biggest flaw of the Chris Cohan Era—he continually made lousy personnel decisions.

It started when Cohan chose to have Chris Webber traded rather than fire Don Nelson in 1995. Less than a year later, Nellie was given his marching orders.

Then began the coaching/GM merry go round. Remember Gary St Jean, PJ Carleismo, Otis Smith, Eric Musselman, Dave Twardzik and Mike Montgomery? How'd they do for us? 

Yeah, I thought so.

Even our supposed saviour, Chris Mullin, made his share of dumb decisions (the Troy Murphy/Mike Dunleavy extensions, the Derek Fisher contract, giving Don Nelson a two year extension, the Maggette deal).

Admittedly there's a bit of luck involved in hiring good people, but when you consistently make boneheaded decisions on the basketball side it shows that the owner either doesn't give a crap about the team, or doesn't have anyone around him who does.

Since Lacob is a basketball fan who has also been involved with the Celtics, an example of a well-run franchise, I also have hope on this end. 

I'm also planning to write an article on what I hope happens on this end soon along with more on what this may mean for the future of our team, but for now I'm going to party.

After 15 years, Chris Cohan's reign of tyranny has come to an end.

Watch out for the IRS, and don't let the door hit your arse on the way out.