Warriors' Joe Lacob: Kevin Durant Leaving for Nets Helped GSW Rebuild Sooner

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistApril 9, 2020

OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 12:  Joe Lacob and Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors after winning the NBA Championshiop against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game Five of the 2017 NBA Finals on June 12, 2017 at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

Golden State Warriors owner Joe Lacob believes the organization might have found an ancillary benefit when Kevin Durant left via a sign-and-trade last offseason.

"Maybe this is the best thing. We were able to start a rebuild a little bit earlier than we otherwise might have," Lacob said on the TK Show with The Athletic's Tim Kawakami.

Though Lacob acknowledged losing Durant was a negative for the Warriors, as the star joined the Brooklyn Nets on a four-year, $164.3 million deal, he also looked at the bright side. 

"The positive is we got a chance to move forward quicker and to move into the next phase of what we're doing," he added.

The Warriors won two titles in three seasons with Durant, reaching the NBA Finals last year before he ruptured his Achilles in the series loss to the Toronto Raptors.

He hasn't played a game in 2019-20 during his recovery, which wouldn't have improved the Warriors' fortunes as they posted a league-worst 15-50 record. Klay Thompson has also missed the entire year because of a torn ACL, while Stephen Curry played only five games while dealing with a wrist injury.

As Lacob noted, Durant would have still come with a huge contract despite the injury.

The Warriors have been creative while trying to replace him, adding D'Angelo Russell before flipping him to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Andrew Wiggins. The team has also stocked up on draft picks, including a first-round selection from Minnesota and another first-round pick from Brooklyn as part of the sign-and-trade for Durant (both of which come with protections).

If Curry and Thompson return to full strength next season and the team takes advantage of what should be a high draft pick in 2020, Golden State will return to contention in a hurry.

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