Adam Lauridsen posted a 6,000 word interview with Joe Lacob the other day. Which begs for some analysis…
First observation: Lacob goes on and on about how hard he and the front office are trying. So very hard, apparently. Which is swell. Really. If Joe and the front office staff played CYO games on Saturday, I would praise them for their hustle. But this is the N-B-A! Trying hard is assumed. What does he think the other owners and GMs do, loaf? You get graded for results, not for process. And Lacob is failing.
But so what? Even Lacob admits to some level of failure to this point. As he repeatedly notes, he has only been in charge for 15 months. Give him some time, he pleads. And you know what? We’re going to. Because we have no choice. Because Lacob is going to own this team for decades. Yes, decades. That’s another point he makes in the interview.
So here is what worries me: I don’t think that Lacob is ever going to be a winner, and I don’t think he realizes that. He is a Tasmanian Devil of rationalizations, denials, and hubris. Let’s look at a quote, shall we?
“And I do believe in this league, if you really want a guy and you target him, you probably have to overpay to get him most of the time. That’s not a comfortable feeling. We’re actually prepared to overpay for the right guy at the right time if we had to do it. Nobody wants to do that. We’re not going to try to do that.“
Right… so… to be clear: Joe knows he has to overpay to woo free agents here. (Hello David Lee!) But he is not going to do that. Let me say that again: he is not going to do that.
That quote actually follows a long bit where he rationalizes missing out on Chandler and Jordan. “We did everything we could to get those guys,” he says.
In my world, “everything” includes using amnesty on Biedrens, thereby clearing an extra $5MM in cap space (versus using amnesty on Charlie Bell’s $4MM expiring deal). But that would have cost him an extra $23MM in buyout money, plus a richer offer to Chandler or Jordan. And bottom-line Joe didn’t go there. So when he says “everything,” he means everything that fits into routine cash flow. Is it any wonder that he was such a supporter of Bobby Rowell? Those guys are like twins who were separated at birth.
You know what the difference between Chris Cohan and Joe Lacob is? Cohan was an absentee owner, so there was always some chance that a qualified GM would wander in at some point. There is no danger of that with Lacob.