No one has reported anything ironclad, but quite a few incredibly reliable and well-sourced NBA insiders have been mentioning that Golden State Warriors team president and general manager Bob Myers might be one possible replacement for Magic Johnson in the wake of the former Los Angeles Lakers president of basketball operations’ stunning and sudden resignation.
Zach Lowe of ESPN was the first to mention Myers, on the most recent episode of his podcast:
“I think Bob Myers is a name that will come up. I’ve heard it and speculated for years that if there is one job that could get Bob Myers out of Golden State, it’s the Lakers. He went to UCLA, plus everyone likes to live in Los Angeles.”
Now, as noted Lowe notes, that’s clearly speculation, albeit of the informed kind. Still, because of Lowe’s reliability as a newsbreaker, we filed it away as something to keep an eye on.
Then, Marcus Thompson of The Athletic (as plugged in as a reporter can be on the Warriors beat) wrote about a column on why it would make sense for the Warriors to target Myers. The Marc Stein of The New York Times — as plugged in as insiders come, period — tweeted about it:
The name that keeps coming up as the Lakers’ natural target: Ex-UCLA Bruin Bob Myers https://t.co/I8R9dBwdUQ— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) April 11, 2019
Stein’s tweet was followed by Bill Oram of The Athletic doing the same thing, with similarly pseudo-speculative phrasing:
A name that has been out from the earliest moments after Magic resigned. https://t.co/P5ch8b93XR— Bill Oram (@billoram) April 11, 2019
None of those tidbits on their own would necessarily constitute a rumor, but when four people that plugged in — and all largely independent of each other — are hearing and/or saying the same things publicly, it’s worth noting, even if it’s mostly just scuttlebutt for now.
Plus, it’s not unfair to ask why Myers would leave the Warriors to help rebuild the Lakers. On that front, Thompson lays out some good points in his column, including but not limited to potentially increased power, the chance to live in Los Angeles (something Lowe and Stein mentioned in noting that Myers went to school at UCLA) and potentially most importantly, money:
According to Sam Amick, national NBA writer for The Athletic — as he discussed on the new Tampering podcast — Magic was making $10 million a year with the Lakers. No, Myers does not make that much with the Warriors. Maybe about half that. Myers definitely makes less than Warriors coach Steve Kerr, who recently signed a contract extension at a number the Warriors have been diligent about keeping close to the vest.
If $10-million-a-year and the power to choose his staff is on the table, Myers would have to listen. I’d bet he’d listen. His wife might make him listen. But it may not even take that much. That’s the only upward step for him: full control and a salary that makes him the chief. The chance to get that while going back to his stomping grounds has to make it even more attractive. He’s already done the impossible — been the head of building his childhood team into a dynasty. The only thing that’s possibly cooler is resurrecting the Lakers. That might be enough.
And with all that out of the way, we should point out the obvious: That Myers would be an incredible get, and exactly the type of forward-thinking manager of people any franchise — but especially the Lakers, given where things stand right now — would be lucky to hire.
So the Lakers are just going to pony up the money and this is a done deal, right? Not exactly, as there are plenty of logical reasons to still be hesitant about predicting that Myers is going to be the actual hire here.
For one, as I tried to be clear about above, there isn’t any explicit reporting that the Lakers are even interested. So far all we’ve heard definitively reported on their plans is that current general manager Rob Pelinka is likely to be kept around, and possibly even see an increase in his level of power within the organization. As Thompson notes, that would almost assuredly be a nonstarter for Myers, because executives generally like to bring in their own people. The potential for a power struggle with LeBron James and/or Klutch Sports also might be enough to ward him off, and the Warriors might decline to give Myers permission to talk to the Lakers even if L.A. requested to do so.
But even aside from all of those potential pitfalls, perhaps the simplest rebuttal to all this is that most information like the above only becomes public because it benefits someone for it to be public. You know who potentially benefits from the Warriors being put on notice that the Lakers might go after the architect of one of the greatest teams in NBA history? Myers himself.
This doesn’t mean Myers himself planted this, or that he wouldn’t actually have interest in the job. Both things can be true. However, it’s impossible to miss that the Lakers as a big-market bogeyman is a narrative as old as NBA coverage, and it’s one used by teams to get other trade partners to pony up more assets for a player, or to depress the trade market for a player — like Anthony Davis, for example — who wants to end up in Los Angeles. The Lakers being listed as a possible suitor for an outgoing free agent, or free agent on the market, has historically also been a strategy for some players to get paid.
Those realities don’t necessarily mean this is just a negotiation tactic, but until the Lakers ask for and/or are granted permission to speak with Myers, Lakers fans hoping this happens should just probably not hold their breath for Myers’ introductory press conference in El Segundo.
That doesn’t mean that any of these reports are fake, or that the people giving them are lying in any way about what they’re hearing. But given that this is going to be a narrative now, it just seems worth noting that Myers might not actually want to leave a historically great team to get paid to rebuild the Lakers. There just might be people who want the Warriors to pay him closer to what Magic Johnson was getting for the trouble of not doing so.