Bob Myers weathered a number of storms in his decade-plus as general manager of the Golden State Warriors, which included four title runs, two heartbreaking losses in the NBA Finals, countless Draymond Green controversies, the high-stakes free-agency pursuit of Kevin Durant, the marathon construction of the sparkling Chase Center and the franchise’s move from Oakland to San Francisco.
With big names and big personalities surrounding him — from ultracompetitive owner Joe Lacob to Coach Steve Kerr to Stephen Curry, Durant, Green and Klay Thompson — Myers usually settled in close to the action but not directly in the spotlight.
But the tall, slender California native famously took his turn when Durant suffered an Achilles injury during the 2019 Finals. In addition to ending Durant’s season and costing him the following one, the injury was an organizational crisis: Durant had suffered a calf strain earlier in the playoffs, and the decision for him to return during the Finals was made amid speculation that he planned to leave the Warriors in free agency. Once the worst-case scenario unfolded, Myers addressed reporters and choked back tears as he tried to explain Golden State’s process for clearing Durant to play and defended the player’s commitment to his teammates.
“I don’t believe there’s anybody to blame, but I understand this world, and if you have to, you can blame me,” Myers said. “I run our basketball operations department.”
That moment revealed several layers to Myers’s personality: his genuine empathy for Durant, his accountability and sense of duty within an organization and his practical approach to the relationships between a team, its fans and the media. Though Myers’s college career at UCLA and professional careers as an agent and executive occurred in the basketball world, it’s understandable why new Washington Commanders owner Josh Harris, who seems intent on engineering a badly-needed cultural overhaul, would add Myers to his search team as he looks to hire a new lead football executive and head coach.
From the outside, Myers’s Golden State gig might have looked like an easy job. Any sports executive would dream of having a deep-pocketed owner with a fierce commitment to winning like Lacob, a coach with a visionary offense like Kerr, a beloved franchise player who never takes a false step like Curry and a wealthy home base with passionate fans like the Bay Area. Once the Warriors poached Durant from the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2016, they appeared destined to cruise to championships — and they did in 2017 and 2018.
But Golden State’s dynasty was marked by challenging circumstances and difficult decisions. The Warriors chose to pull the plug on Mark Jackson’s coaching tenure despite real progress under his leadership. They trusted Curry despite major early-career injury issues and made the correct decision to rebuild the team in his mold. They unlocked their early dominance by promoting Green, an unheralded and undersized second-round pick, into a starting role. They held strong philosophically against fierce critics who argued for years that their offense was too dependent on three-pointers. And they displayed flexibility during their first title run in 2015, changing their playoff lineups as needed to exploit potential advantages.
During this rise, Kerr preached a selfless “Strength in Numbers” mantra that reflected Myers’s own preference for “collaborative” decision-making. Rather than a single booming voice of authority, the Warriors projected a Silicon Valley-like group brainstorm approach. When Andre Iguodala’s entry into the starting lineup swung the 2015 Finals, the Warriors credited the checkmate move to Nick U’Ren, Kerr’s little-known, 28-year-old special assistant.
Myers often speaks in self-deprecating terms about his time at UCLA, when he played a total of 395 minutes over four seasons, but that experience aided his ability to communicate with players as an agent and executive. In recent years, Myers often functioned as a “Draymond whisperer,” trying to guide the organization through Green’s battles with Durant, Jordan Poole, referees and the repercussions of his unsportsmanlike actions. On a podcast this week, Green said he regularly sought counsel from his former boss during his recent 12-game suspension, calling Myers a “true friend” who “just cares so much.”
Though Golden State’s culture and controversies tend to dominate headlines, Myers also had a hand in its elegant salary cap management. Durant’s 2016 arrival was a coup that only took place because the Warriors were ready to exploit an unprecedented jump in the salary cap and had the best pitch in a series of free-agency meetings held in the Hamptons that summer.
To sustain the dynasty, Myers’s front office spun Durant’s 2019 exit into D’Angelo Russell, then flipped the guard to land Andrew Wiggins, a key starter on its 2022 title team. Myers also prioritized high-IQ veterans throughout Golden State’s run, landing players like David West and Shaun Livingston to help his team keep its competitive edge and limit distractions.
Myers announced his resignation last summer in a lengthy news conference that had its share of awkward exchanges. Lacob referred to Myers as his “fifth kid” and lamented the executive’s departure while noting he didn’t fully understand the reasoning behind it. The owner relished telling war stories of going back-and-forth with Myers on telephone calls to seal important deals.
“We would not have had those next two championships if Bob hadn’t done what he did,” Lacob said with admiration. “He was the key guy. [Landing Durant] was his idea and his execution.”
Of course, Myers’s eye for basketball talent will be of little use to the Commanders. But any professional sports organization, especially one that’s struggled on the field, fractured its relationship with its fans and must execute a coaching search, could easily find his combination of people skills, extensive experience and strategic vision to be helpful.