Dieter Kurtenbach: What made Bob Myers great also brought about his Warriors exit

Tribune Content Agency

The Golden State Warriors can’t replace Bob Myers.

Sure, someone else will succeed him as the Warriors’ president of basketball operations — the head honcho in the front office. And perhaps that person can match Myers’ team-building aptitude.

But no matter how smart, qualified, and affable that person (or persons) might be, they won’t come close to matching the soft skills Myers brought to his job.

It was those soft skills that helped build a dynasty. It’s those same skills that are behind Myers’ exit on Tuesday.

Myers is tired. Can you blame him?

He has spent the last decade-plus building the Warriors into the greatest sports dynasty of the 21st century and the most valuable sports franchise in the world. The Warriors — the one-time laughingstock — became the organization that all others, no matter the sport, want to emulate.

Myers did that with people skills.

Sure, Myers made some great trades and acquired some outstanding players during his time in charge, but his day-to-day job was to manage personalities on a team that boasted many in a league that sows constant conflict — a team that has been at the center of the NBA universe since 2015.

Myers, a former agent, can smooth over even the most jagged-edged of scenarios. He did it time and time again over the last 11 years.

But you can only do that for so long before you wear yourself out.

The Mark Jackson saga. Draymond Green’s NBA Finals suspension. Signing Kevin Durant. Kevin Durant’s final season. Going from five straight NBA Finals to the NBA’s worst record. Green’s punch of Jordan Poole. The Andrew Wiggins “situation.” Oh yeah, there was a worldwide pandemic in there, too.

Myers was constantly tested, yet his soft skills never hardened. In a league full of egos, he was truly egoless.

But now he has to look out for himself.

This past season, in particular, was brutal for the Dubs’ chief conciliator. Green’s practice punch of Poole, followed by video leaking cast a pall on the entire season. Warriors coach Steve Kerr said earlier this month that the punch impacted the “trust” that is so vital to winning well into the playoffs.

Add to that Myers’ trade of James Wiseman to the Detroit Pistons — a big move, politically, among the Warriors’ brain trust; the return of Gary Payton II, who turned out to be more injured than the Portland Trail Blazers disclosed; and Wiggins leaving the team for two months and you had a hot, spiraling mess of a season.

Kerr stole a line from one of his mentors, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, that’s no doubt on Myers’ mind as he walks away from his childhood team and his dream job:

“Fill your cup.”

It means that when you’re away from basketball, you not only physically rest, but you do things that bring you positivity and joy. You reset mentally, so when you re-engage with the grind, you can give it all you have to give.

After 11 years as the man in charge of the Warriors’ basketball operations — a role that became a 365-day-a-year job where focus on you never relents — it’s time for Myers to fill his cup.

He told ESPN on Tuesday that he doesn’t know what’s next. I believe him.

But because of his success with the Warriors, he can do whatever he wants. The shame is that whatever likely won’t be around here.

Media? He’d be great at it. He’s already pretty good, in his opening foray: a podcast with ESPN called “Lead By Example.”

Big business? That could offer even more money than the Warriors, even though ownership reportedly offered him pieces of the team to keep him.

And if Myers wants to return to an NBA front office after a sabbatical, he’ll have offers from a third of the league. The Clippers might even keep their president of basketball operations job open for the next season in an effort to lure him to the Southland, where he lived and worked during his agency days.

I don’t expect Myers to do much of anything for a while, though. Instead of worrying about the NBA Draft or playing politics at Summer League, Myers will be spending the summer with his wife and three daughters. Pretty good gig.

And whether Myers’ vacated power is vested to Warriors CEO Joe Lacob’s son Kirk Lacob, current vice president of basketball operations Mike Dunleavy Jr., or a combination of them and others, it’s impossible to predict how significant Myers’ exit will be to the health of Warriors’ operation.

And it’s impossible to imagine anyone doing the job any better.