Golden State of Mind


Yeah, I am a Warrior now.

It was the best basketball decision I ever made, and I’ll tell you why.

But I want to say something real quick about New Orleans. I know some people might still be looking at the situation like, Boogie was never really invested. He left after a year. He took the easy road.

I’m a Mobile, Alabama kid. I got family close by. The truth is, I assumed I was staying. So in June, I’m looking at houses. I knew which neighborhood I wanted to be in — just had to make sure the house would have a yard big enough for my dogs. I’ve got three dogs. Gotti, Biggie and Queenie. They need a good-sized yard to roam.

There was never anything negative with the Pelicans. We felt like we were creating something special. We had AD, we had Jrue, doing what they do on a nightly basis. We were steadily building that foundation you need to win. I was heavy involved in recruiting new guys. I helped get Rajon Rondo. I helped get Jameer Nelson. I helped get Tony Allen, I helped get Ian Clark. I helped get Nikola Mirotic. Even after I was injured, I was making a case for the guys I thought would fit there. Like I said, we were building that foundation.

And last year in the playoffs, I was proud of how those guys played. We swept the Blazers and we gave the Warriors a lot of heart. Look at it: We were the only team, outside of Houston, that took a game off them. I never wanted to play ball more in my life than that series. Still proud of y’all.

Then free agency hit. It was a lot of, We might be interested. We don’t know if it’s the right fit. All of a sudden, I wasn’t hearing from the Pelicans. I wasn’t hearing from no one. That was tough. We in a nasty business, at times. I don’t even say that in a good or bad way. It’s just no place to get too emotional. The facts are still the same. I was expecting to be back in New Orleans, and I was proud of what we were starting there.

Diego Pardo

I couldn’t sleep for two days. When it was clear I couldn’t stay in New Orleans, I went out and created what would end up being the best opportunity for myself. I asked my agent to set up a call with the Warriors. I knew they could use a big.

I called Bob Myers up.

On God, Bob thought it was a prank. He asked us like five times if we were being serious. I broke it down as clear as I could. I told him about the Pelicans and how nothing was making sense anymore. I told him it was like other teams were treating me like I didn’t have a career left after the injury.

And I said I’d take the minimum. I just wanted a team that wanted me. I was telling him: I wanted to play on the biggest stage and make the most impact I could. After that, Bob wasn’t thinking it was a prank.

First, Bob wanted me to talk to Coach Kerr and the guys, to make sure it was cool with them. So I called up KD. I called up Steph. I talked to Draymond. I talked to Coach Kerr. I wasn’t sure how they’d take the idea of me coming on board. It’s the back-to-back defending champs. I was half expecting them to not want to add anything new to that machine.

But, it was the opposite. They couldn’t have been any more cool with it.

Coach was funny on the phone. He was all about it, asking me how I saw myself in their system, things like that. And then right before we hung up, he goes, “You’re gonna make me have to actually coach this year, huh?”

Steph has been great through all this. He’s been texting me this summer. It’s usually like a photo of him cheesing super hard.

Draymond and I talked a few times. He’s been great. And even KD came through Vegas this summer and we kicked it. The rest of the summer, he was still sending me texts about how he was in shock about it. He’s like, “I still can’t believe this happened.” Me neither, man.

Didn’t talk to Klay until right before training camp. Don’t know where that dude was at this summer. China, is my guess? But for real, I’m looking forward to being that guy’s teammate. All the guys talk about him as the best teammate. Need some of the zen Klay’s got.

Think about this for a second. We are talking a group of MVPs and All-Stars who have won the championship three outta the last four years.

And no egos about adding another guy to the lineup. It’s special.

Diego Pardo

That’s kind of it, you know? I was in New Orleans. Then I wasn’t anywhere. Then I called the Warriors. It ain’t that complicated to me.

I’ve been getting settled in the Bay. Looking for a spot with a yard big enough for Gotti, Biggie and Queenie. I’ve been rehabbing and working out at the Warriors facility. Everybody in the organization has been cool. There’s a vibe here. You see it in the other guys and in Coach Kerr and the front office, and you feel it in the staff and everyone else. Nobody is thinking about anything but a championship. They carry themselves like it. I’ve been missing basketball — and playing ball, that’s what it’s always been about for me. I found a new place where I’m being welcomed with open arms.

I’ll be back at 100% this season. A year from now, looking back, I know this is going to be the best decision I ever made.