SAN FRANCISCO -- General manager Trent Baalke has no problem making draft-day deals for the future because he figures to be around awhile, 49ers CEO Jed York said Wednesday.
York, Warriors CEO Joe Lacob and Giants CEO Larry Baer appeared Wednesday on a panel -- “The Business of Sports” -- at VentureScape 2015 at the Palace Hotel.
Among the topics discussed was creating a winning culture.
“You have to make sure your guys feel like they’re going to be a part of it for a while,” York said. “And with Trent, I watch it when we draft. Trent will always trade for next year’s picks because he feels comfortable that he’s going to be here.
“And ultimately that’s going to make our business much better. And I think that’s the nice thing about having a private company. You don’t have to worry about the quarterly report. We’re looking at how many championships can we win over a period of time. And when everybody understands that and everybody comes together, more often than not, you’re going to be happy.”
The 45-minute discussion focused mostly on the challenges of running professional sports franchises. York alluded to the team-described “mutual parting” with coach Jim Harbaugh when asked about the difficulty of decision-making when balancing personal feelings.
“I haven’t made any tough choices lately,” York quipped, drawing laughs from the audience.
“For me, everybody has a different definition of success,” York said. “For me, I grew up that if the 49rs didn’t win the Super Bowl, we failed. Period. Full stop. Everything we do is built on trying to get us back to that level and making sure we can consistently be at that level.
“And if that’s what you’re going to do, you need to take some risks in order to get there. And you need to assess that. It’s important to figure out what you want to do and how you want to get there.”
Baer spoke about the Giants’ decision to offer Michael Morse a one-year contract only to lose him to the Miami Marlins’ two-year deal. Former Warriors guard Monta Ellis’ wife had become close friends with Lacob’s fiancée, Lacob said. So the 2012 decision to trade Ellis to the Milwaukee Bucks was especially difficult, he said.
York spoke about the emotions of seeing running back Frank Gore, the franchise’s all-time leading rusher, sign with the Indianapolis Colts after he spent his first 10 NFL seasons with the 49ers.
“Frank is a guy that if you can have 53 Frank Gores, you’re going to win the Super Bowl every year,” York said. “Frank is just a great person and it sucks to not have him here.
“But he had to make a decision and we had to make a decision. We’d love to keep him. But you have to make sure that you remain some level of professional when you get into it, because you really start to make mistakes when you make too many personal decisions like that.”