Pacific Notes: Kerr, Monroe, Kobe, Lieberman

Steve Kerr isn’t thinking at all about sitting out the entire season and believes he’ll return from his leave of absence at some point before it’s over, as he said to Tim Kawakami of the Bay Area News Group. The progress the Warriors coach has made of late in his recovery from two back surgeries is plain to see, observes Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle.

“He’s acting more like himself and joking more like himself,” interim coach Luke Walton said Tuesday, as Simmons relays. “As far as what that means for his return, we still have no idea — but it’s nice to see more of his old self.”

See more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Lakers focused on basketball in their free agent pitch to Greg Monroe, unlike their ill-fated business-oriented approach to LaMarcus Aldridge, Byron Scott said Tuesday, as Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News relays (Twitter link). “There wasn’t anything they did wrong. I just made the best decision for me,” Monroe said to Medina about his choice of the Bucks over the Lakers and others. “It wasn’t anything they didn’t do or did do.”
  • Kobe Bryant is playing much better of late, and that has to do with his greater comfort with the Lakers‘ young players, Scott believes, as Bill Oram of the Orange County Register details. No. 2 overall pick D’Angelo Russell is also looking improved, and that has Scott looking smart, at least for now, Oram writes. “So [Kobe]’s kind of … stepping to the side a little bit and letting them have a little more say in what they do out there,” Scott said. “There’s a lot of times in the game where he just kind of defers to those guys.”
  • George Karl had thought about hiring a female assistant coach for years before he and the Kings brought Nancy Lieberman onto the staff this past summer, notes Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee“I think it’s been good,” Karl said. “Sometimes I think we [head coaches] have been too macho about this for too long. Everybody connects with people differently, and some players communicate better with women. That’s why you want three or four assistants. With Nancy, obviously she knows the game. But the best thing she does is connect one-on-one with the players. She can take hard subjects and go to a player, and that’s very unusual in a young coach.”
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