Two longtime members of the Warriors organization could become free agents this summer. President of basketball operations Bob Myers is on an expiring contract, while former Defensive Player of the Year Draymond Green holds a player option for 2023/24.
Despite some uncertainty about whether Myers and Green will still be in Golden State in the fall, head coach Steve Kerr isn’t viewing this season as a “Last Dance” for this version of the Warriors, as he told Tim Kawakami of The Athletic this week on The TK Show, referencing the 1997/98 Bulls team that he played for.
“That was made clear in Chicago (in 1997), that that was going to be it, Phil (Jackson) was done and everybody’s contracts were up. That was going to be it,” Kerr said. “That’s not the case here at all. I know that (Warriors owner) Joe (Lacob) would love to keep this thing going. He’s been incredible in his financial commitment to keep this team strong and relevant for a decade. He’s always committed to that. So I think there’s a really good possibility that we keep things going here.”
As Kawakami points out, the idea of bringing the entire gang back for 2023/24 would presumably look more appealing to Warriors ownership if the team makes another deep playoff run. Golden State’s up-and-down performance this season has created some doubts about the viability of such a run, but Kerr feels like the team has played some of its best basketball of the season as of late, crediting Gary Payton II‘s return and Jonathan Kuminga‘s emergence as a reliable rotation piece as key factors.
“We look more like a two-way basketball team more often now than we did even a few weeks ago,” Kerr told Kawakami. “We’re not there yet, obviously. I mean, we’re not consistent enough. But I think we know we’re capable of getting where we need to be.”
Here are a few more highlights from Kawakami’s conversation with Kerr, which is worth checking out in full if you subscribe to The Athletic:
On whether he’s concerned that Myers won’t be back with the Warriors next season:
“Yeah, for sure. The fact that he doesn’t have a contract, the possibility is there that he won’t be back. I think that’s obvious. I’m not breaking any news. I can tell you without a doubt everybody wants him back.
“Bob is amazing at his job. His job goes so much further than just drafting or signing players or trading for players. It’s the overall management of the organization. The way he helps me navigate the season through his communication with our players is so valuable for me. Bob is a masterful communicator in every direction and he’s a great friend. He and I have so much trust in one another. So I hope he’s back, and I think everybody feels that way, and we’ll see how it plays out.”
On why it has been challenging for young players (like James Wiseman) to crack the Warriors’ rotation on a consistent basis:
“The hard part for any fan or anybody to realize is just how much knowledge and wisdom you need in this league to really impact winning. I remember early in the season I had dinner with Steph (Curry) and Draymond on the road and I asked them each how long it took them early in their NBA careers to feel like they could directly impact winning. Draymond said three years, Steph said four. And Draymond played four years at Michigan State. Steph played three at Davidson.
“So for each of them, they were talking about seven seasons after they left high school was when they could impact winning in the NBA. You’re talking about Hall of Fame players. So when we get 19-year-old guys like Kuminga or (Moses) Moody or Wiseman, who are really gifted, it’s just not going to click right away. … There are exceptions. But the rule is generally young players have a long way to go to really figure out how to win and to absorb everything you need to know to play at this level.”
On whether the Warriors are capable of winning a title if Andrew Wiggins doesn’t return from his personal absence for the postseason:
“I think so; I really believe in this team. I think the fact that we traded for Gary and the way that JK has stepped up in Wigs’ absence. If you look at last year’s team, we had the two on-ball defenders in Wigs and Gary. And you plug JK into that Wigs spot now. It’s not as seamless as it was a year ago because we had a whole season together and we had all that rhythm and continuity, but I do feel good about our chances just with the talent that we have and the experience that we have.”