Golden State Warriors

Steve Kerr’s Condition Continues to Worsen

The physical problems that caused Warriors coach Steve Kerr to miss the final two games of the first-round series have gotten worse over the past week, reports Anthony Slater of The San Jose Mercury News. Kerr’s indefinite absence from the team may stretch well into the second round or even beyond.

Kerr was at Stanford Medical Center today getting further tests and had to miss the first practice in preparation for the next round of playoffs. Interim coach Mike Brown was in charge and said he will plan to coach the rest of the postseason unless GM Bob Myers tells him differently.

Brown talked to Kerr Tuesday night about strategies for facing the Jazz or Clippers in the next round. Brown refused to comment on Kerr’s condition, referring all those questions to Myers.

Kerr is still dealing with the effects of surgery that he had in the summer of 2015 to repair a ruptured disk in his back. That created a fluid leak in his spine, and a follow-up operation was needed. Kerr missed the first 43 games of last season and still hasn’t returned to full health.

Myers addressed his coach’s condition after today’s practice in an interview on 95.7 The Game. He said the organization hasn’t set a timetable for a return, and he wants to see Kerr have several good days in a row before he comes back to the bench.

“For him to live the life that he wants to live, we need to figure it out,” Myers said. “I think we will.

The Warriors won’t play again until Sunday, and maybe not until Tuesday if the Jazz-Clippers series goes to a seventh game. Brown plans to continue having strategy sessions with Kerr and will try to handle his absence as smoothly as possible.

“You hope it’s seamless,” Brown said. “I’ve been coaching a long time and even though Steve’s older than me — a lot older than me (laughs) — he’s been coaching for three years now and I’ve learned a ton from him. Not just X’s and O’s. Maybe [Gregg Popovich] rivals it, but he’s by far the best communicator I’ve been around. There’s no way I’ll be able to emulate that. Just being here a year, having the veterans we have, the staff we have, it’s made it, in my opinion, seamless.”

Blazers Notes: Lillard, Durant, Draft

The Blazers made the playoffs this season, but Damian Lillard doesn’t consider that a success, as Chris Haynes of relays.

“We got tested, and I think we answered the bell,” the point guard said. “I felt like we showed our true colors by the way we fought. But I wouldn’t say successful. I think it was growth. A year of growth for us.”

The Warriors swept the Blazers in the opening round of the playoffs and Lillard understands that his team needs to beat Golden State if it’s going to win the Western Conference.

“You also got to understand that if you ever want to get out of the West, you’re going to have to go through them,” Lillard said. “And for me, I understand that’s what it is. It’s always been that way in the NBA. I think about when the Pistons were just beating up on [Michael] Jordan. [They] were just kicking his butt every year, and he had to get through them if he wanted to get to where he wanted to get to. That’s just what it is.

“[The Warriors are] going to be there. They’re going to be there every year. We have to look at that and understand that we got to be better. We have to go get better, and come back better as a group if we want to move past them.”

Here’s more from Portland:

  • Kevin Durant believes the Blazers are a few pieces away from contending for the conference’s crown, as Haynes passes along in the same piece. “I think they want somebody on the wing that can take the pressure off those two guards [C.J. McCollum and Lillard], somebody that’s big for their position. But they’re right there, man,” Durant said.
  • Breaking up McCollum and Lillard might be the only way the Blazers bring home the title, Kevin O’Connor of the Ringer contends. The scribe sees parallels in Portland’s current team and Golden State’s in 2012. The Warriors knew Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry couldn’t defend opposing backcourts at a top level and the team decided to trade Ellis away.
  • The Blazers acquired the No. 20 overall pick in the upcoming draft in the Jusuf Nurkic deal and that selection could be more important than the center, O’Connor argues in the same piece. Portland needs to find another piece to take the team from good to great and without cap space, the team will likely need to add that player through the draft. In addition to No. 20, the franchise also owns the No. 15 and No. 26 overall picks.

Kevin Durant To Play In Game 4

Kevin Durant will play in tonight’s matchup against the Blazers, Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post tweets. Shaun Livingston and Matt Barnes will remain sidelined.

Golden State will be without Steve Kerr as well. Kerr is experiencing health issues which stem from the back surgery he underwent in 2015. He and Durant both missed the Warriors’ Game 3 win on Saturday.

Durant missed 22 games this season, including the two games he was sidelined for in this series. In his first postseason game with the Warriors last weekend, Durant scored 32 points and pulled down 11 boards before exiting the game with a calf injury.

Steve Kerr May Miss The Rest Of First-Round Series

The Warriors are concerned about the health of head coach Steve Kerr, who may not be available for the remainder of their first-round series, writes Marcus Thompson II of The San Jose Mercury News.

Golden State won Saturday’s Game 3 without Kerr, who was held out with an illness that was only described in vague terms. A source tells Thompson that Kerr has been ailing since the series started. He has been suffering excruciating pain and at times can barely walk.Kerr’s health has been an issue since he underwent surgery in July of 2015 to fix a ruptured disk in his back. That operation created a fluid leak in his spine, and he needed a second procedure two months later.

He missed the first 43 games of last season before returning to his spot on the Warriors’ bench, but his health problems never fully went away. Thompson writes that the spinal fluid leak left him with “debilitating headaches and nausea,” along with other ailments.

The team hired Mike Brown as its lead assistant over the offseason because of his extensive experience as an NBA head coach. Thompson notes that the Warriors passed over younger candidates such as Stephen Silas because of fears that Kerr might not be able to coach the entire season.

Kerr was able to gameplan with Brown before Saturday’s game, but it remains uncertain when he might coach again. Kerr will undoubtedly want to return as soon as possible, but GM Bob Myers may insist that his friend get healthier first.

Kevin Durant Won’t Play In Game 3

The Warriors will hold Kevin Durant out of tonight’s contest as he recovers from a calf injury, Marc Stein of tweets.  Durant missed Game 2 against the Blazers with the same ailment and at the time, Tim Kawakami of The Bay Area News Groups reported that the small forward could miss Game 3 as well.

Durant suffered the injury in the opening game of the series. He scored 32 points in that contest but needed to ice his leg toward the end of the game.

Golden State has gone 17-4 without Durant in the lineup this season, which includes the team’s win over Portland last Wednesday. Steve Kerr will also miss tonight’s tilt and Mike Brown will coach in his place.

Steve Kerr To Miss Game 3

Steve Kerr will miss tonight’s game against the Blazers because of an illness, Marc J. Spears of relays (Twitter link). Mike Brown will act as the Warriors’ head coach in Kerr’s place.

Brown has plenty of heading coaching experience. He has two separate stints as the Cavs’ head coach with 71 games on the Lakers’ sideline sandwiched in between them. Brown has a head coaching record of 347-216.

Kerr missed 43 games last season while recovering from back surgery and at the time, Luke Walton took over the head coaching reigns, leading the team to a 39-4 record.

Golden State has a two-game lead in their series against the Blazers. The Warriors won the first two contests by a combined 41 points.

Green Recruited McGee Last Summer

Draymond Green played a crucial role in the Warriors’ decision to sign journeyman center JaVale McGee last summer, as Sam Amick of USA Today explains. They share the same agent, B.J. Armstrong of Wasserman, and Green lobbied GM Bob Myers to give McGee a chance. McGee, who appeared in just 62 games over the previous four seasons, signed a contract for less then $1MM and has emerged as a valuable role player. “I didn’t know him that well at all, but you [could] see some of the skills that a guy has and see that, alright that could possibly fit in,” Green told Amick. “Being that he’s super athletic, he offered something that we didn’t have.” McGee will re-enter the free agent market this summer and should be in greater demand.

Kevin Durant Won’t Play In Game 2

Kevin Durant has been ruled out for Game 2 against the Blazers, Marc Stein of reports (Twitter link). Sam Amick of USA Today (Twitter link) reported earlier today that Durant’s status for tonight’s tilt was in question.

The small-forward has a strained left calf and he didn’t participate in the Warriors’ shootaround earlier today, as Stein relays in a full-length piece. A source told Stein that Golden State was considering having Durant sit so he could have a full five days rest before playing in Game 3. However, Tim Kawakami of The Bay Area News Groups tweets that Durant may miss that game as well.

The 2013/14 MVP scored 32 points in Sunday’s win over Portland, though he was seen with ice on his left leg near the end of the contest. Golden State went 16-4 with Durant sidelined this season.

Southwest Notes: Pelicans, Capela, Mavericks

The Pelicans will look to add outside shooting this offseason, John Reid of The Times-Picayune relays.

”We’re going to look at all options,” GM Dell Demps said. ”We’re going to be broad in our search to find the best possible outcome for the season. Obviously shooting, I think that’s the big importance. We have to be creative and you know putting the right mix around those guys is going to be important.”

Reid names J.J. Redick, Kyle Korver, Andre Iguodala and P.J. Tucker among the unrestricted free agents who could be a fit in New Orleans. It’s worth noting that Iguodala coming to Louisiana is unlikely, as the Warriors plan on keeping him in Golden State beyond this season.

Here’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Clint Capela is both a long-term project and a key piece to the Rockets‘ chances at success this postseason, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle writes. The center scored 14 points in Game 1 against the Thunder and protected the rim with great defense. The big man is eligible for rookie scale extension this offseason.
  • Dave McMenamin of believes the Mavericks will have trouble landing marquee free agents while Dirk Nowitzki is still on the team (h/t The Dallas Morning News). The analyst compares Nowitzki’s situation to Kobe Bryant‘s in that it’s hard to build a winning roster around an aging superstar who’s getting paid like a current one.

And-Ones: Nurkic, Durant, R. Allen, W. Bynum

The Trail Blazers and Warriors will play Game 2 of their series on Wednesday night, and both sides may be missing a key player. Jusuf Nurkic, who continues to recover from a fractured leg, announced today that he won’t play in Game 2 for the Blazers, per Joe Freeman of The Oregonian (Twitter link). Meanwhile, Kevin Durant, who recently returned from a knee injury, is now battling a left calf strain and was listed as questionable on the Warriors’ injury report today (Twitter link).

As we wait to see if Durant is able to give it a go for Golden State, let’s round up a few odds and ends from around the basketball world…

  • Appearing over the weekend on ESPN’s The Jump, Ray Allen was asked about why he hasn’t played in the NBA since the 2013/14 season, and explained that contract offers he received since then wouldn’t have given him a chance to have a real role (link via Adam London of NESN). “Most of the inquiries I have received were how ready am I to accept my role as a veteran and sit on the bench and mentor the young guys,” Allen said. “I’d love to do that, it comes naturally to me, but I do want to play.”
  • Veteran point guard Will Bynum has reached a deal to play for Luoyang in China this summer, according to 24/7 Basketball (Twitter link). Bynum, who has had multiple stints in China, played with the Pistons for several seasons in the NBA.
  • Canton Charge swingman John Holland – who has spent time with the Celtics and Cavaliers – is also headed to China, having agreed to a contract with the Beijing Eastern Ducks, Sam Amico of confirms. International basketball journalist David Pick first reported (via Twitter) that Holland was finalizing a deal with the Chinese club.
  • The Maine Red Claws and Raptors 905 are currently battling for the right to advance to the D-League Finals, and each team saw a key contributor take home a major award within the past few days. 2016 Celtics second-rounder Abdel Nader was the D-League’s Rookie of the Year, while Edy Tavares, who spent most of the season with the Raptors‘ affiliate, was named the NBADL Defensive Player of the Year. Tavares is now on the Cavaliers‘ roster, having been signed on the last day of the regular season.
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