Steve Kerr

International Notes: Brown, Basketball Without Borders, World Cup

Former NBA wing Anthony Brown has agreed to terms on a deal with Russian club Unics Kazan, writes Alessandro Maggi of Sportando. A former EuroLeague club, Unics Kazan now competes in the VTB United League.

After being selected with the No. 34 pick by the Lakers in 2015 out of Stanford, Brown bounced the NBA and G League for several seasons. He suited up for the Lakers and their NBAGL affiliate, at the time called the Los Angeles D-Fenders (now the South Bay Lakers), the Magic and their affiliate team the Erie BayHawks/Lakeland Magic, the Timberwolves and their NBAGL club the Iowa Wolves, and the Pelicans. In 41 total NBA games, the 29-year-old has averaged 3.9 PPG and 2.5 RPG across 18.6 MPG.

Brown first headed overseas in 2018, and has since suited up for teams in Serbia, France, Spain, Turkey and Israel. While playing for Maccabi Rishon LeZion in Israel Super League competition last season, the 6’7″ swingman posted averages of 16.0 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 2.4 APG and 1.0 SPG, with a shooting line of .465/.396/.821.

Here are more international basketball odds and ends:

  • Several NBA players and coaches will head overseas to take part in a Basketball Without Borders camp set for Cairo, Egypt, per a league press release. The event will run from this Sunday, August 28, through next Wednesday, August 31. Sixty-four of the best boys and girls hailing from 26 African nations, aged 18 and under, will travel to the camp. Jazz center Udoka Azubuike, Magic center Mohamed Bamba, Celtics guard Malcolm Brogdon and forward Grant Williams, and retired Hall of Fame center Dikembe Mutombo will be among the camp’s coaches, with Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, Trail Blazers head coach Chauncey Billups, Pelicans head coach Willie Green, Wizards head coach Wes Unseld Jr., Timberwolves head coach Chris Finch, Bucks associate head coach Charles Lee, and Hornets athletic trainer Quinton Sawyer also participating. The camp’s roster of directors will be pretty star-studded as well, led by Raptors president Masai Ujiri, Cavaliers GM Mike Gansey, and Clippers scout Lance Blanks.
  • With almost exactly one year to go before the 2023 FIBA World Cup tips off, Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press checks in on USA Basketball as the organization ramps up its preparation for the event. The first games in next year’s competition are scheduled to be played on August 25, 2023. Fielding a lineup that features G League and international-caliber American players, Team USA currently has a 6-1 record in the World Cup qualifiers. Next year, Steve Kerr will coach Team USA, featuring a likely-star studded roster. This year, that task falls to former Bulls head coach Jim Boylen. “We’re learning a lot because the NBA game has changed over the last seven or eight years, too,” Sean Ford, the U.S. men’s national team director, said. “There’s much more shotmaking. It’s just unbelievable, incredible the amount of 3-point shots that are taken, the freedom of movement, the flow of the game. But the international game has stayed the physical way.” 
  • Former Thunder swingman Terrance Ferguson has made the jump to overseas play, signing on with Polish team GTK Gliwice. Get full details here.

Steve Kerr Happy With Warriors’ Offseason Moves

Two weeks after winning the NBA title, the Warriors were faced with decisions on how to replace three important members of the championship roster. With Gary Payton II, Otto Porter and Nemanja Bjelica leaving in free agency, the team targeted Donte DiVincenzo and JaMychal Green to take their place. In an interview with Anthony Slater of The Athletic, coach Steve Kerr said both players are ideal matches for Golden State’s style.

“Donte is a perfect fit for the way we play,” Kerr said of the former Bucks and Kings guard. “The ball movement, the cutting. He’s a great cutter. He’s a really good spot-up shooter. He’s a good passer on the move. He’s not just a spot-up shooter. He’s a secondary playmaker. Pretty bouncy, but with a great feel for the game. He’s gonna fit right in.”

DiVencenzo committed to Golden State shortly after free agency began, while Green was persuaded to sign with the Warriors after initially planning to join another team. Kerr sees Green as a replacement for both Porter and Bjelica as he possesses elements of both of their games.

He’s capable of sort of playing either role, the four or the five,” Kerr said. “If he’s playing with Draymond (Green), he can stretch the floor and can guard the five, while Draymond guards the four. He gives us frontcourt flexibility. I have a lot of confidence he’ll shoot the ball well. Players generally shoot the ball better with us, I think. That’s not always true. But the space that Steph and Klay provide them along with Draymond’s passing. You saw it with Otto and Gary last year. I think JaMychal will love playing with our guys.”

Here are some other highlights of Kerr’s interview:

On the challenges the Warriors will face in defending a title, compared to last year when they were trying to prove they could still be contenders:

“I don’t know that it’s a bigger challenge because last year felt like a huge challenge going in. Last year felt more daunting because we’d had two lousy seasons in a row. This year feels different because we’re the defending champs. It feels like we’ve got our groove back. We’ll have Klay (Thompson) back for a full season. Our foundation in place. While we’re absolutely going to play a lot of young guys, we kind of have a core six, a foundational six players who are really the ones that make everything happen and will allow us to bring the young guys along.”

On larger roles, and perhaps even regular minutes, for young players Jonathan Kuminga, Moses Moody and James Wiseman:

“All of them have shown really good signs . JK had a stretch last year where — I think it was March, early April — he played really well and started to get more comfortable. He didn’t get as much run in the playoffs, but that’s normal for a rookie, especially once we were fully healthy.

“Moses looks the part. He’s got a more advanced, well-rounded game than JK right now in terms of how it fits with the others. That 3-and-D position. He projects to be a part of things next year. He showed it in the playoffs against Dallas.

“Then James I actually think had some really good moments his rookie year. It gets lost in the shuffle because overall it was a struggle for our team and James had ups and downs. But you remember he had some really big games for us. As he continues to build momentum and gain confidence in his body and skills, I think he’ll help us.”

On the Warriors’ approach with Andre Iguodala, who has a roster spot waiting if he decides to return:

“I leave Andre alone. He knows where we stand. If he wants to come back, we’d love to have him. The one thing we feel strongly about with Andre is we want to give him whatever space and time he needs to make a decision. I’m leaving him alone. Whenever he makes his decision is fine with us.”

Kerr, Draymond Convinced JaMychal Green To Join Warriors

New Warriors forward JaMychal Green said during his introductory press conference on Monday that he had been preparing to join another NBA team before he received a call from Golden State head coach Steve Kerr that made him change his mind, as Kendra Andrews of ESPN details.

“He told me that (the Warriors) were interested, that they wanted me here, wanted me to be a part of the program,” Green said. “After talking to him, I couldn’t tell him no. The organization and what they built over here, I’d love to be a part of it.”

Following his conversation with Kerr, Green placed a call to Draymond Green, whom he has known since the eighth grade through AAU basketball. As Andrews writes, that phone call helped solidify JaMychal’s decision.

“He was just excited,” JaMychal said. “We both know what we bring to the table, and we just had a good conversation about everything and he made it easy for me to come here.”

JaMychal Green, who spent last season in Denver, was traded to Oklahoma City in June and was subsequently bought out of his expiring contract by the Thunder. He’s joining a Warriors team that lost a pair of key reserve forwards – Otto Porter and Nemanja Bjelica – in free agency, and sees himself as someone who can help fill the hole those departures created, as a complementary piece to the team’s stars.

“Just come in and play hard,” Green said of the role he expects to play for his new team. “Be a dog. Do the dirty work — help Draymond out with the dirty work. Knock down shots and play defense. I feel like if you come here and handle your business, you set yourself up for life.”

Porter and Bjelica were two of the Warriors’ most reliable three-point shooters last season, making 37.0% and 36.2% of their three-point attempts, respectively. Green converted just 26.6% of his shots from beyond the arc last season for the Nuggets after entering the year with a 38.0% career rate — he said on Monday that he’s confident in his ability to bounce back, noting that a nagging wrist injury affected his effectiveness in ’21/22.

“Toward the end of the season I just stopped shooting, period,” Green said, according to Andrews. “It’s all about rest and confidence. As long as I get my reps in this summer, I’ll be good to go. I was just fighting through some things last year… it’s going to get up.”

Hornets Rumors: D’Antoni, Atkinson, Bridges, Trade Candidates

Mike D’Antoni is scheduled to meet with Hornets owner Michael Jordan on Tuesday to discuss the team’s head coaching position, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson had agreed earlier this month to become Charlotte’s new head coach, but backed out of his agreement with the team over the weekend.

D’Antoni, who was also a finalist before the Hornets chose Atkinson, had reportedly been scheduled to meet with Jordan a couple weeks ago, but it’s unclear if that sit-down ever took place — Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report wrote today that Atkinson was the only candidate to meet with the Hornets’ owner.

Besides D’Antoni, Terry Stotts was the other candidate believed to be a finalist for the Hornets before they reached a deal with Atkinson. It’s unclear if the team has any plans to meet with Stotts again now that its head coaching search is back on.

Here’s more on the Hornets:

  • The Hornets want to retain “a large portion” of James Borrego‘s coaching staff, since many of them have one guaranteed year remaining on their current contracts, according to Fischer. Atkinson had wanted to bring in some of his own assistants, but he and the Hornets weren’t able to come to financial agreements for them, sources tell Fischer, who notes that Charlotte’s assistant coaches are known to be among the NBA’s bottom five in terms of salary.
  • Fischer adds that Atkinson’s decision not to join the Hornets doesn’t appear to have anything to do with a succession plan in Golden State, since there’s no indication Warriors head coach Steve Kerr plans to go anywhere anytime soon.
  • The Pistons and Pacers are believed to have interest in pursuing restricted free agents this summer and have been the only teams mentioned as potential threats to pursue Hornets RFA Miles Bridges, reports Fischer. Shams Charania of The Athletic wrote on Monday that Charlotte may be reluctant to match a maximum-salary offer for Bridges.
  • The Hornets are expected to gauge the trade market for Terry Rozier, P.J. Washington, Kelly Oubre, and Mason Plumlee “in advance of Bridges’ free agency,” writes Fischer. The fact that Fischer links those potential trade talks to Bridges’ contract situation suggests that Charlotte may be trying to save some money that could be put toward Bridges’ new contract.

Warriors Notes: Green, Game 6, Kerr, Evans

Draymond Green admits the Celtics present certain challenges, but it’s not the same as facing LeBron James in the NBA Finals, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic. One victory away from picking up his fourth ring with the Warriors, Green reflected Wednesday on the four Finals matchups with James when he was in Cleveland.

“It doesn’t compare to mentally playing against LeBron James, who I think is arguably the smartest guy to ever play this game,” Green said. “Not one of, he is arguably the smartest guy to set foot on a basketball court. To say that it compares to that, it’s disrespectful to LeBron, and it’s a lie to you.”

Green noted that the Celtics provide matchup problems because they’re “super athletic,” but said he has been able to outthink them so far. He singled out point guard Marcus Smart and coach Ime Udoka as being especially cerebral, but again mentioned James and his ability to diagnose the game.

“Like that’s just a skill that not many people possess,” Green said. “Not many people can come and sit here and find a random stretch from seven minutes to four minutes in the second quarter and give you every play like to the T and not miss a beat. There’s not many people that can do that.”

There’s more on the Warriors:

  • Golden State will lean on its experience as it tries to wrap up the series in Boston tonight, according to Kendra Andrews of ESPN. The Warriors have been in this situation plenty of times before and realize the clinching game can be the hardest to win. “You just understand what the nerves are like,” Stephen Curry said. “We understand the specifics of how we need to approach the game from a physicality perspective, our game plan adjustments from Game 5 to Game 6, understanding what the building is going to feel like, that energy, being prepared for it.”
  • Steve Kerr has a chance to add another championship to his legacy of success, per Brian Mahoney of The Associated Press. Kerr is already the first person to win at least at least three titles as both a player and a coach. “Just hanging around the right people,” he said as an explanation. “You hang around superstars long enough, you’re going to get some residual success falling your way.”
  • Former NBA guard Tyreke Evans was among the players at a Warriors mini-camp held Wednesday, tweets JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors, who adds that Evans worked out for the team in March. Justin Tillman and Louis King also attended.

Pacific Notes: Green, Kerr, Daniels, Ayton

Warriors big man Draymond Green hopes to improve his on-court performance during Golden State’s Finals series against the Celtics, and is doing his darnedest to avoid distractions from off-court bad actors, per Marc J. Spears of Andscape. Celtics fans erupted into an explicative-laden chant aimed at Green during the Warriors’ 116-100 Game 3 loss to the Boston.

“They are just talking,” Green said following the Wednesday loss. “Not really my job to react to them. They did what I expected… I have to come out and play with more force.”

The four-time All-Star, also a 2022 All-Defensive Second Team honoree, has had a lackluster Finals series. He is averaging 4.3 PPG, 5.8 APG, 7.3 RPG, and 4.5 fouls a night. He was benched for much of the fourth quarter during the Warriors’ 107-97 Game 4 road victory.

There’s more out of the Pacific Division:

  • Warriors head coach Steve Kerr has enjoyed a masterful 2021/22 season with Golden State, opines Tim Kawakami of The Athletic. Kerr’s Warriors successfully knotted their 2022 Finals series against the Celtics 2-2 on Friday. It marks Golden State’s sixth Finals appearance during Kerr’s eight years with the club. Beyond the team’s core of All-Stars Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, and Andrew Wiggins, plus shooting guard Klay Thompson, and center Kevon Looney, Kawakami writes that Kerr has adeptly adjusted his rotations for the rest of the team’s personnel to fit a variety of on-court situations.
  • The Kings, who have the fourth pick in the upcoming draft, have scheduled a workout with G League Ignite guard Dyson Daniels, tweets Josh Robbins of The Athletic. Daniels is currently ranked as the No. 6 prospect on ESPN’s big board. Robbins adds that Daniels has previously worked out for several other teams, including the Pistons and Spurs.
  • Following a disappointing Western Conference Semifinals loss to the Mavericks, the Suns face an uncertain future. The team’s biggest decision this summer concerns the fate of restricted free agent center Deandre Ayton, who had an excellent regular season but struggled through an inconsistent postseason. In a pair of subscriber-only stories, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic identifies five things Phoenix should do if it wants to trade Ayton, and five things the club should do if it wants to retain him.

Warriors Notes: Green, Kerr, Curry, Kuminga

Warriors star Draymond Green made an impact in Game 4 despite continuing to struggle with his scoring, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports writes. Green has averaged 4.3 points per game against the defensive-minded Celtics so far in the Finals, scoring only two points on Friday and receiving more criticism from some fans.

What tends to go unnoticed is the impact Green made this season and in Game 4 despite his lackluster scoring. Green recorded nine rebounds, eight assists and four steals in the contest, helping the Warriors save points on the defensive end throughout the game.

When you factor in Green’s assists, he was responsible for roughly 20 points in the game. He averaged 7.5 points, 7.3 rebounds and 7.0 assists per outing this season, and that doesn’t include hockey assists, passes leading to free throws, and more.

Here are some other notes out of Golden State today:

  • Head coach Steve Kerr subbed Green out as Boston went on a fourth-quarter run last game, David Aldridge of The Athletic notes. Green was replaced by Kevon Looney at the 7:32 mark. Green, re-inserted with 3:41 left in the game, then made some key plays down the stretch. Aldridge contends that Kerr’s gamble paid off — and when it happens during the NBA Finals, it’s often a matter of trust.
  • Stephen Curry showed how championships are won with an electric performance on Friday, Jared Weiss of The Athletic writes. Curry finished with 43 points, 10 rebounds and four assists, helping the Warriors avoid a 3-1 deficit. The team now has home court advantage in a best-of-three series.
  • Rookie forward Jonathan Kuminga is a risky option against these Celtics, but it may be necessary down the stretch, Tim Kawakami of The Athletic writes. Kawakami’s article was published before Golden State’s Game 4 win, but Kuminga could still be used before the series ends.

Warriors Notes: Wiggins, Green, Kerr, Porter

While no one is confusing Andrew Wiggins for Kevin Durant, the former No. 1 pick is having a major impact for the Warriors in this year’s playoffs, writes Rohan Nadkarni of SI.com, noting that the trades Golden State made as a result of Durant’s departure in 2019 – first for D’Angelo Russell, then for Wiggins – are paying dividends now.

As John Schuhmann of NBA.com tweets, no player among the four active teams has registered a better on/off differential since the start of the postseason than Wiggins. Golden State has a +13.2 net rating in his 461 postseason minutes, compared to a -9.2 mark in the 211 minutes he hasn’t played.

“I can tell you everybody in the organization is happy he’s here,” Klay Thompson said of Wiggins on Sunday. “Without him we would not be where we’re at.”

Wiggins’ performance in 2021/22 has been worthy of his $31.6MM salary, according to Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic, who wonders if a contract extension could be in the cards this offseason for the 27-year-old forward. Wiggins will be entering the final year of his current deal, and while it remains to be seen if the franchise will make big long-term commitments to both him and Jordan Poole, the team has no plans to move on from Wiggins anytime soon, Thompson writes.

Here’s more on the Warriors:

  • Although this year represents the first time since 2019 that the Warriors have made the playoffs, Draymond Green believes it’s more accurate to say that Golden State’s dynasty was on a hiatus due to injuries than to say it ended. “None of these people really removed us from this space,” Green told ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk, as Ramona Shelburne relays. Toronto beat us, but no one really came and said, ‘All right, the Golden State Warriors’ time is up.'”
  • The Warriors appear to be rounding into championship form at the right time, Tim Kawakami writes for The Athletic. “This is probably our best stretch of the season, where we’ve been able to put together lineups and combinations that maybe we weren’t able to get to in the regular season,” head coach Steve Kerr said on Sunday. “And we’ve got a lot of guys playing at a high level right now.”
  • Kerr and his coaching staff are delivering a masterpiece of a series in the Western Finals, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic, who breaks down film of the Warriors on offense and defense to show how they’re stymieing the Mavs.
  • In case you missed it, X-rays on Otto Porter Jr.‘s injured left foot were negative, but it remains unclear whether the veteran forward will have to miss much time due to the injury. He’ll be listed as doubtful for Game 4 on Tuesday, according to Kerr, who said Porter “wasn’t feeling terrible” this morning (Twitter link via Slater).

Steve Kerr Returning To Warriors Bench For WCF Game 1

Warriors head coach Steve Kerr has exited the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols and will be available to coach the club in the Western Conference Finals, per Anthony Slater of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Kerr had entered the NBA’s coronavirus protocols ahead of Game 4 in the Western Conference Semifinals series vs. the Grizzlies. Warriors associate head coach Mike Brown, who will depart Golden State’s bench after the season to become the Kings’ head coach, stepped in for Kerr for the final three games of the series. Brown guided the Warriors to an eventual 4-2 second-round series victory.

The Warriors will be playing in their sixth Western Conference Finals since Kerr’s hiring in 2014. Golden State will face the winner of tonight’s Game 7 second-round matchup between the top-seeded Suns and the fourth-seeded Mavericks. Game 1 of the Western Finals is scheduled for Wednesday.

Kerr offered an update on the health of Otto Porter Jr., as well, noting that the Warriors forward did not partake in on-court workouts with the team, per Kendra Andrews of ESPN (Twitter link). Porter, who missed the team’s series-clinching Game 6 of the Conference Semifinals due to right foot soreness, was exercising on a stationary bike today, per Slater (via Twitter).

“I talked to him and he said he was feeling better,” Kerr said. “We’re hopeful he will be able to play Game 1.”

According to Andrews (Twitter link), Kerr also offered up an injury update on another Warriors role player, suggesting that guard Gary Payton II may become available to suit up for Golden State at some point during the next round of the playoffs.

“It would be a long shot for him to play, but I think it’s a possibility,” Kerr said.

Payton suffered a left elbow fracture at the hands of Dillon Brooks on May 3, and was initially expected to miss at least three-to-five weeks of game action. A Western Conference Finals return would be on the early side of that timeline.

Warriors’ Otto Porter Jr. Out For Game 6

Warriors acting head coach Mike Brown told reporters, including Mark Medina of NBA.com (Twitter link), that Otto Porter Jr. will miss Friday’s Game 6 against the Grizzlies. Porter had previously been listed as questionable with right foot soreness.

Brown said he’s contemplating tweaking the rotation with Porter sidelined, with more minutes for Kevon Looney, Jonathan Kuminga and Nemanja Bjelica, Medina tweets.

As Anthony Slater of The Athletic observes, Porter’s absence is a major loss for the Warriors, as he’s been a key cog of Golden State’s best lineups against Memphis. In the second-round series, the Warriors are +45 in Porter’s 106 on-court minutes, and -55 in 134 minutes without him (Twitter links).

In 63 regular season games this season, Porter averaged 8.2 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.1 steals on .464/.370/.803 shooting in 22.2 minutes per night. Those figures seem relatively modest, but the 28-year-old forward is a good rebounder, smart defender and has a high basketball IQ. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent this summer.

In other Warriors news, Tim Kawakami of The Athletic reports (via Twitter) that head coach Steve Kerr, who’s currently in the league’s health and safety protocols, might miss Game 7 if the Grizzlies win tonight. The Warriors currently lead the series 3-2, so it’s an elimination game for Memphis. Kerr still needs to return two negative COVID-19 tests prior to making his return, but he’s been actively involved in creating game plans via phone and video calls, Kawakami notes.