Steve Kerr

Pacific Notes: Jackson, Clippers, Paul

No stranger to the spotlight, Josh Jackson thrived with all eyes watching how he would fare in his first summer league. In his first five games in Las Vegas, the No. 4 overall pick flourished for the Suns, Andrew Vailliencourt of The Republic writes.

Suns summer league coach Marion Garnett sees Jackson’s desire to lead the team and recognizes that it will likely be a factor when he joins the rest of his team in Phoenix.

He has it in him,” Garnett said. “It’s kind of what he’s wired with, to be the lead dog. I don’t know how that dynamic is going to play out with our regular [Suns] group, but he does have it in him.”

In five games with the Suns’ summer league squad, Jackson posted 17.4 points and 9.2 rebounds per game.

There’s more out of the Pacific Division:

  • The Warriors have had a successful offseason, at least in the eyes of head coach Steve Kerr. Anthony Slater of the Mercury News recently caught up with the bench boss. “Happy for Steph that he got paid,” Kerr said. “Happy for Andre that he was rewarded for what he’s done here and I think he’s got gas left in the tank. KD facilitated a lot of that.
  • The Clippers‘ move to add Danilo Gallinari could be indicative of the strategy Doc Rivers plans to take in 2017/18. “Losing Chris Paul is tough because he is a great player,” Rivers told Marc Spears of The Undefeated. “But we have a lot of great players on our team that play so many different ways. That is why ‘Gallo’ is so important to us, because our thought was that if you’re not going to run a point guard-dominated offense, then you’ve got to run a movement offense with versatility.
  • After an injury plagued few seasons, Doc Rivers believes the Clippers‘ success was too dependent on the health of Chris Paul, Mark Medina of the Orange County Register writes.

Pacific Notes: Curry, Kerr, Draft, Warriors, Kings

Stephen Curry was more valuable to the Warriors offensively this season than Kevin Durant, writes Kevin Pelton of ESPN.com. In a fascinating piece about the relative value of the pair, Pelton points to Curry’s passing ability and the game-changing effect his lethal three-point shooting has on drawing defenders. As a result, ESPN’s real plus-minus (RPM) views Curry as having been far more valuable than Durant this season. However, the writer does allow for Durant’s already high value improving next season and beyond. Adjustments were constantly being made during KD’s first year on the team.

Here’s more from the Pacific division:

  • Although the Warriors presently lack a pick in this week’s draft, the team held a pre-draft workout on Tuesday, tweets Jeremy Woo. According to Woo, the participants were Canyon Barry (Florida), Sterling Brown (SMU), Chance Comanche (Arizona), Bronson Koenig (Wisconsin), Ben Moore (SMU), and Tai Webster (Nebraska).
  • Warriors head coach Steve Kerr will be given time off throughout the summer to explore options for alleviating his back problems, according to Janie McCauley of The Associated Press“I think at the point we’re at now, it’s what makes you 5-10-15 percent better? And that’s what he’s going to pursue and explore with our blessing,” GM Bob Myers said.
  • In the wake of Chris Granger‘s resignation Monday as president of the Kings, Ailene Voison of The Sacramento Bee explains why the departure signifies a major loss to both the franchise and the community. Golden 1 Center stands as Granger’s crowning achievement as Kings president. About Granger, team owner Vivek Ranadive said, “I’m really sad Chris is leaving, but when I recruited him, I also knew it wasn’t going to be forever. He built the arena. He stayed a year (afterward). I told him, ‘I’d like to keep you, but I also understand you don’t want to be selling sponsorships your whole life.’ He’s a big time guy.”
  • The Kings‘ top priority should be to find a point guard to grow their nucleus around, writes Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. Each team in the Pacific division is stacked at point guard, except for the Kings, who have Darren Collison and Ty Lawson, both free agents. Jones suggests that the team draft its point guard of the future, with many talented floor generals available, even if De’Aaron Fox (Kentucky) is drafted before the Kings pick at No. 5.

Warriors Notes: Curry, Durant, Livingston, Kerr

Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant are willing to be flexible with their contracts to give the Warriors the best shot at repeating, relays Anthony Slater of The San Jose Mercury News. Curry is eligible for a five-year mega max deal this summer worth about $205MM. His contract would start at about $35.5MM next season and climb to roughly $46.7MM in the final year. “As we go into talks and this whole process — which is obviously new for me — I will approach it as getting the most as I can as an individual, as a player, something I’ve been working for for a very long time,” Curry said. “In the context of keeping the team together, if there are decisions that need to be made, we’ll talk about [a slightly smaller deal] for sure.”

Durant would be eligible for the same contract, but because he just signed with the team last summer, the Warriors don’t have his Bird rights. They would have to renounce Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston to open enough cap space for Durant. An alternative is a 20% raise from this season, which would bump Durant’s salary to $31.8MM and permit Golden State to go over the cap to keep Iguodala and Livingston. “I feel as though I am going to be back here — no question,” Durant said. “We’ll all figure something out, work something out. I want to be here.”

There’s more news out of Golden State:

  • Past dynasties have demonstrated that not everyone can receive fair market value, writes Moke Hamilton of Basketball Insiders. The toughest decisions this summer will involve Iguodala, Zaza Pachulia and David West, three unrestricted veteran free agents who may be looking at their last chance for big-money contracts.
  • Another of Golden State’s 10 free agents is Livingston, who also prefers to stay with the Warriors, according to Chris Haynes of ESPN.com. Livingston could be looking at a substantial raise after making a combined $16.5MM in his three years with Golden State. “I think we’ll all love to keep this group together and see what we’re able to accomplish together,” Livingston said. “But we’ll see what happens when that time comes. There’s obviously a domino effect. Guys have decisions to make, but it’s about enjoying this journey, this moment that we’re on right now.”
  • Steve Kerr discusses his unusual role in the title run and his future in coaching in a podcast with Zach Lowe of ESPN.com.

Finals Roundup: Kerr, Warriors, Cavs, Barnes, West

An NBA general manager typically doesn’t need to confirm in the hours following a championship that his head coach will return for the following season, but in Steve Kerr‘s case, it wasn’t necessarily a sure thing — for health, rather than performance, reasons. However, despite Kerr’s back issues, Warriors general manager Bob Myers is confident that his head coach will be back on the bench for the 2017/18 season, as he tells Chris Haynes of ESPN.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that he will return as the coach of this team,” Myers said after Game 5. “I’m confident we’ll have him back. Steve will be our coach.”

Kerr expressed a similar sentiment in a recent interview with Tim Kawakami of The San Jose Mercury News, suggesting that even if he wasn’t able to make it back to coach the Warriors in this year’s Finals, he’d be ready for opening night in the fall. Ultimately, Kerr returned to the sidelines in time to lead the Warriors to their second title in three years.

Here are a few more Finals-related odds and ends worth passing along:

  • Although it only took five games for the Warriors to dispatch of the Cavaliers, Cleveland head coach Tyronn Lue doesn’t believe there’s a “big gap”  between the two teams, as Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com details.
  • Within McMenamin’s piece, LeBron James acknowledged that the Warriors will “be around for a while,” but said he doesn’t think the Cavaliers are going anywhere either. “I know our front office is going to continue to try to put our franchise in a position where we can compete for a championship year in and year out,” James said. “Like I said, teams and franchises are going to be trying to figure out ways that they can put personnel together, the right group of guys together to be able to hopefully compete against [the Warriors].”
  • The Warriors are already massive favorites to win the 2018 NBA Finals, according to professional oddsmakers. “They’re going to be the highest favorite we’ve ever had going into a season, any team in any sport,” Jeff Sherman of the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook tells David Purdum of ESPN.com.
  • The Cavaliers need to find a way to get younger and more athletic, according to Sam Amico of AmicoHoops.net, who writes that the club’s bench is “a mess.”
  • After 14 NBA seasons, Matt Barnes finally has a championship under his belt, but he doesn’t plan to ride off into the sunset. According to Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee (Twitter link), Barnes said that he has no plans to retire and hopes to return to the Warriors.
  • Two years ago, David West left $11MM on the table by turning down his option with the Pacers to chase a ring. Dakota Crawford of The Indianapolis Star takes a look at the culmination of West’s hunt for a championship.

Kerr Intends To Coach Game 2, Series

Steve Kerr will coach in Game 2 of the NBA Finals tonight, ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne tweets. The last-minute decision was announced less than two hours before opening tip.

Kerr, out of action since Game 3 of Golden State’s first-round series with the Blazers, spoke with the media and, per Baxter Holmes of ESPN, has said that he intends to coach the remainder of the series.

Kerr made the decision to return to the sidelines this morning, ESPN’s Chris Haynes says in a tweet of his own.

Kerr also mentioned that his back feels as it did throughout the regular season when he coached all 82 games, Anthony Slater of the Mercury News tweets.

The decision likely came as a surprise to the Warriors, Tim Kawakami of the Mercury News tweets, saying that he didn’t know anybody from the organization expected this yesterday.

Game 2 Return A Possibility For Steve Kerr

Although Warriors head coach Steve Kerr wasn’t healthy enough to return to the team’s bench for Game 1 of the NBA Finals, there’s still a chance he’ll be back before the end of the series. According to an ESPN report from Ramona Shelburne, Chris Haynes, and Marc Spears, there’s “some optimism” that Kerr could coach Golden State in Game 2 on Sunday.

Team sources tell ESPN that Kerr had a “bad day” on Wednesday, eliminating the possibility of him coaching the Warriors in Game 1. While acting head coach Mike Brown wanted Kerr to make a game-time decision on coaching Game 1, Kerr felt it was important to string together several good days of health before returning to the team’s bench.

Kerr implied earlier this week that he might make a definitive decision on his status if he was unable to coach Game 1, but the Warriors’ brass wants to remain patient, and is open to having the club’s head coach return later in the series if possible. GM Bob Myers told ESPN that Golden State is “not closing the door” on Kerr’s return in the Finals.

While Kerr’s back troubles have sidelined him for a good chunk of this year’s playoffs, he told Tim Kawakami of The San Jose Mercury News this week that he definitely intends to continue his coaching career, and is optimistic he’ll be ready to go in the fall if he’s not able to come back in the Finals.

Warriors Notes: Kerr, Brown, Irving, Luxury Tax

Steve Kerr hasn’t decided if he will try to coach the Warriors during the NBA Finals, according to Tim Kawakami of The San Jose Mercury News. Kerr’s physical condition has improved since he took a leave of absence from the team midway through the first round of the playoffs. He was able to run practice Monday and Tuesday and handled the coach’s media session Monday. However, he is still well short of being 100% and is being cautious about returning to the team in such an important situation.

There’s more Warriors news on the eve of the NBA Finals:

  • Kerr states in the same interview that he definitely plans to coach again next season. He remains optimistic about his long-term physical condition and has no plans to step aside. “You know, it’s a little trickier, since this has been going on,” Kerr explained. “I sort of assumed all last year that by the summer I’d get this thing knocked out. It’s been kind of a mystery and that’s what so frustrating. But I have every intention to coach for a long time. It’s scary stuff and still hoping for a better resolution to it.”
  • Interim coach Mike Brown doesn’t view this series as a shot at revenge, even though the Cavaliers fired him twice, relays Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. Brown served as head coach in Cleveland for five seasons before being let go in 2010. He was rehired in 2013, but was fired again after just one season, reportedly with $12MM in guaranteed money left on his contract. Despite his history, Brown said he has no ill feelings toward owner Dan Gilbert or the city of Cleveland. “My son goes to school back there, I still have a house back there, I have fond memories back there,” Brown said at today’s “media day” at Oracle Arena. “And went back there a second time with a good buddy of mine, [former Cavs GM] Chris Grant, and saw them put this plan into motion that is going on now.”
  • Kyrie Irving regrets the rocky relationship he had with Brown when they were together for his rookie season, relays Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com. Irving called it a “learning experience,” as things got so bad that Brown recommended that the front office try to trade Irving. “I understand that things happen in this league sometimes, whether controlled or uncontrolled,” Irving said. “I was a 21-year-old kid, just trying to lead a franchise, and he was a new head coach that I had to get introduced to a new offense, new players, as well as new system.”
  • Once Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant are re-signed this summer, the Warriors will be headed for uncharted territory in their salary and luxury tax bills, tweets Bobby Marks of The Vertical. Golden State could wind up paying more in tax penalties than salary for the 2019/20 and 2020/21 seasons, and the total could be more than $600MM over the two years.

Western Rumors: Kerr, Parker, Ingles, Lakers

Warriors coach Steve Kerr says it’s unlikely that he’ll be on the bench for Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday, as he discussed with Anthony Slater of the San Jose Mercury News and the assembled media on Monday. Mike Brown has filled in for Kerr on the sidelines for much of the postseason, though Brown himself missed practice on Monday because of the flu. Kerr will travel to Cleveland when the series shifts there and says he’s been at practices and coaches meetings, but coaching during a game is still an issue because of back pain, Slater continues. The pain became severe during the opening-round series against the Trail Blazers. “You saw me in the fourth quarter of Game 2. I could not sit still in my chair,” Kerr said. “There was that much pain. I would say I’ve gotten a little bit better. That’s why I’m here talking to you right now. But you can probably tell, I’m not sitting here happy-go-lucky.”

In other news around the Western Conference:

  • Spurs guard Tony Parker expects to return from his torn quad injury in January, as he told the French magazine L’Equipe and relayed by Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia. Parker required surgery earlier this month for the tear, which he suffered during the Western Conference semifinals against the Rockets. Parker will make $15.45MM in the final year of his contract next season.
  • Gordon Hayward‘s decision in free agency won’t influence Jazz swingman Joe Ingles, according to Olgun Uluc of  Foxsports.com. Ingles will be a restricted free agent once the Jazz extend him a qualifying offer of $2.687MM, which they almost assuredly will do. Ingles averaged 7.1 PPG, 3.2 RPG and 2.7 APG while shooting 44.1% from long range this past season. He would like to stay put, as he told Uluc.  “I think we’ve got the team,” he said. “Obviously, Gordon is a big part of that, so his free agency — it’s not going to change what I’m going to do or where I want to go — but, we’re a different team depending on whether he’s there or not. I’m not gonna be sitting there calling Gordon every two minutes, but if everything works out in Utah and they want me, and it all comes together, that’s great.”
  • California forward Ivan Rabb headlines a group of six players that will work out for the Lakers on Tuesday, which was posted on the team’s website. Rabb is currently ranked No. 25 overall by DraftExpress and Los Angeles owns the No. 28 selection, as well as the No. 2 overall pick. He’ll be joined by four potential second-rounders in Clemson forward Jaron Blossomgame (49th), Oregon guard Tyler Dorsey (46th), Nevada forward Cameron Oliver (59th) and SMU forward Sterling Brown (57th), as well as Florida State guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes.

Steve Kerr’s Status Remains Uncertain

The Warriors are headed back to the NBA Finals, but they aren’t sure if head coach Steve Kerr will be able to join them, writes Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com.

“Just day-by-day,” Kerr told ESPN’s Marc Spears after Golden State finished off a sweep of the Spurs Monday night. Games 3 and 4 in San Antonio marked the first time Kerr has been able to travel with the team since he was forced to take a medical leave of absence midway through the first round.

The Finals don’t start until June 1st, giving Kerr nine more days to recover from lingering complications related to back surgery he underwent two years ago. However, sources say he still has significant pain and his presence in San Antonio and at Game 2 in Oakland aren’t a sign of progress.

Owner Joe Lacob told ESPN his advice to Kerr was to take “as long as he wants” to get back to coaching.

“He is a fantastic coach and a fantastic human being and a great friend,” Lacob said. “I told him the other day, ‘I don’t even want to talk about or think about anything other than winning this championship. You can contribute in any way you can, and we’ll worry about the future in the future.’ He is still here. He’s in the locker room. He’s around. His imprint is all over this I don’t view it as he’s not here; he’s just not on the bench.”

Pacific Notes: Kerr, Pachulia, Ball, Suns

Steve Kerr isn’t expected to coach the Warriors in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals, but he will accompany the team on its trip to San Antonio, according to Connor Letourneau of SFGate. GM Bob Myers relayed the news in a radio interview today. It’s the latest sign of improving health for Kerr, who watched from the locker room during Game 2 in Oakland. He has been out of action since health problems stemming from his 2015 back surgery forced him to leave the team midway through its first-round series. Lead assistant Mike Brown has guided the team to an 8-0 record in his place.

There’s more tonight from the Pacific Division:

  • Spurs fans may get a chance to vent their anger at Warriors center Zaza Pachulia after all. Pachulia, who became a villain in San Antonio after his collision with Kawhi Leonard in Game 1 aggravated the Spurs star’s sprained ankle, left Game 2 in the first quarter with a right heel contusion. Pachulia underwent an MRI today, which came back negative, tweets Chris Haynes of ESPN.com. Pachulia is listed as day-to-day.
  • Many experts believe the Lakers should grab Lonzo Ball with their No. 2 pick, writes Mark Medina of The Orange County Register. Although Washington’s Markelle Fultz is considered a standout choice to be taken first, Ball is “potentially a transformational-type point guard,” according to Stu Jackson of Turner Sports. “What makes him special are the same qualities that made a guy like Magic Johnson or Jason Kidd special,” Jackson said. “Lonzo sees plays most players don’t see.”
  • The Suns were among the losers in Tuesday’s lottery, but they still have plenty of attractive draft options, according to Doug Haller of The Arizona Republic. Phoenix entered the night with the second-best shot at a No. 1 pick, but slid to fourth as the Lakers and Sixers both moved up. Haller states that Suns fans can console themselves with the possible addition of Kentucky’s De’Aaron Fox, Kansas’ Josh Jackson, Duke’s Jayson Tatum or Florida State’s Jonathan Isaac. Opting for Fox, Haller notes, would probably make Eric Bledsoe expendable in a trade.
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