Steve Kerr

Warriors Notes: Curry, Looney, Chriss, Hard Cap

Stephen Curry hasn’t given up on the championship dream with the Warriors this season despite the loss of Kevin Durant and long-term injury to Klay Thompson, as he told Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

“A championship is still the goal,” Curry said. “It’s always been. We’ve experienced it all and we’re going to keep pushing to get back there. That’s the goal. It’s the North Star. The narrative might have changed internally, but we’re still chasing the same goal.”

We have more on the Warriors:

  • Frontcourt injuries have made for a difficult preseason, Anthony Slater of The Athletic notes. The Warriors have gone most of the preseason without Willie Cauley-Stein and Kevon Looney and their absences have shown in preseason losses to the Lakers. “We need to get healthy,” coach Steve Kerr said. “You have to have rim protection in this league.” Kerr is hopeful that Looney, who has been sidelined by a hamstring injury, can return for the season opener, Slater tweets.
  • The team is now technically $375K under the hard cap after deciding to waive Alfonzo McKinnie and retaining Marquese Chriss, salary cap expert Albert Nahmad tweets. However, since Chriss’ contract doesn’t become fully guaranteed until January 10th, the Warriors are essentially $2MM below the hard cap with Chriss’ deal counting $9,485 daily until that deadline, Nahmad adds.
  • Draymond Green ripped the Suns’ organization for mishandling Chriss during his time there, Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area writes. Chriss was the eighth overall pick in 2016 but lasted just two seasons in Phoenix. “No one ever blames these (lousy) franchises. They always want to blame the kid. It’s not always the kid’s fault,” Green said.

Pacific Notes: Smailagic, Adams, Diallo, Shamet

Warriors rookie big man Alen Smailagic has a severe ankle sprain, Anthony Slater of The Athletic tweets. Coach Steve Kerr said Smailagic, a second-round pick, will be out for the “foreseeable future” due to the injury.

The 18-year-old Serbian played in the G League for Santa Cruz – the Warriors’ affiliate – in 2018/19 but wasn’t draft-eligible until this year. He was shut down early in the pre-draft process and was “hidden” in Serbia from the rest of the NBA. He signed a four-year, minimum salary contract with two years guaranteed.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Kings never seriously considered trading for Thunder center Steven Adams, Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee reports.  The Thunder are reportedly seeking a significant return for their top big man and were hoping to pry away Buddy Hield or Bogdan Bogdanovic in talks with Sacramento.
  • The Suns have numerous options at the power forward and center spots but Cheick Diallo could be in the mix, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic writes. Diallo was signed to a two-year contract after spending three seasons with the Pelicans. “He’s a really active player,” Suns coach Monty Williams said. “He can score around the basket. He’s trying to defend. … He just plays hard. Gives you a different edge at that four-five spot.”
  • Landry Shamet and rookie Terance Mann are the main backup options to Clippers point guard Patrick Beverley despite having backgrounds at the wing positions, Mirjan Swanson of the Orange County Register relays. Coach Doc Rivers believes Shamet will emerge in that role. “Landry will play point a lot this year,” Rivers said. “There’s no doubt about that. Because he can do a lot of things that very few guys can do, (Stephen) Curry-like. He can push it up, throw it and run and still score.”

Western Notes: Kerr, Clippers, Melli, Mavs

All the changes to the Warriors roster will make training camp “critical,” coach Steve Kerr told Anthony Slater of The Athletic. While in recent years the Warriors have only made tweaks to their scheme, this training camp will involve sorting out the rotation and finding the team’s strengths.

“This year, it’s totally different,” Kerr said. “Nobody really knows each other that well. We’re really going to have to examine our team in camp, the exhibition season, early in the season. Figure out the best way to play on both ends.”

Kerr sees the need to take more control of the offense.

“When you lose continuity, it’s more important to have sets and calls that you can rely on,” he said. “Random stuff gets more difficult if you don’t know each other well.”

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • Sixth man Lou Williams was the Clippers’ closer the last couple of seasons, but the additions of superstars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George change that dynamic, as coach Doc Rivers explained to Jovan Buha of The Athletic. “Lou is always going to be a closer, but it’s more closing plays now than who the closer is,” Rivers said. “You know who the closers are. The fact that that’s plural is a very good thing. Now it’ll be the closing lineups, the closing sets, the closing formations.”
  • Pelicans forward Nicolo Melli has returned to the court after undergoing offseason knee surgery, Will Guillory of The Athletic tweets. Melli skipped the FIBA World Cup due to the injury. The 28-year-old signed a two-year, $8MM contract in July after playing professionally in Europe for over a decade.
  • The Mavericks have prioritized continuity on their roster, Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News notes. More than half of the players on the training camp roster have played at least half a season for Dallas, Townsend notes. The Mavs have also invested $320MM in guaranteed contracts over the next four seasons, Townsend adds.

Kerr Hopes Livingston Returns To Warriors In Some Capacity

Shaun Livingston was among the many Warriors to depart this offseason. His release, while prudently planned, was not an easy decision for the franchise, as coach Steve Kerr tells LetsGoWarriors (h/t Josh Schrock of NBC Sports).

“It’s something we anticipated because of his age, his contract situation,” Kerr said. “I was prepared for that one, but it’s still a huge loss from a leadership standpoint. Shaun is one of those people that you just want to be with in any circumstance. He’s smart, funny and humble. He’s just a great human being. He also happens to be a hell of a basketball player and a good teammate. I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed my five years with Shaun.”

Livingston was a valued veteran in Golden State’s locker room. The point guard is currently a free agent and some have speculated that he will retire rather than play another season. Kerr hopes Livingston returns to the organization in some capacity.

“He’s somebody I’m hoping can be involved with our organization for many years to come,” Kerr said. “That would be the plan if we can pull it off, but he’s got to get away right now and get some freedom, enjoy his family before he figures out what’s next.”

Steve Kerr Talks Changes To Warriors’ Roster, Team Decisions

It’s been a while since Golden State entered a season without being viewed as the undisputed favorite to win it all. In many ways, things will feel different in Northern California this upcoming season, as the Warriors will play in a new arena without the championship expectations to which they’ve grown accustomed.

“This summer was painful in many ways, losing the guys that we did,” said coach Steve Kerr said. “But reassuring, in the sense that we brought back some key guys who are going to help us kind of get to that next era, whatever that looks like.”

The Warriors lost Kevin Durant in free agency and cut ties with several key contributors from their championship runs, including Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston. Golden State retained some stability after the franchise inked Klay Thompson to a five-year deal.

Draymond Green also signed a new deal this summer, putting pen to paper on a four-year extension. Kerr said that he and GM Bob Myers have discussed securing Green long-term for quite some time.

“I think every player sort of faces these moments where they’ve got to decide, ‘Am I going to mitigate risk and sign something now or play it out?’ That’s up to them,” Kerr said. “Obviously, everyone goes about it differently. But it didn’t surprise me that Draymond signed. He wanted to be here. He’s talked about it all along.”

D’Angelo Russell will join the mix and Kerr called the point guard a “great young talent” who’s going to “fit right in” with the group.

“Without Klay, especially, we’ll need D’Angelo’s scoring and it’s up to us as a staff to figure out how best to use him to shake the team, shake the offense. And we’ll figure it out,” Kerr said.

With Thompson slated to miss considerable time next season, the Warriors will have to rely on young, unproven options to get them through the year. Kerr is embracing the challenge of building the team back up to a championship level.

“I’d rather be the favorite again, to be honest with you,” Kerr said. “But I like coaching. Every year’s a little different. This will be a lot different. But I’m excited to coach the guys who are coming back and the many young, new players that we’ve got. It’s a new challenge and I’m excited for it.”

Pacific Notes: Kerr/Davis, Rubio, Harding, Vogel

As if the Pacific Division wasn’t already exciting enough after a summer that saw Kevin Durant leave and Anthony Davis, Paul George, and 2019 NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard arrive to join LeBron James and Stephen Curry, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr added some fuel to the divisional fire today when he criticized Davis’ public trade demand out of New Orleans.

Appearing on NBC Sports’ Warriors Insider Podcast (h/t to ESPN), Kerr said there is a troubling trend in the NBA right now wherein players who are healthy and still have a couple of years left on their deal (e.g. Davis) publicly request a trade. Kerr said that situations like that are both a “real problem” and “bad for the league.”

“I’m talking more about the Anthony Davis situation… where a guy is perfectly healthy and has a couple years left on his deal and says, ‘I want to leave.’ That’s a real problem that the league has to address and that the players have to be careful with.”

“When you sign on that dotted line, you owe your effort and your play to that team, to that city, to the fans… (and) if you sign the contract, then you should be bound to that contract… (Now) If you come to an agreement with the team that, ‘Hey, it’s probably best for us to part ways,’ that’s one thing, (b)ut the Davis stuff was really kind of groundbreaking — and hopefully not a trend, because it’s bad for the league.”

There’s more out of the Pacific Division this evening:

  • The Suns have been searching for a point guard to help lead them back up from the bottom of the Western Conference standings for years now, and the three qualities that veteran Ricky Rubio possesses that makes Phoenix think he’s the guy are playmaking, defense, and leadership, writes Cody Cunningham of Suns.com.
  • Lindsey Harding, recently hired as an assistant coach for the Kings under head coach Luke Walton, says that fear of the unknown is more of a factor than a lack of respect for women coaches when it comes to the absence of a female head coach in the NBA today (per Ramona Shelburne of ESPN).
  • New Lakers head coach Frank Vogel plans to incorporate a similar style of play incorporated by Walton, telling Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated that he will continue preaching pace, attacking the basket, and shooting a lot of free throws. But more importantly, Vogel’s goal will be to put shooters at all four positions around James, including center, a la Brook Lopez surrounding Giannis Antetokounmpo in Milwaukee.

Durant, Cousins Could Miss Conference Finals

Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins are not close to returning to action, Warriors coach Steve Kerr told the media, including the Associated Press’ Janie McCauley, on Monday.

A report earlier in the day indicated Durant would miss at least Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals on Tuesday with his calf strain. Durant was injured during Game 5 of the conference semifinals against Houston.

Kerr said Durant hadn’t “even stepped on the floor” yet, so any speculation about when he’ll return is pointless.

“We’ve tried to remain somewhat vague because the injury is really sort of open-ended in terms of how long he’s going to need to recover. But I think in doing so people have gotten the idea that he’s going to come back and be Willis Reed or something,” Kerr said. “He hasn’t even stepped on the floor yet, he still has pain. There’s time ahead of him on the rehab process.”

Golden State defeated Houston on the road Saturday without Durant to wrap up that series. Now, the Warriors are faced with the possibility of playing without Durant for much, if not all, of the conference finals against Portland. The Trail Blazers are banged up as well, as they’ve advanced through the playoffs without starting center Jusuf Nurkic. Key reserve Rodney Hood suffered a bone bruise on his knee Sunday in Game 7 against Denver.

Cousins partially tore his left quadriceps muscle in Game 2 of the first round against the Clippers. There has been growing optimism that he’d back at some point during the conference finals but Kerr downplayed that possibility.

“He hasn’t had any live stuff on the court yet, so he’s not that close either,” Kerr said. “Hopefully another week goes by and things start to get better and now we have a better prognosis. At this point we’re getting ready for this series without both of them.”

Pacific Notes: Beverley, Kerr, LeBron, Vogel

Clippers guard Patrick Beverley is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, a process the 30-year-old is looking forward to after his seventh NBA season.

Beverley, who averaged 7.6 points, 3.8 assists, 0.9 steals and 27.4 minutes in 78 games with Los Angeles this year, discussed a variety of subjects with Khari Arnold in a story posted to NBA.com this week — including where his mind stands ahead of the free agency period.

“I feel like I can play with any team,” Beverley said. “Whatever team that is, I feel like I can make an instant impact. It’s all about doing the right things. Building a new culture. Whether it’s a young team that I’m with and I have to build a new culture, or if it’s a team that’s already established and I have to figure out how can I fit in and make this team better, I’m selfless when it comes to that.”

Beverley sent a cryptic tweet to Mavericks star Luka Doncic last week, which prompted Arnold to ask him a question about potentially joining the Mavs and how he would see himself fitting in.

“Of course [I can fit in]. He’s ball dominant, makes the right plays,” Beverley said of Doncic. “If that does come, it would be me, Luka, Tim Hardaway Jr., (Kristaps) Porzingis, Courtney Lee. It’s tough when you actually think about it. But I’m going to have fun with free agency man. I work hard. I’m gonna enjoy this process.”

The Mavericks are said to be pursuing a point guard this summer and have also been linked to Hornets star Kemba Walker.

There’s more out of the Pacific Division tonight:

  • Warriors coach Steve Kerr regrets not playing his bench more in the team’s series against Houston, Mark Medina of The Mercury News writes. “I probably should’ve used them earlier,” Kerr said. Regardless, the Warriors wound up winning the series, with Kevon Looney (14 points) and Shaun Livingston (11 points) giving key performances off the bench.
  • Lakers star LeBron James is many things, but a victim isn’t one of those things, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel writes. James has had a sensational career filled with good luck, despite being shocked about Magic Johnson’s recent exit, Tyronn Lue’s contract-negotiation breakdown and an underwhelming regular season from his team.
  • Kevin Pelton of ESPN examines whether Frank Vogel will be able to turn around the Lakers in his first season as head coach. Vogel was hired by the organization this past week, with former NBA head coach Jason Kidd set to join his staff in an assistant coaching role.

Warriors Notes: Kerr, Durant, Green, Iguodala

Warriors coach Steve Kerr is calling for a change in the rule that imposes an automatic one-game suspension on any player who receives seven technical fouls in the playoffs, relays Tim MacMahon of ESPN. The penalty is significant for the Warriors because Kevin Durant and Draymond Green were among the league leaders in technicals during the regular season.

“I will never understand the rule that everybody falls under the exact same category, in terms of whether you lose in four games in the first round or you play 25 games and you go to the Finals, that it’s the same technical fouls points that lead to a suspension,” Kerr said. “It seems strange. But I do know that Kevin and Draymond have a good feel for when they reach that number. They generally are able to shut that off, shut that emotion off and stay on the floor. That’s going to be important.”

Green and Durant each picked up two T’s in the first-round series with the Clippers. Both of Durant’s came in the opening game, which got him ejected, while another technical in Game 3 was rescinded. Golden State is hoping the league will also rescind a technical foul Green received last night.

“He ran over to [referee David Guthrie] and said, ‘Tell me what I have to do to defend that better,’ and he got a T,” Kerr explained. “I was surprised. We’ll see what happens, but we’ve got to understand that we’ve got to be on alert, because the rules are the rules in terms of the suspensions and all that stuff.”

There’s more Warriors news to pass along:

  • Durant tells Anthony Slater of The Athletic that the key to finishing off the Clippers was to block out distractions. After giving up a 31-point lead in a Game 2 loss, Durant averaged better than 40 PPG for the rest of the series. “There’s a lot of speculation about me, about my attitude, about where I’m playing next season that a lot of these (media) dudes in here are trying to distract us with and then want to blame it on me because it’s easy to blame it on me,” Durant said. “I understand that. We understand that. So for us, we just made it about basketball.”
  • Durant has established himself as the best player in the league and should stay with the Warriors to see how many titles he can win, contends Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report.
  • Andre Iguodala‘s value as a playoff defender convinced the Warriors to give him a three-year, $48MM contract when he was a free agent in 2017, writes Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area. After Golden State made an original offer of $36MM, Iguodala had discussions with the Spurs, Lakers, Kings and Rockets before owner Joe Lacob approved the larger deal.

Warriors Notes: Green, Kerr, Bogut, Durant

A year away from free agency, Warriors forward Draymond Green has signed with Klutch Sports, writes Marc. J. Spears of The Undefeated. Green, who was formerly represented by B.J. Armstrong and The Wasserman Group, said he made the change late last month.

“Klutch is a cutting-edge company, it’s a pure environment, and I’ve grown to know [president and agent] Rich [Paul] over the years,” Green said. “We’ve become very close. When you really take a step back and actually study what is going on, he checks every box that a player would want in an agent. So, why not? Some are afraid of what people will think or what will be said. That’s not the case for me.”

Klutch represents some of the NBA’s top talents, including LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Ben Simmons and John Wall. Green serves as a minority owner in James’ “Uninterrupted” venture, but said LeBron never recruited him to the agency.

“It’s impossible to say LeBron played no part in me joining Klutch, simply because he has been Klutch since the beginning,” Green added. “He’s essentially a founding partner. I’ve already had a relationship with LeBron for years, so it’s always good to be able to do business with family that’s going about their business in the right fashion and getting things done. But as far as recruiting me — no, LeBron didn’t recruit me at all.”

There’s more Warriors news to pass along:

  • Green isn’t upset by a video clip of coach Steve Kerr in Sunday’s game telling assistant Mike Brown“I’m so [bleeping] tired of Draymond,” relays Mark Medina of The San Jose Mercury News. Green said coaches get tired of players all the time and blamed the controversy on the overwhelming media attention the league gets. “We live in a day and age where there is a camera everywhere. If anything, he’ll be more conscious of that,” Green said of Kerr. “But as far as me and him clearing the air, there’s no air to clear.”
  • Andrew Bogut is now planning to join the Warriors after their current road trip ends next week, Medina adds in a separate story. Bogut’s agent, David Bauman, said that could be as soon as the March 21 game against the Pacers. An Australian citizen, Bogut is still attempting to get a work visa, which he hopes to acquire by this weekend.
  • Speculation about Kevin Durant‘s future has hung over everything that has happened for the Warriors this season as they pursue a third straight title, notes Nick Friedell of ESPN.