Steve Kerr

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.

Pacific Notes: Thompson, Zubac, Kerr, Warriors

Klay Thompson once again reaffirmed his desire to finish his career with the Warriors prior to the team’s game against Portland on Wednesday, according to ESPN’s Dave Pasch (Twitter link).

This isn’t the first time Thompson has publicly stated these hopes, with the All-Star guard also discussing the possibility back in September before the 2018/19 season began.

“Just look around the walls at all the art and to see I was a part of this buildup is what keeps me motivated and keeps me wanting to be a Warrior for my whole career,” Thompson said at the time, as relayed by Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area.

Thompson has spent each of his eight seasons with the Warriors, having being drafted by the team back in 2011. He’s set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, along with with teammates Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins, both of whom have yet to make similar public declarations about their summer plans.

Of the Warriors’ starting five, only Stephen Curry and Draymond Green are locked into deals past this season (with Green set to reach free agency next summer). Golden State has grown tremendously with Curry, Green and Thompson, dating back to when the trio won their first championship in 2015.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Clippers knew exactly what they were getting when they traded for Ivica Zubac, Mirjam Swanson of the Orange County Register writes. The team acquired Zubac, an improved center on both ends of the floor, in a deal with the Lakers on trade deadline day.
  • Warriors head coach Steve Kerr was fined $25K for verbally abusing and confronting a game official prior to his ejection on Wednesday, the NBA announced today. Kerr was arguing a flagrant foul call on Draymond Green with veteran referee Ken Mauer before losing his temper, causing Mauer to issue two technical fouls and remove him from the game.
  • Kirk Lacob, assistant GM of the Warriors, addressed the team’s approach with the buyout market in an appearance on the “Joe, Lo & Dibs” radio show. “We don’t want to commit to something before we know what’s going to happen with our roster,” Lacob said. “You never know what can happen — there could be an injury or a slump or anything — so, we want to keep our options open. But our goal is to add a really good player — someone who fits in the locker room who fits these team and just really wants to be part of a championship run and will understand their role.”

Pacific Notes: Bell, Booker, LeBron, Warren

Warriors coach Steve Kerr and reserve big man Jordan Bell engaged in a brief argument during the team’s game against the Lakers on Monday, with both figures visibly upset and Kerr eventually walking away.

The dispute occurred during a timeout with 5:14 left in the fourth, with Bell playing the final seven minutes of the team’s blowout victory.

“It was a total misinterpretation of something I said,” Kerr said, as relayed by Monte Poole of NBC Sports, “and we cleared it up.”

Bell has seen his minutes decrease from 14.2 to 10.9 per game this season, with the 24-year-old currently in his second campaign with Golden State. The return of DeMarcus Cousins is only going to complicate his role further, as most of the back-up center minutes are set for Kevon Looney.

“We’re all gonna go through times throughout the NBA when we want to speak our minds and vent, and we might be frustrated over some things,” teammate Kevin Durant said when discussing Bell. “Coach has been so open in letting guys get that out but also challenging guys as well. It’s a healthy dialogue, and it’s just a healthy relationship between us and Coach. He lets us know what he sees out there and if you have something to say to him back, he’s not going to be afraid to go back at you.

“I think Jordan understands that, at this point, we just want to continue to keep getting better. Coach will always – especially the younger guys in the league – definitely be on them a little bit more because he expects a lot out of them. He sees the potential in him. On Jordan’s side, we just want him to keep playing. That stuff happens, so we’ll move on.”

The Warriors have the option to offer Bell a $1.8MM qualifying offer prior to free agency this summer.

There’s more from the Pacific Division tonight:

  • Suns guard Devin Booker was fined $25K for escalating an on-court altercation by pushing Wolves center Gorgui Dieng on Wednesday, the NBA announced. Both Booker and Dieng were ejected following the scuffle.
  • The talent and leadership of LeBron James may not be enough for the Lakers to make the playoffs this season, Bill Oram of The Athletic cautions. James signed a four-year, $154MM contract to join the Lakers in free agency last summer, immediately changing the direction of the franchise to compete this season. He’s missed the past 14 games due to a groin injury, however, watching his team slip to the ninth-best record in the West (25-23) from afar. “No one here is just counting on LeBron carrying all the weight and taking us there,” coach Luke Walton said. “We know the only way to get there is to work. And for everyone to step up and make plays.”
  • Suns forward T.J. Warren is expected to miss two to three weeks after sustaining a bone bruise in his left ankle, tweets Gina Mizell of The Athletic. Warren’s timetable means he’ll likely return around the All-Star break in mid-February, with second-year player Josh Jackson set to get additional minutes in his place. Warren has averaged 18 points and four rebounds per game this season, shooting 49% from the floor and a career-high 43% from behind-the-arc.

Pacific Notes: Kuzma, Cousins, Okobo, Suns

While many fans and analysts have focused on Lonzo Ball‘s and Brandon Ingram‘s development as the two key young players for the Lakers, so far this season it has been Kyle Kuzma that has provided the most value to the team. Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report writes that Kuzma has emerged as the Lakers’ best young talent, especially in the wake of LeBron James‘ injury.

As Pincus points out, Kuzma has averaged nearly 25 points per game in the 10 games he has played without James, with the Lakers winning five of those contests. While Kuzma has struggled to hit 3-pointers (just 31.3% so far this season), he can score in a variety of ways while also providing another capable ball-handler.

Meanwhile, Ball’s jump shot continues to disappoint, while Ingram hasn’t looked comfortable playing alongside James, a big issue if he plans on being a crucial piece of the team in the years to come.

There’s more from the Pacific division:

  • While DeMarcus Cousins made his return on Friday and will continue to work his way into a larger role moving forward, Nick Friedell of ESPN points out that Warriors head coach Steve Kerr doesn’t plan on slowing the pace for Cousins to catch up.
  • As Elie Okobo continues to adjust to life in the NBA, he was able to face (and learn from) his childhood idol Tony Parker over the past week as the Suns faced the Hornets on two occasions. Duane Rankin of Arizona Central writes about how Okobo grew up watching Parker.
  • The Suns‘ call for public funds to renovate their arena will reach a vote in the upcoming week. As Bob Young details for The Athletic, the team is calling for $150 million in public funds to help make renovations to an arena that opened in 1992.

Warriors Notes: Jerebko, Offense, Durant

Steve Kerr has been impressed with Jonas Jerebko since he watched Jerebko’s pre-draft workouts as the Suns’ GM back in 2009. When Jerebko became available last summer, Kerr knew the forward would fit in alongside Golden State’s core, as Mark Medina of the Bay Area News Group.

“[Kerr] told me, ‘We want to you come here. We need your abilities,’” Jerebko said of his summer conversation with Golden State’s coach. Kerr told him that he was a fan of the big man’s game and wanted him to come the Warriors.

After the conversation, Jerebko told his agent not to take calls from other teams and he ended up signing a one-year, $2.1MM deal with the two-time reigning champs.

Here’s more from Golden State:

  • Kerr explained to Medina (same piece) that he doesn’t try to sell players on joining the team. “I’m always honest with players that we are recruiting. I don’t want to mislead anybody,” Kerr said. In the case of Jerebko, Kerr told him that he would play “quite a bit” but cautioned that there would also be games where he would not see the court.
  • There have been several pleas within the Warriors for the team to “play the right way,” sources tell Monte Poole of NBC Sports.  Poole adds that shot selection was a major topic prior to the team’s loss to the Raptors.
  • The Warriors must use Kevin Durant optimally if they want to re-sign him, Poole opines in the same piece. While Durant is committed to playing the “right way,” as in within the offense, Poole believes the team must make sure Durant doesn’t feel underutilized as he approaches free agency.

Warriors Believed Team Chemistry Was At Stake After Draymond Green Altercation

The Warriors winning their third straight title seems much less likely now than it did prior to the season. Golden State’s appears mortal on the court and off the court, there’s plenty to be concerned about even if Kevin Durant claims the tiff with Draymond Green won’t impact his long-term decision making.

The team suspended Green for the altercation and according to Tim Kawakami of The Athletic, both coach Steve Kerr and GM Bob Myers believed that the chemistry of the entire team was at stake. They wanted to make sure the situation didn’t develop into a series of “personal grievances and lingering resentments,” Kawakami writes. The suspension was handed down to prevent Green from dictating the mood and terms for the remainder of the season into the offseason.

Team management was upset that the move was viewed as the organization picking Durant over Green. While it’s easy to look at it that way, the decision to suspend Green had more to do with making sure the chemistry of the team would remain repairable.

If Durant leaves, the Warriors want it to be because it was his own choice and not because another player was barking at him.

Pacific Notes: Warriors, Okobo, Cousins, Lakers

The Warriors have been ordered to pay approximately $40MM for prior renovations at Oracle Arena, according to an Associated Press report. The dispute stemmed from renovations to the arena back in 1996. The government agency that manages the arena took out a $150MM bond for basketball renovations and the team agreed to help finance with annual payments. The Warriors argued their debt obligation should end when they terminate their lease and leave Oakland for San Francisco at the end of the season. An arbiter disagreed and ruled that the team must continue making payments through 2027.

We have more news from the Pacific Division:

  • Rookie Elie Okobo may have emerged as the Suns’ answer at point guard in a loss to the Thunder over the weekend, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic writes. Okobo posted a team-high 18 points and eight assists after he replaced Isaiah Canaan, who suffered a left ankle injury early in the contest. “He played with confidence, he played with a presence. He played like, ‘I belong here,’” Suns coach Igor Kokoskov said.
  • Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins apologized to coach Steve Kerr for getting ejected from the bench during the team’s game against the Knicks on Friday, Nick Friedell of ESPN relays. Cousins, who is still rehabbing from his Achilles injury he suffered last season, got tossed for trash talking to Knicks center Enes Kanter. “That kind of stuff is not going to help us win a championship, it’s not going to help his reputation, and I think he understands that,” Kerr said. “And I think he immediately regretted what happened, so I really appreciated him coming to me and making that pretty clear, and I don’t expect it to happen again.”
  • The Lakers need to ride their young players — Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart — to complement LeBron James and build a brighter future, Martin Rogers of USA Today argues. It’s important for that quartet to grow and develop chemistry with James, rather than playing veterans like Rajon Rondo and Michael Beasley, Rogers adds.