Steve Kerr

Warriors Notes: Lee, Paschall, JTA, Bell, Kerr

Warriors wing Damion Lee, who is now out of quarantine, told reporters on Thursday that he contracted COVID-19 and dealt with a number of severe symptoms, as Kendra Andrews of NBC Sports Bay Area details. Lee dealt with a bad case of the virus despite being fully vaccinated, which makes him a rare case, according to data compiled by the CDC.

“I felt like I was hit by two cars at once,” Lee said. “Every step I took, it hurt. There was pain, soreness, it felt like there was a weight on my chest for a couple of days. It was hard to breathe. Loss of appetite, and even still I don’t have my appetite all the way back. Even random headaches, brain fog where I’ll start a conversation and be in on the conversation and then five minutes in, I lose track of what I was talking about or just don’t want to talk anymore.”

Although he was able to return to the team this week, Lee isn’t ready to take the court yet, and with just over a week remaining in the regular season, it’s not clear whether or not he’ll return at all. Noting that the Warriors are likely to take a cautious approach with Lee, Anthony Slater of The Athletic believes the 28-year-old may have played his last game of 2020/21.

Here’s more on the Warriors:

  • Of the Warriors’ injured players, Eric Paschall is closest to a return, according to Slater, who say the second-year forward is ramping up his conditions and will likely make it back during Golden State’s current home stand.
  • The Warriors will have to add a 14th man to their roster by the middle of next week, and Slater expects Juan Toscano-Anderson to fill that spot, receiving a promotion from his two-way deal. That could open the door for Jordan Bell, whom the Warriors are reportedly eyeing, to take Toscano-Anderson’s spot on a two-way contract.
  • Warriors head coach Steve Kerr spoke to Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic about the lessons he has learned during a challenging 2020/21 season. Golden State is 12-16 this season in “clutch” games (games within five points in the last five minutes), which is an area Kerr feels he can help improve. “Definitely some things that I can do better. Just little detail things,” he said. “What happens when you lose some close ones, you tend to think about every single decision you made. Obviously there’s a greater chance that one decision can make a difference in the game just because you have less margin for error. So less margin for error means I gotta be on my game.”
  • In case you missed it, Kelly Oubre will miss at least a week or two due to his wrist injury.

California Notes: Bagley, Toscano-Anderson, Warriors, Lakers

The future remains murky for oft-injured Kings power forward Marvin Bagley III, a talented scorer who still needs to develop on defense, writes Jason Jones of The Athletic.

On Sunday, during his second game back after his latest injury, a left hand bone fracture that kept him sidelined for 22 contests, Bagley showed flashes of the potential that made him so highly coveted out of Duke, racking up 23 points and nine rebounds. The Kings selected Bagley with the No. 2 draft pick in 2018 ahead of future All-Stars Luka Doncic and Trae Young.

“Obviously nobody plans to get a hand caught in a jersey and break your hand, but you can’t control things like that,” Bagley said of his latest injury for the Kings. “What I could control was how I prepared to come back and things that I was doing to make sure I was ready when I did come back.”

Sacramento previously picked up Bagley’s $11.3MM player option for 2021/22. As Jones writes, while Bagley was rumored to be a potential trade candidate in March, the Kings couldn’t find a deal that would net them enough of a return to be worth pursuing.

There’s more out of California:

  • Warriors head coach Steve Kerr has liked what he’s seen out of forward Juan Toscano-Anderson, writes Alex Espinoza of NBC Sports Bay Area. Currently inked to a two-way deal with Golden State, has fought his way into the Warriors’ rotation through his moxie and hustle, averaging 5.4 PPG, 3.5 RPG, and 2.4 APG across 19.5 MPG. “We’ll see how it plays out,” Kerr said to reporters about a potential long-term deal with Toscano-Anderson after this season. “Juan is clearly a very effective NBA player. We’d like to have him here for a long time.”
  • Though the Warriors have been waylaid by injuries that have impacted their roster depth, they currently have two roster spots empty in a calculated cost-saving decision. Anthony Slater of The Athletic wonders if the club’s choice warrants further scrutiny, considering that it still fighting for a play-in tournament spot during a standout year from All-Star point guard Stephen Curry.
  • Lakers guard Alex Caruso has had to take on more play-making duties for Los Angeles with key ball-handlers LeBron James and Dennis Schroder both sidelined, as Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register writes.

Warriors Notes: Wiseman, Curry, Poole, Kerr

James Wiseman could be a difference-maker as the Warriors try to reach the playoffs, but head coach Steve Kerr won’t “force the issue” when it comes to playing time for the rookie center, writes Nick Friedell of ESPN.

Wiseman, the second pick in last year’s draft, is averaging 11.4 points and 5.8 rebounds per game, but he hasn’t provided the consistent production that Golden State was hoping for. He saw just 18 minutes in Sunday’s loss to the Hawks, and Kerr indicated his playing time moving forward will depend on his performance.

“I think development also includes observation from the sidelines, earning time, earning minutes,” Kerr said. “If there are mistakes made in the previous game, let’s work on those mistakes. And if we correct those then we get more playing time; if we don’t correct them then we get less playing time. So it can’t just be throw him out there and let him go for 30 minutes because frankly he’s not ready for that.”

Kerr expressed confidence that Wiseman will eventually reach his potential, but said he needs to take part in summer league and training camp before that can happen. Last year’s summer league was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns, and Wiseman missed most of training camp because he was in the NBA’s health and safety protocols.

There’s more on the Warriors:

  • Stephen Curry admitted the team had much higher expectations than battling to reach a play-in game, Friedell adds in a separate story. Curry’s return after missing most of last season with an injury was supposed to make the Warriors a contender again, but they’re clinging to 10th place after losing seven of their last eight games. “I hope it stings. I hope it’s uncomfortable,” Curry said after the latest loss. “I hope it motivates you to keep grinding, challenging yourself to get better. I hope nobody is content just being in this middle-of-the-road situation.”
  • Jordan Poole quickly won Draymond Green‘s respect by standing up to him in practice last year, according to Kendra Andrews of NBC Sports Bay Area. The second-year guard has raised his numbers across the board this season and appears to be part of the Warriors’ core for the future.
  • This season is Kerr’s biggest challenge since becoming a head coach, writes Connor Letourneau of The San Francisco Chronicle. Kerr inherited a team that was loaded with talent when he took the job in 2014 and has never had to focus on player development while trying to reach the playoffs.

Pacific Notes: LeBron, Kerr, Green, Payne

Lakers superstar LeBron James acknowledged he must adjust due to the absence of Anthony Davis, Dave McMenamin of ESPN writes. James finished with 19 points (and four free-throw attempts) in the team’s loss to Miami on Saturday, mostly playing facilitator as the Heat double-teamed him throughout the game.

“I think that’s what it all boils down to, and right now is another challenge for me, to be able to adjust,” James said. “Not having AD for a long period of time is something that we haven’t had over the last year and a half, and now it’s time for me to adjust again and see ways I can be even more effective to help this team win ballgames. Because that is the sport that we’re in.

“We’re in the winning business, and I’ve always been a winner. So, it’s time to click into that.”

Davis is expected to miss at least another week or two with a calf strain, while starting point guard Dennis Schroder is out due to the league’s health and safety protocols. The Lakers have lost two straight games and currently own a 22-9 record — tied with the Clippers.

Here are some other notes from the Pacific Division tonight:

  • Warriors coach Steve Kerr believes Draymond Green let his emotion get the best of him in the final seconds of Saturday’s game, Nick Friedell of ESPN.com writes. Green was ejected in the 102-100 loss to the Hornets, picking up two technical fouls in the heat of the moment and giving Charlotte the two free throws that tied the game. “He crossed the line,” Kerr explained. “That’s the main thing. We love his passion and his energy. We would not be the team we are without him, but that doesn’t give him license to cross that line, and he knows that.”
  • While still too early to seriously discuss, the outspoken Green is seen as a strong candidate to become a broadcaster once his playing career ends, Richard Deitsch of The Athletic writes. In addition to frequently speaking his mind, the Warriors forward has a high basketball IQ and is a three-time NBA champion.
  • Suns guard Cameron Payne had a tough road back to the NBA, Brian Snyder and Greg Moore examine for the Arizona Republic. Payne has once again served as a valuable asset for Phoenix this season, averaging 7.3 points, 3.8 assists and 17.7 minutes per game. He’s also shot 49.5% from the field and 45.7% from deep.

Steve Kerr Offers Insight Into Warriors’ Mini-Camp

The Warriors reunited for their team mini-camp on September 23, and while veterans Stephen Curry and Draymond Green did not join the team for workouts, starters Klay Thompson and Andrew Wiggins did.

In speaking with media about the team’s progress in practices, head coach Steve Kerr noted that the team will not hold any more formal intra-squad scrimmages during its mini-camp, Nick Friedell of ESPN tweets. Anthony Slater of The Athletic reports that Wiggins is slated to depart the mini-camp this weekend, ahead of its official end on Tuesday (Twitter link).

Although Thompson, who missed all of the 2019/20 season due to an ACL tear suffered in the 2019 NBA Finals, did partake in some elements of the mini-camp, Kerr asserted that the veteran sharpshooter would most likely not participate in 5-on-5 team workouts, per Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area (Twitter link).

Friedell notes in a separate tweet that center Kevon Looney, who played in just 20 games during the 2019/20 season due to various ailments, has impressed Kerr during the mini-camp. Kerr said that if Looney looks the way he did in the 2018/19 season, he anticipates that the big man will be slotted back into the rotation at a regular 20-25 minutes per game.

This spring, Looney underwent surgery to repair a core muscle injury which contributed to some of his absences during 2019/20. Looney will earn $4.8MM in 2020/21, with a $5.1MM player option for the ’21/22 season.

Meanwhile, free agent veteran swingman Jonathon Simmons was among the non-roster players who earned an invitation to the Warriors’ team mini-camp. Slater tweets that Kerr had high praise for Simmons’s performance in the mini-camp thus far, and alluded to the possibility that the free agent may have a future with Golden State.

“Possibly,” Kerr said. “We could use the length on the wing.”

Simmons most recently played for the club’s G League affiliate, the Santa Cruz Warriors, in February and March.

Warriors Notes: Kerr, Wiggins, Trade Exception

Warriors head coach Steve Kerr plans to take a relatively relaxed approach to the team’s offseason mini-camp, scheduled to start next Wednesday. Anthony Slater of The Athletic spoke with Kerr about his approach to the workouts, as well as his thoughts on the recent additions of former team guards Shaun Livingston and Leandro Barbosa to the team. Livingston will be joining the team in a front office role, while Barbosa will serve on the coaching staff.

“We need some young legs on our coaching staff and our players need mentors,” Kerr told Slater. “That’s one of the things I’m so excited about for both Leandro and Shaun joining us. The players need someone they can talk to, go to and ask what it’s like and get an answer from someone who has been in their shoes, literally, in the last couple years.

Here are more Warriors notes:

  • Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area makes the case for why the Warriors should retain, not trade, wing Andrew Wiggins during the 2020 offseason. Wiggins has three years left on the five-year, $148MM contract extension he signed in Minnesota circa 2017.
  • Assuming that the capped-out Rockets will look to make the bulk of their roster transformations through trades that could help the team and save money, Grant Lill of NBC Sports Bay Area thinks that the Warriors could use their $17MM trade exception on either Houston forward Robert Covington and guard Eric Gordon. Covington will collect $25MM over the next two years. Gordon inked a four-year, $75MM extension that will compensate him through the 2023/24 season.
  • In case you missed it, several front offices believe the Warriors would prefer to use their pick in the 2020 draft on a wing. Should Georgia swingman Anthony Edwards be selected with the top pick by the Timberwolves, the team may trade down rather than select point guard LaMelo Ball or center James Wiseman.

And-Ones: Yabusele, British League, Jones, NBCA

Former NBA forward Guerschon Yabusele has signed a one-year contract with LDLC Asvel, according to a press release from the French club (hat tip to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando). Yabusele appeared in four games for Asvel before the pandemic suspended play after beginning the season in China. Yabusele was drafted in the first round by the Celtics in 2016 and played 74 games over two seasons with Boston.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • The British Basketball League has canceled the remainder of its season, according to a statement from the league. “We looked at every option, including playing behind closed doors or restarting the season in the summer, in order that we could get to a league and playoff winners, but with the continued uncertainty, we just ran out of time and options,” BBL Chairman Sir Rodney Walker said. “The clubs were united that now was the right time to bring the current season to a close.”
  • Veteran NBA forward Terrence Jones has signed with Team Washington for TBT 2020, JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors tweets. The Basketball Tournament is a 5-on-5, winner-take-all event with a grand prize of $2MM. Jones has played with Houston, New Orleans and Milwaukee since being drafted 18th overall back in 2012.
  • A number of prominent coaches have been selected by the National Basketball Coaches Association for a committee on racial injustice and reform to pursue solutions within NBA cities, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Gregg Popovich, Steve Kerr, Lloyd Pierce, David Fizdale and Stan Van Gundy were among the coaches selected to a committee in response to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and a continuing pattern of violence and intolerance toward African Americans in the U.S.

Western Notes: Mitchell, Kerr, Anthony, Suns

Donovan Mitchell is “extremely frustrated” with Jazz teammate Rudy Gobert after testing positive for the coronavirus, league sources told Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix. Gobert has apologized for his careless actions earlier in the week, prior to being the first NBA player to test positive. The team has a solid young core but how Mitchell responds when play resumes could make or break their relationship, Mannix continues. The Jazz were rising up the Western Conference standings but if this leads to locker room issues, it could have a major impact on the franchise’s playoff expectations, Mannix adds.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • Warriors coach Steve Kerr is upset at himself for not taking the coronavirus more seriously earlier this week and believes social distancing is now paramount, Anthony Slater of The Athletic reports. “I was coaching in a basketball game with 15,000 fans like four nights ago. So I feel like a fool,” Kerr said. “But this goes back to our human condition of denial and vulnerability. But we’ve crossed that threshold now and it’s important that everybody understands what they can do.”
  • Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony said on teammate CJ McCollum‘s podcast that he was “embarrassed” that he was a free agent for so long until Portland signed him, according to Casey Holdahl of the team’s website. “I started questioning myself why. Why? What happened? What did I do? Did I do something wrong? Was it me? Am I good? Can I still play? It was like all of these thoughts started to come in and that stuck with me for about four, five months.”
  • The Suns could have all their injured players back in action if and when the season resumes, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic relays. That group includes forward Kelly Oubre Jr., who underwent knee surgery earlier this month, and Frank Kaminsky III, who missed the last 32 games due to a knee injury. “You try to make a positive out of a negative,” GM James Jones said. “It could end up being a really good thing for us and if that’s the case, I know our guys will be excited. I know our coaches, myself, I’ll be excited to have our team full strength or close to it, contending and playing in some meaningful games.”

Kerr On D-Lo: “Fit Was Questionable When We Signed Him”

A day after Golden State completed one of the biggest trades of the 2019/20 season, sending D’Angelo Russell to the Timberwolves, head coach Steve Kerr expressed confidence that newly-acquired forward Andrew Wiggins is in a good position to succeed the Warriors.

“Minnesota needed him to be a star,” Kerr said of Wiggins, per Drew Shiller of Warriors Outsiders (Twitter link). “And we’re not asking him to be a star. We’re asking him to play a role on a team that already has some star players.”

As Kerr explained (video link via Anthony Slater of The Athletic), Wiggins also figures to be a better positional fit for the Warriors than Russell once Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are healthy. According to Kerr, Golden State isn’t expecting a whole lot of talented wings to be available during this year’s draft or free agent period, so the club is happy to add one like Wiggins now.

In his discussion of the trade, Kerr also acknowledged a point that many critics of the Warriors’ initial acquisition of Russell brought up last summer — D-Lo and the Dubs probably weren’t an ideal long-term match.

“To be perfectly blunt, the fit was questionable when we signed him,” Kerr said (video link via Slater). “… When you already have Steph and Klay and you add a ball-dominant guard, you can rightfully question the fit. That was one of the reasons the trade rumors started before the season even began.”

According to Kerr, even with Curry and Thompson sidelined this season, the Warriors got a “good enough look” over the first 50 games of the season to picture how Russell would fit on a fully healthy roster.

“I think you have an idea – I think we have an idea – that the other move, the other player (Wiggins) makes more sense,” Kerr said. “In this case, I would say (the fit is better) for both teams.”

Pacific Notes: Dedmon, Giles, AD, Kerr, Clippers

Kings head coach Luke Walton said earlier this week that making Dewayne Dedmon inactive for three consecutive games wasn’t related to the big man’s desire to be traded and wouldn’t necessarily be permanent, as Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee writes. Sure enough, an injury to Richaun Holmes gave Dedmon an opportunity to get back on the court on Tuesday.

In fact, Holmes’ absence paved the way for two big men who had been out of the rotation earlier in the season to play significant roles. Harry Giles got his first career NBA start, while Dedmon played 32 minutes off the bench. The duo combined for 20 points and 18 rebounds, helping to lead the Kings to a comeback road win over Phoenix.

According to James Ham of NBC Sports California, both centers received praise from Walton after the game, with the Kings head coach telling reporters that Giles gave the club some “good minutes” and Dedmon “took full advantage” of his opportunity.

With Giles facing unrestricted free agency at season’s end and Dedmon hoping to be dealt, it’s possible neither center has a place in the Kings’ future. But having both players perform well could open some doors for Sacramento at the trade deadline — at the very least, it will help keep the team in the playoff race while Holmes recovers.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • While Anthony Davis will be eligible to earn a projected $202MM over five years with the Lakers on his next contract, he may be more inclined to sign a three-year deal with a player option, writes Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report. That would give Davis the chance to opt out and sign a more lucrative long-term contract in 2022, when he has 10 years of NBA experience.
  • The NBA has fined Warriors head coach Steve Kerr $25K for “verbally abusing” a game official and failing to leave the court immediately after being ejected, the league announced today in a press release. Kerr expressed his displeasure with a call in the second quarter of Monday’s game vs. Sacramento, yelling “Wake your a– up!” at referee Jason Goldenberg.
  • Jovan Buha of The Athletic explores the likelihood of the Clippers adding a veteran like Darren Collison, Aron Baynes, or Thaddeus Young. Buha views a trade for Baynes or Young as a long shot, but believes the Clips shouldn’t hesitate to open a roster spot for Collison if he’s willing to sign with them.