Steve Kerr

Warriors Plan To Extend Steve Kerr In 2018

While the Warriors and Steve Kerr haven’t prioritized getting a contract extension done right away, the two sides have had preliminary talks about a new deal. As he tells Tim Kawakami of The Athletic, Kerr opted to table those discussions until next summer, when he can be sure that his health will allow him to make a long-term commitment to the franchise.

Kerr and GM Bob Myers, who held the initial extension talks, are both confident that – health permitting – the two sides will finalize a new contract in 2018, according to Kawakami. Warriors owner Joe Lacob also conveyed optimism about getting something done next summer with his club’s coach.

Kerr, who signed a five-year, $25MM contract in 2014, still has one more year left on that deal after 2017/18, so there’s no rush to hammer something out immediately. Kerr has been plagued by back issues in recent years, which forced him to take a leave of absence on multiple occasions. If he can make it through the ’17/18 campaign without any complications, Kerr will be in good position to commit to a few more years with Golden State.

“We just agreed we’d wait,” Kerr said, per Kawakami. “I’ve got two years left on my deal and wanted to make sure that everything went well this year health-wise. And I don’t anticipate any issues going forward. … I don’t have any desire to be anywhere else. So I’m sure when we get down to it, we’ll come to an agreement pretty quickly.”

Although it remains to be seen what Kerr’s next contract would look like, he joked that he’s given up his leverage by publicly stating on multiple occasions that he has no desire to coach anywhere else. Nonetheless, Kerr tells Kawakami that, when the time comes, he’s confident Myers and Lacob will give him a “great offer.”

Western Notes: Exum, Kerr, Ball, Aldridge

Jazz point guard Dante Exum has opted for surgery on his separated left shoulder, the team announced in a press release. The surgery, which will take place on October 24th, will stabilize the AC joint of his left shoulder. The team did not announce a timetable for Exum’s return but he’s likely to miss most or all of the season, Kyle Goon of the Salt Lake Tribune speculates.

Exum, 22, missed the 2015/16 season with an ACL tear. He returned last season and played in 66 games, averaging a career-high 6.2 PPG and 1.8 APG. The Jazz acquired Ricky Rubio during the offseason to start at the point. Raul Neto and Donovan Mitchell will back him up in Exum’s absence.

In other developments around the Western Conference:

  • The Warriors have not discussed a contract extension with coach Steve Kerr because of his health issues, Monte Poole of NBCSports.com reports. Neither side has prioritized an extension because Kerr is focused on finding ways to eliminate the headaches and dizziness he’s suffered after undergoing back surgeries, Poole continues. Kerr is in the fourth season of a five-year deal worth $25MM. “I’m just not ready to look that far ahead,” Kerr told Poole and other media members.
  • Wing Royce O’Neale got the nod over big man Joel Bolomboy for the Jazz’s final roster spot based on need, according to Ryan McDonald of the Deseret News. O’Neale, who spent the last two seasons in Spain, provides coach Quin Snyder with a defender who can guard multiple spots. “I think positionally, he’s a fit for our group right now,” Snyder told McDonald and other media members. “He’s got instincts defensively. Coupled with the toughness, it makes him a good wing defender.”
  • Lakers rookie point guard Lonzo Ball says he’s good to go for the team’s season opener on Thursday, he told Law Murray of ESPN and the assembled media. Ball injured his ankle during camp and missed the last four preseason games. He practiced in full on Monday.
  • The final year of LaMarcus Aldridge‘s three-year, $72.3MM extension with the Spurs has a $7MM guarantee, Zach Lowe of ESPN tweets. San Antonio came to an agreement with Aldridge on Monday.

Pacific Notes: LeBron, Warriors, Pachulia, Kerr

Numerous reports have suggested that LeBron James – who is set to hit free agency next season — is the Lakers‘ top target. While acquiring James alone would be great, pairing him with another elite talent is the goal and Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report examines who that ideal player could be.

Russell Westbrook and Paul George are the obvious two names. The California natives could both hit free agency; George is nearly certain to test the market after one season with the Thunder whereas his new teammate Westbrook has a maximum deal on the table. Whether Westbrook eventually decides to accept that deal will significantly impact the market.

Pincus also looks at bigger players, like DeMarcus Cousins, who could be paired with James in Los Angeles. However, the goal, for now, is to clear as much cap space possible; and Luol Deng‘s albatross of a deal is the biggest priority.

Check out other news around the Pacific Division:

Steve Kerr Talks Health, Warriors, Myers

Steve Kerr has had to take time off during each of the last two NBA seasons due to his troublesome back, but with the 2017/18 preseason fast approaching, the Warriors head coach reiterates to Scott Ostler of The San Francisco Chronicle that he “fully” expects to be back on the sideline for the entire ’17/18 season. Kerr also expects to continue coaching “for many years to come.”

In a two-part interview with Ostler, Kerr also addressed how his back is feeling these days, and ___, among other topics. Let’s dive in and round up a few of the highlights from the Warriors head coach….

On the health of his back:

“It’s all right, it’s all right. I’d love to say that I’m all better, but not the case. I’m feeling better, having a good summer, relaxing. But it’s just been an ongoing thing now for two years. … I’ve definitely gotten better, I’ve made some improvement. But I still feel like there’s improvement to make.”

On keeping in touch with Warriors GM Bob Myers throughout the offseason:

“We talk about players, talk about roles. We talked a lot about Nick Young and [Omri] Casspi before we signed those guys. Talked a lot about our center position. Bob and I talk every day, kind of the first thing in the morning we check in with each other, usually talk for a half hour. We’re really close. He just got back from a great vacation, in Italy.

“[Myers] is right there with Gregg Popovich and Phil Jackson, in terms of people who are at a really high level in the NBA but who just get it, who understand what makes people tick. I think that’s one of the reasons we have the culture that we do, is that Bob and I kind of see things in a similar fashion.”

On how the Warriors have avoided the drama that has plagued other franchises:

I just think that’s who we are, who our guys are. They love life. You see what Steph [Curry] is doing this summer, having the time of his life. The world’s his playground. (Kevin Durant) and Draymond [Green] are traveling the world and just enjoying the fruits of being a champion. There’s a license that comes with winning. When you win, if you choose to just keep going, you can just keep going, and people are going to give you a pass for stuff.”

On his outlook for the 2017/18 season:

“I expect us to be in a good groove right from the beginning, based on KD and David [West] and Zaza [Pachulia] having a year under their belt, and JaVale [McGee]. The continuity is so important in this league, and the confidence we’re going to have coming off the championship. We’re going to be in a good groove, but that doesn’t guarantee anything. You’ve got to be healthy, and you’ve got to have the energy and the will and all that when the playoffs start.”

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.

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