Steve Kerr

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.

Pacific Notes: Kuzma, Bradley, Bowman, Lee, Curry, Thompson

The Lakers aren’t close to dealing Kyle Kuzma and want a substantial package if they do move the high-scoring forward, according to Sean Deveney of Heavy.com. The Kings are reportedly among the teams interested in acquiring Kuzma. The Lakers would likely ask for a quality rotation player, preferably a point guard, along with a first-round draft pick that projects to be in or around the lottery, Deveney continues. The Lakers would also consider two lesser first-round picks as part of a package for Kuzma, Deveney adds.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Lakers guard Avery Bradley suffered a right ankle sprain against Detroit on Sunday, Dave McMenamin of ESPN relays. X-rays were negative and it’s uncertain when Bradley will return to action. Bradley missed 13 games earlier this season due to a right leg injury and hasn’t played more than 63 regular-season games over the previous three seasons due to an assortment of ailments.
  • The Warriors will send Ky Bowman to the G League when D’Angelo Russell returns from a right shoulder contusion, Anthony Slater of The Athletic tweets. Bowman has six days remaining on his 45-day NBA allotment under the terms of a two-way contract. The team’s other two-way player, Damion Lee, has just two days remaining until he must remain in the G League or receive a standard contract. A roster spot is likely to be cleared for Lee at some point, Slater adds.
  • Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry are getting antsy as they rehab from long-term injuries, Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area reports. Thompson is working his way back from the knee injury he suffered during last season’s playoffs, while Curry is rehabbing from hand surgery. “In an ironic way, this has been probably a good chance for them to blow off some stream and whatever metaphor you want to use,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “But that can only last for so long. They’re both dying to play. And we’re dying to have them back.”

Northwest Notes: Porter Jr., Patton, Wolves, Gilgeous-Alexander

Forward Michael Porter Jr. has solidified his spot in the Nuggets’ rotation and he may even become a regular starter sooner rather than later, according to Mike Singer of the Denver Post. It’s unlikely that Porter will supplant Will Barton in the lineup despite his 25-point outburst against Indiana but it’s not out of the question, Singer continues. It’s a safer bet that Porter carves out a significant role down the stretch as a microwave-type scorer off the bench, Singer adds.

We have more from around the Northwest Division:

  • The Thunder‘s Justin Patton is the player most likely to be dealt over the next week, according to The Athletic’s John Hollinger. Patton’s $1.62MM salary becomes fully guaranteed if he remains on their roster through January 7 and the Thunder are currently $750,250 into the luxury tax threshold. The center could only be acquired by one of the nine teams with workable trade exceptions, or by the Hawks via cap room, Hollinger adds.
  • Warriors coach Steve Kerr has been impressed with the Timberwolves’ unheralded young players, as he told reporters including Kent Youngblood of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “What I see with the Wolves is similar to what I see with our team, in that suddenly a bunch of young guys get their chance, and they play hard,” Kerr said. “For Minnesota to go to Milwaukee, play the best team in the league down the wire, without (Karl-Anthony) Towns and (Andrew) Wiggins, it shows you what a young team is capable of, just competing.”
  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has established himself as one of the league’s top second-year players, Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman writes. The second-year Thunder guard, the centerpiece of the Paul George deal with the Clippers from Oklahoma City’s perspective, is averaging 19.9 PPG while mainly playing the off-guard spot after averaging 10.8 PPG in his rookie year as a point man.

Pacific Notes: Kings Tempo, Kerr, PG-13, Walton

Kings backcourt mates De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield are looking to accelerate the team’s offensive tempo as the calendar shifts to 2020, according to the Sacramento Bee’s Jason Anderson. After losing their eighth straight game on Tuesday, Hield noted that the change needs to happen soon.

“It’s a new year,” Hield said. “We’re (34) games in so we have about (48) left. It’s go time. We can’t wait anymore.” The Kings are 12-22 overall, and have a 1-7 record when held under 100 points.

Anderson notes that, under coach Dave Joerger in the 2018/19 season, the Kings’ pace ranked third in the NBA, notching 103.9 possessions per 48 minutes. Thus far under Luke Walton in 2019/20, the Kings rank last with just 97.5 possessions per 48 minutes.

There’s more out of the Pacific Division:

  • Warriors coach Steve Kerr told Logan Murdoch of NBC Sports Bay Area on Tuesday that he is frustrated by the frequency of foul calls in today’s NBA. “I think we’ve gone overboard in rewarding offensive players,” Kerr said. “And what I mean by that is we’ve rewarded offensive players for fooling the officials and attempting to fool the officials.” 
  • The Los Angeles Times’ Andrew Greif reports that Clippers forward Paul George believes he has pinpointed the cause of his recent shooting slump, after analyzing hours of game film. “A lot of the plays I had last year before the [shoulder] injury started, was through contact and finishing through defenders,” George said George. “This year I’ve been shying away from the contact. So it’s just getting it through my head that I’m fine with the physicality.”
  • Since being called up from the Clippers’ Ontario G League affiliate, the Agua Caliente Clippers, on December 1, point guard Derrick Walton Jr. has been trying to maximize his opportunity on one of the NBA’s best teams, Mirjam Swanson of the Orange County Register reports. The 24-year-old Walton scored a career-high 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting from the field in a 105-87 Clippers win over Sacramento Tuesday.