Steve Kerr

Warriors To Make Significant Changes This Offseason?

The Warriors brought Northern California yet another parade, celebrating their third championship over the last four seasons. Despite the nearly unprecedented success, the team will continue to evolve and coach Steve Kerr said there may be significant changes to the team’s roster.

“We had a lot of vets this year. I think you’ll see more youth and energy to help us get through all that,” Kerr told ESPN’s Zach Lowe on the scribe’s podcast. “We’re going to have to be very creative and we going to have pace ourselves again and hopefully everything comes together in the playoffs, but you never know.”

Several of the team’s veterans are set to become free agents and it sounds like Kerr is preparing to lose a number of them. Zaza Pachulia, who made roughly $3.47MM this past season, will hit the market. David West (approximately $1.47MM) may retire. Nick Young (slightly over $5.19MM) signed a one-year contract last offseason and will look for work yet again this summer.

If Golden State is going to hand out anything over the minimum, it will have significant financial ramifications on the club. NBA teams trigger the repeater tax penalties if it pays the luxury tax in a given season and has paid it in three of the previous four years. The franchise paid the luxury tax during the 2015/16 campaign as well as this past season. If the Warriors finish next season above the luxury tax line, they’ll face the harsher parameters on their payments.

Those fiercer penalties are as follows:

  • $0-5MM above tax line: $2.50 per dollar (up to $12.5MM).
  • $5-10MM above tax line: $2.75 per dollar (up to $13.75MM).
  • $10-15MM above tax line: $3.50 per dollar (up to $17.5MM).
  • $15-20MM above tax line: $4.25 per dollar (up to $21.25MM).
  • For every additional $5MM above tax line beyond $20MM, rates increase by $0.50 per dollar (ie. $4.75 for $20-25MM, $5.25 for $25-30MM, etc.).

The Warriors already have roughly $103MM in guaranteed salary on the books for next season and that’s before Kevin Durant gets whatever contract he wants. Not to mention Golden State plans to talk extensions with both Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.

The luxury tax line is projected to come in at $121MM and while the team isn’t going to be frivolous with its top players, it may be more prudent with its fringe rotation players, as it will almost certainly be a luxury tax payer in the summer of 2019 and possibly beyond. It would be surprising if the team brings back Young at or near his current salary given his production and the franchise’s luxury tax repeater status.

The USC product sported a 3.1 player efficiency rating during this year’s playoffs. Of the 158 players who played at least 6.0 minutes per game this postseason, only four had a worse mark than Young. He saw a total of 205 minutes, though much of his court time came with the team ahead and the game nearly out of reach.

The Warriors found production on cheap deals in Jordan Bell and Quinn Cook this season, and it appears they will look to replicate that success by searching for young, affordable talent to fill out the roster behind Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, and their four All-Stars.

Myers: Warriors Will Give Durant ‘Whatever He Wants’ On New Deal

Kevin Durant indicated several days ago that he fully intends to re-sign with the Warriors after opting out of his contract this summer, and it doesn’t sound like president of basketball operations Bob Myers will draw any sort of hard line in negotiations. As Janie McCauley of The Associated Press relays, Myers said the team is prepared to give Durant “whatever he wants.”

“Sometimes you don’t negotiate. I’d love to have him for 10 years. Kevin Durant, look what he did for us last year, he did us a great service,” Myers said. “He’s earned the right to sign whatever deal he wants. I just want him to sign a deal. But want him to be happy and want him to know that we want him as long as he wants to be here. He’s earned that, to kind of lay out the terms. He can do whatever he wants. That shouldn’t be a long negotiation.”

In each of the last two summers, Durant has signed a two-year contract with a second-year player option in order to maximize his flexibility. However, the Early Bird exception prohibits that sort of deal. If the Warriors re-sign the star forward using his Early Bird rights, the contract would have to be for at least two years (with no options) and couldn’t exceed four years.

Durant could still sign a one-year pact with an eye toward hitting free agency again in 2019, when he’ll have full Bird rights and could sign a five-year contract. But a one-year deal this year would use the Non-Bird exception and wouldn’t allow him to earn his full max, since he accepted a discount last summer. As such, Durant will have some decisions to make this offseason, and it sounds like the Warriors are ready to accommodate whatever path he chooses.

Meanwhile, the Warriors have a few other extension candidates to keep an eye on this summer, including Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and head coach Steve Kerr. For his part, Kerr said he expects to get a new agreement “done pretty quick,” suggesting that wouldn’t be an acrimonious negotiation either. As for Thompson and Green, Myers agreed with team owner Joe Lacob that the team will explore new deals for those stars this offseason, but suggested that won’t necessarily be a top priority.

“It’s a lot of different conversations that have to take place and if that’s something that we want to look into, I’m sure we could have those (conversations),” Myers said. “Klay’s got another year, Draymond’s got two more. Kevin’s really the free agent we have to focus on.”

NBA Finals Roundup: James, Lue, Durant, Curry, West, Young

With the season now over, the focus turns to LeBron James and his pending free agency decision. James can opt out of the final year of his contract and hit unrestricted free agency for the third time. He has until June 29 to make a decision.

Following the Cavaliers‘ loss to the Warriors in Game 4 of the NBA Finals, which completed a sweep of Cleveland, James discussed his pending decision, ESPN’s Dave McMenamin writes. While James has not made up his mind, he said input from his family will be a major factor this summer.

“The one thing that I’ve always done is considered, obviously, my family,” James said. “Understanding especially where my boys are at this point in their age. They were a lot younger the last time I made a decision like this four years ago. I’ve got a teenage boy, a preteen and a little girl that wasn’t around as well. So sitting down and considering everything, my family is a huge part of whatever I’ll decide to do in my career, and it will continue to be that. So I don’t have an answer for you right now as far as that.”

James has left Cleveland once before, signing a deal in 2010 with the Heat, where he won two championships in four seasons. The 33-year-old returned to the Cavaliers prior to the 2014/15 season, leading the organization to a championship the following year.

Check out more news to come out of the NBA Finals below:

  • As we relayed earlier, James suffered a self-inflicted injury to his right hand after he punched a whiteboard out of frustration following the Cavaliers’ loss in Game 1.
  • After battling some health issues throughout the season, Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue intends to return next year, Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com writes. “Yeah, I do,” Lue said of his intentions. “I had some tough problems going on throughout the course of the season, and … I probably could have folded myself, but I wasn’t going to do that.” Lue previously told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols that was treated for anxiety this season.
  • Kevin Durant became the 11th player to win two NBA Finals Most Valuable Player awards, per The Associated Press. With back-to-back championships and Finals MVPs to his credit, Durant’s focus will now turn to his contract situation. He intends to remain with the Warriors, but will likely sign a new deal.
  • Stephen Curry has two regular season MVPs to his credit but Durant has taken home that honor the last two NBA Finals. However, Curry prioritizes the team success over his individual accolades, Mark Medina of the Mercury News writes. “K.D.’s been amazing these last two years, especially in The Finals, and so deserving of back-to-back Finals MVPs,” Curry said. “I’m going to be his biggest fan in there with what he’s able to do. I think the biggest thing we appreciate in the locker room is, again, what everybody brings to the table and we kind of unlock the greatness out of each other.”
  • One of the most visibly excited players to win his first championship was the Warriors’ Nick Young, per Alysha Tsuji of USA TODAY. ‘Swaggy P’ only played 38 combined minutes in the NBA Finals but he helped the team off the bench during the regular season. “I went from getting snitched on to putting a ring on!” Young told reporters.
  • Warriors veteran David West said the team’s championship victory is even more remarkable given various behind-the-scenes issues the public is not aware of, tweets The Undefeated’s Marc J. Spears. “Y’all got no clue. No clue. That tells you about this team that nothing came out,” West said.
  • Warriors head coach Steve Kerr has now coached the club to three championships in four seasons. We noted earlier that Warriors ownership believes Kerr will sign an extension with the team this summer.

Lacob: Kerr Expected To Sign Extension This Summer

After the Warriors captured their third championship in four seasons on Friday, owner Joe Lacob said that the organization expects to sign head coach Steve Kerr to an extension, ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne writes.

Kerr, 52, has one year left on the original five-year, $25MM pact he signed with Golden State prior to the 2014/15 season. With three championships to his credit, the organization wants to keep Kerr in his current role.

“We’ll get it done this summer,” Lacob said. “Let him rest a little bit. But we’ll get it done. He wants to be with us. We want him long term. He obviously has some health issues he’s still working through, but we’ll get it done. I think as long as he feels comfortable doing it long term, we want him.”

Health issues have been a recurring theme during Kerr’s tenure as head coach. Last season, Kerr missed a month-and-a-half of the postseason due to painful migraines and nausea that stemmed from back surgery he underwent two years prior. Kerr also missed the first 43 games of the 2015/16 season due to complications from back surgery. Kerr coached the entire 2017/18 season without issue.

All told, Kerr has coached the Warriors to a 265-63 record in four seasons, leading the team to the NBA Finals in each of those campaigns.

Warriors Notes: Durant, Looney, Kerr, Green

As Kevin Durant continues his quest to win a second consecutive NBA Championship during the Western Conference Finals, Darren Rovell of ESPN takes an interesting look into how Durant is using his new home in the Bay Area as a means to grow his financial portfolio.

Durant has invested in Nike, Alaska Airlines and American Family Insurance, among other businesses, while his own media company, Thirty Five Media, is producing original content such as Swagger, which was recently sold to Apple, and two other projects that are currently in development with major TV networks.

Rovell also touched Durant’s endorsement battle between Nike and Under Armour during the summer of 2014 when Durant ultimately signed a 10-year, $300 million deal with Nike. Said Durant:

“I knew I had a supreme skill that needed to be compensated for, and I knew I played my way into having these negotiations. But I didn’t want to start over at Under Armour or Adidas. I knew where I wanted to be, and $300 million was more than enough.”

Finally, Durant spoke about his interest in potentially owning an NBA franchise someday, if possible.

“I wish I had the money. It’s crazy. Obviously, the financial part is definitely going to be the hardest part. (But) I would love to (own a team). All the aspects of owning a team, I would love to be involved in — from the financial and marketing side to the team-building to the camaraderie to the coaching.”

There’s more out of Oakland:

  • Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post says that while the Warriors have four of the top 20 players in the NBA on their roster, the lack of a reliable supporting cast is threatening to derail the team’s run to a third championship in four seasons. Bontemps specifically mentions the signings of Nick Young and Omri Casspi as “spectacular failures.”
  • Head coach Steve Kerr has won the Professional Basketball Writes Associations’ 2017/18 Rudy Tomjanovich Award, which honors the NBA coach who, in addition to exuding excellence on the bench, best cooperates with media and fans, reports Marc J. Spears of ESPN.
  • As we’ve noted before, it’s looking more and more likely that Kevon Looney will be playing basketball somewhere other than Oakland next year as he continues to impress during this year’s playoffs. After the team’s Game 3 win, Kerr specifically remarked on Looney’s ability as a big man to switch out onto talented playmakers such as Chris Paul and James Harden, reports Logan Murdock of the Bay Area News Group.

Andre Iguodala Upgraded To Questionable For Game 4

MAY 22, 1:29pm: Iguodala has been upgraded to questionable for Game 4, according to Slater (Twitter links). While Slater wouldn’t be surprised if Iguodala still ends up sitting out Tuesday’s game, he notes that the diagnosis for the veteran swingman is positive, as X-rays confirmed there’s no structural damage in his knee.

MAY 21, 2:47pm: Warriors forward Andre Iguodala is listed as doubtful for Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals on Tuesday due to knee soreness, Anthony Slater of The Athletic tweets.

Iguodala has a knee contusion that worsened overnight and caused him to miss practice on Monday, Ramona Shelburne of ESPN tweets.

Iguodala has been instrumental is dousing the Rockets’ normally high-octane offense, allowing Golden State to regain home-court advantage and take a 2-1 series lead. He’s played 27 or 28 minutes in each game and posted 10 points, three rebounds, three assists, three steals and a block in the 126-85 Game 3 blowout on Sunday.

Iguodala has played a minimum of 23 minutes in every postseason game this spring. It’s unknown how coach Steve Kerr will adjust his rotation if Iguodala can’t go, but Kevon Looney and Nick Young are the logical candidates for increased playing time, given that Kerr has gone with a small lineup to match up against the Rockets’ shooters.

Cavs Notes: Green, Zizic, Korver

The Cavaliers will start Jeff Green for the remainder of the season, Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com writes. Head coach Tyronn Lue cites the team’s recent success against some Eastern Conference contenders as the inspiration behind the 31-year-old combo forward’s promotion.

Lue likes Green’s ability to check opposing teams’ elite guards and certain metrics suggest that the Cavs are better both offensively and defensively with Green in the lineup alongside LeBron James.

I just like that we can switch a lot of 1 through 4 stuff and it gives us another ball handler on the floor too, so I just think it’s the right thing for us to start,” Lue said.

There’s more out of Cleveland tonight:

  • The Cavaliers saw a brief glimpse of what they acquired in the Kyrie Irving trade when rookie big man Ante Zizic was thrust into a more prominent role in the Cleveland rotation last month. Jason Lloyd of The Athletic talks about the Turkish pivot’s rise through the Adriatic League and the steps he’s taking to make a meaningful impact in the NBA.
  • The Cavs weren’t the only team interested in Kyle Korver when the veteran hit free agency last summer. Dave McMenamin of ESPN writes that among Korver’s suitors were the 76ers, Lakers and Spurs.
  • A commitment to a healthier diet and exercise has allowed Tyronn Lue to return to the sidelines after missing nine games related to chest pains he experienced last month. “This was the first time in 20 years where I really just had a chance to focus on me and get myself right and [Warriors coach Steve Kerr] reminded me of that,” Lue told Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. “We get so wrapped up in the game that we forget about real life, and it was the best advice I got so thank Steve for that.

Southwest Notes: Green/Paul, Aldridge, Ginobili, Parsons

Late in Sunday night’s win over Minnesota, Gerald Green of the Rockets shoved Timberwolves big man Gorgui Dieng into the stands in retaliation for Dieng pushing Chris Paul to the floor after being fouled

Green was ejected, causing Paul to speak out on his behalf, telling Rockets‘ beat writer Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle that he would take care of any fine levied against Green by the league. Said Green, “I’m just trying to be there for my teammate. I saw something happen and I reacted. I paid the consequences for it. I learned my lesson, got ejected, try not to do that again, and hopefully we’re going to move forward from this.”

Despite Green’s contrition, the league announced today that it has fined the Rockets swingman $25K for the incident, with no word yet on whether or not Paul with stay true to his word and foot the bill for Green coming to his defense.

There’s more coming out of the Southwest Division:

  • With all of the uncertainty surrounding the injury to and possible return of superstar Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge has quietly saved the Spurs‘ season, writes Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News. “I’m a leader, so I have to do what we need – playing defense, blocking shots, scoring,” Aldridge said. “It all comes with it. But my teammates have been great. Everyone has gotten better in this stretch. It’s been good for us.”
  • In another article for the San Antonio Express-News, McDonald reports that Warriors’ head coach Steve Kerr believes that Spurs veteran Manu Ginobili, 40, still has another year or so left in the tank. “I could see Manu playing when he is like 58, honestly,” Kerr said before Monday’s game. “He loves the game. He keeps himself in such great shape. I thought he was going to retire last year, so the fact he came back this year surprised me. (But) it wouldn’t shock me at all if Manu came back next year.”
  • It has been a frustrating tenure so far in Memphis for Grizzlies forward Chandler Parsons, but as reported by Michael Wallace of Grizzlies.com, Parsons believes he can get back to form next season barring any additional injury setbacks. “Obviously, there were high expectations coming here and I haven’t come close to meeting them. But in my head, it’s all health. I know if I’m healthy, I can play with the best of them. And I’ve shown flashes of that this year when I’ve played minutes.”

Injury Updates: Curry, Griffin, Paul, Hill

Two-time MVP Stephen Curry is expected to return on Saturday during a home game against the Grizzlies, Chris Haynes of ESPN.com reports. Curry will miss his 11th straight game on Friday because of a right ankle sprain but he participated in drills and a 3-on-3 scrimmage during practice on Thursday. “If all goes well, I expect him to play Saturday, but even if it goes well, I’m not expecting him to play (Friday),” Warriors coach Steve Kerr told the assembled media.

In other injury-related news around the league:

  • Blake Griffin practiced on Thursday after practicing with the Clippers’ G-League team on Wednesday, but it’s still uncertain whether he’ll play on Friday against the Lakers, according to Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times. Griffin has missed 14 games due to a sprained left MCL. Griffin said he would defer to the team’s medical staff. “That’s why we have the team doctors,” he said. “That’s why we have the training staff that we do. They have done a great job so far putting together … a rehab plan and pushing me and getting to this point.”
  • Rockets point guard Chris Paul is expected to play either Friday against the Wizards or Sunday against the Lakers, coach Mike D’Antoni told Jeff Goodman of ESPN (Twitter link). Paul missed his third consecutive game on Thursday due to an adductor strain.
  • Pelicans forward Solomon Hill rejoined the team to watch their victory over the Nets on Wednesday, but he’s not close to returning from the torn hamstring he suffered in August, William Guillory of the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports. Hill was expected to miss 6-8 months and that hasn’t changed. “It’s not going to get any quicker or anything like that.,” coach Alvin Gentry said. “We’re just going to have to let it play out. He’s still got a ways to go before he’s able to get back on the court and actually play.”

Warriors Notes: Kobe, Jones, McGee

Despite being the defending NBA champions and holding the league’s second best record so far this season at 23-6, the Warriors will be playing second fiddle during tonight’s contest against the Lakers in Los Angeles, reports Monte Poole of NBCS Bay Area.

Of course, tonight marks the Lakers’ retirement of iconic jersey numbers 8 and 24 in recognition of legend Kobe Bryant, who helped lead the Lakers to five championships during his illustrious 20-year career.  And given the circumstances, Warriors’ head coach Steve Kerr is willing to allow his team the freedom to leave the locker room at halftime to witness the ceremony.

I want our guys to see it,” Kerr said Saturday. “It’ll be a pretty cool moment. Just to experience of one of the greatest players in the history of the game getting his jersey retired and we happen to be there? I’m not going to keep them in the locker room watching tape from the first half. The players would look at me like I was nuts.”

There’s more from the Bay Area:

  • The Warriors are happy with the development of young big man Damian Jones, reports Melissa Rohlin of The Mercury News. The Warriors announced that they recalled Jones from the Santa Cruz Warriors on Sunday, one day after assistant coach Mike Brown watched Jones record 20 points, 15 rebounds and six assists against the Westchester Knicks.  Asked to discuss Jones mindset on his lack of role with the team thus far in his career, Kerr stated, “He’s handled it really well. He’s such a quiet guy, he doesn’t say a whole lot. It can’t be easy to be gone from the main group so often, but he understands. We talked to him about it. The most important thing is for him to play and gain experience.”
  • Teams are going to continue selling their second round picks to the Warriors (and other teams) so long as the price and circumstances are right, as Danny Leroux relays in a mailbag piece for The Athletic. Leroux also tackles questions regarding the futures of Jordan Bell and Patrick McCaw, among others.
  • After being an integral part of the Warriors championship run last season, JaVale McGee has seen his playing time significantly drop so far this season. The reduction in minutes is the result of the way the game is changing, reports Mark Medina of The Mercury News. Despite the challenge for McGee, he appears to be accepting of his new role. “He’s handling it well. I think JaVale has been really good as far as understanding things haven’t gone his way and staying with it,” Kerr said. “He works hard in practice. I tell him all the time things will turn. They always do.”