Steve Kerr RumorsAll NBA Players
Maybe Luke Walton is going to get credit for those 16 Warriors wins after all. A source confirmed Friday that the league is looking into the long-held custom of wins not being credited to interim coaches, but rather to coaches on leave such as the Warriors’ Steve Kerr. The reconsideration likely has to do with the awkward situation the league is about to face: Who gets named Western Conference coach of the month honors? “It doesn’t matter to me,” Walton said of the possibility of having wins on his record as the league reviewed the Warriors’ extenuating circumstances. “It really doesn’t…I’m good either way.”
Adding to the confusion, Kerr and Walton are engaged in a brutal war of deferential humility. To hear Walton tell it, he’s just a functionary, carrying out Kerr’s well-laid plans. To hear Kerr tell it, Walton deserves all the credit. “I think it’s ridiculous,” Kerr told ESPN.com when asked about getting all of Walton’s wins. “I’m sitting in the locker room and watching the games on TV, and I’m not even traveling to most of the road games. Luke’s doing all the work with the rest of the staff. Luke is 15-0 right now. I’m not. So it’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard, to be honest with you. I don’t even understand it.” Walton expresses no angst over being winless, saying of Kerr, “Steve’s done a lot for me. It’s the least I can do to add a couple wins on his total for him with all he’s done for me.”
Kerr is there in Walton’s ear almost every step of the way, making the most of a connection that he knew would be important here. “We’re talking normally a couple times a day now,” Walton said of Kerr, who is still unsure when he’ll return. “And if it’s a home game, we talk at halftime, we talk pregame, we talk at shootarounds. It’s getting more and more.”
“I’m having fun, but Steve deserves to be doing this right now,” he said. “I can’t wait for him to get back — for him. He deserves this. He put this thing together. He loves doing it, and it’s killing him not being here. So as much as I’m enjoying it, I’m looking forward to being able to watch Steve get back to his normal life.”
Said Warriors general manager Bob Myers of Kerr and Walton: “They have equity in the relationship. They knew each other before, there’s the whole (University of) Arizona mafia deal (both men played there). So I think it’s a bonus, but a very important bonus, that they interact in a very healthy way.”
Kerr has a habit of giving real responsibilities to his support staff, trusting assistant coaches, player development guys and video coordinators more than your typical NBA head coach. That belief system was on display for all to see during the NBA Finals in June, when Kerr gave public credit to 28-year-old special assistant Nick U’Ren for the series-altering decision to put Andre Iguodala in the starting lineup.