Diamond Leung: Steve Kerr is here on his first regular …

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The Golden State Warriors have been without Steve Kerr since training camp, as the head coach recovers from a spinal fluid leak. The team has not given a timetable for his return, but one Warriors player said that he might not be back until after February's All-Star festivities. "We had a chance to catch up with coach Kerr before the game and he still seemed very fatigued, told us he's dealing with headaches, is still heavily medicated," ESPN's J.A. Adande reported during the Warriors' game against the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday. "Yet [he] did get a chance to talk to the team after its 50-point victory over the Memphis Grizzlies the other day. He joked with them that, 'It's obvious you guys need me.' Now, they took that as a good sign his sense of humor was back. But he's still far away. In fact, one player told me they wouldn't be surprised if it takes him until after the All-Star break to return. And they're prepared to go that long without him."
"I know I'm on the right track, the right path," Kerr said. "I'm very confident that I will be back this season and I can't wait; it's killing me. It is killing me not to be out there tonight."
He said there’s also “a decent chance” he’ll go with the team to Houston and New Orleans later this week… and that–as he gradually feels better and starts to exercise–he’s sure he’ll be back coaching at some point this season.
Kerr had surgery to repair a ruptured disk in his back July 28, but during the procedure, the dura surrounding the spinal cord was nicked and caused spinal-fluid leakage. On Sept. 4, Kerr had a second operation to patch the leak, but five weeks later, he’s still having adverse symptoms while taking a leave of absence from the team. “The body forms spinal fluid constantly,” said Dr. Neel Anand, the director of spine trauma at Cedars-Sinai Spine Center in Los Angeles. “As long as it doesn’t continue to leak, he’ll make a full recovery and be back to normal.”
Ramona Shelburne: Walton said his expectation is that Kerr plans to stay away to rest and recover. He needs "peace" as he struggles with this back injury
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January 25, 2021 | 12:45 pm EST Update

David Griffin: 'I know when not to flip the switch'

I asked Griffin how he knows when it’ll be the right moment to cash in his draft picks. He contrasted the unknowns in New Orleans to his experiences in Cleveland, where he oversaw the transition from an up-and-comer to a title team after signing LeBron. “I’ve never really been able to say unequivocally ‘go flip the switch.’ LeBron is the only player in the NBA whose presence alone makes you a Finals contender. So when LeBron came back to Cleveland, it was time to rock and roll,” Griffin said. “I don’t know if I do know when to flip the switch. But I know when not to. I hope that this group grows and develops in the way we anticipate and that it will become fairly obvious when we should cash in some of those chips. In the presence of a sound process, decisions often make themselves. I hope we’re able to bring that to fruition.”
Even with a lack of spacing, Williamson remains a force with all-time scoring efficiency near the rim. He’s only in his second season, and he’s averaging 22.8 points on a 61.4 true shooting percentage through 38 games of his career. “My comfort level is still growing,” Williamson said. “I’m only like 30 games in. There’s so much for me to learn.” The Pelicans hope Williamson will learn from Adams, who does so many of the little things, like setting bone-crushing screens, boxing out, and playing hard on defense. But after a strong start on defense, Adams’s play has declined this past week or so, just like it did midway through last season with Oklahoma City.
Most response is positive, reportedly neither Bucks fans nor players complain to the team about the uniform’s resonance with the thin blue line flag, which has become prominent by this point. Sources with knowledge of the process point out blue, including stripes, has been on the jersey for seven years. But evolving symbols from hate groups present an evolving challenge in NBA marketing. For instance, teams have generally stopped promoting images of players celebrating 3-pointers with hand gestures that could be interpreted as the white power “OK” sign. A jersey taken as offensive could theoretically be pulled from circulation, but no TrueHoop sources could cite an example of that ever happening.
A year later and West still can’t get Bryant’s death out of his mind. “When I saw that Christmas card, the first thing said was, ‘When is the anniversary coming up?’” West said. “But the effect it had on this city, and really because of his enormous popularity, I just think it takes something out of you. You see some people who can do anything they want to and never contribute anything to society. You would think with the enormous success that he had in his life, and he was willing to give back. But he was willing to continue to grow into a different iconic person in another different field. It’s rare that an athlete can do that. LeBron James has certainly done it. And I admire those players that do it, I really admire them.”