I thought Kerr looked more enthusiastic at times this season than he did during some of the dynasty era, when he was battling the intense headaches and other issues related to his botched 2015 back surgery and had to deal with the drama and tension of the last few seasons. This season, he could just coach. And Kerr is also just feeling better and better more than four years after the intense pain and dizziness caused him to miss 43 games during the 2015-16 season and 11 playoff games in 2017. “I’m good, I’m good,” Kerr said. “I haven’t missed a game now in like, three years I think. It’s been a long time. I love coaching and I love what I do. I look forward to being in the gym every day. So, for the most part, I’m doing much, much better and consistently feel pretty good. Not 100 percent, but when you’re 54 and got the mileage I have, probably never going to be 100 percent, that’s just the way it is. All in all, I feel pretty good and really happy to be out there night after night.”
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Drew Shiller: Steve Kerr just told @Damon Bruce that he has resumed playing golf: “I’m just happy to be out there playing again. I played about three times over the last six weeks or so. I didn’t play for several years, so it feels good to be back out on the course.”
So Kerr hardly ever gives detailed wellness updates to reporters, his players, Warriors staffers or even his closest friends. It dredges it all up again. It can be exhausting to keep addressing the issue while also enduring such a calamity to his nervous system. It’s all very understandable.
But again, he’s in a very public job; he regularly displayed distressing symptoms over the last few years; and now there’s a big and lively difference. “It’s kind of under the radar because of all the other stuff that’s going on,” Shaun Livingston said recently, “but I notice that he has his physical therapist, one here, one on the road traveling with him. I think it’s paying off. The consistent work is kind of accumulating, you know? I think he’s feeling better mentally, too.”
Anybody who observes the Warriors regularly can tell that Kerr seems fresher this season, that he isn’t reflexively rubbing his eyes, contorting his body to adjust to the pain or generally looking like a bundle of frayed nerves all exploding at once. His face seems fuller and sunnier, his eyes look more focused and his energy level is obviously much higher. He’s not close to 100 percent of what he was before the surgery and he’s still going through difficulties, but he also doesn’t have to fight through so much each and every second.
Mark Medina: Steve Kerr asked by @Josh Robbins on what advice he gives to coaches entering the league on managing health considering Steve experienced that. Kerr: “My advice to coaches coming into the league is don’t get back surgery.”
People also asked Kerr about his health. He missed the first 43 games of the 2015-16 season, and later 11 games during the 2016-17 playoffs, due to the searing headaches that have afflicted him in the wake of a spinal fluid leak that occurred during back surgery. “I’m doing better. Thank you for asking,” Kerr said. “I played golf a few weeks ago for the first time in a while.”
The 52-year-old Kerr has fought through significant health issues in the past three years, but has been determined to push forward with this Warriors dynasty.
But I thought Kerr looked as vibrant and animated as he has in years during the Western Conference finals against Houston, which was as pressurized as it has gotten around this franchise in a long time. I told that to somebody close to Kerr, and that person agreed, noting that Kerr is figuring out how to deal with the pain, is narrowing down the medications to the ones he knows actually work, which reduces the side effects (if you’ve noticed, he isn’t squinting and rubbing his eyes as much in the glare of bright lights), and has generally felt better throughout this season.
“We’ll get it done this summer,” Lacob said after the Warriors swept the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals. “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.”
But Kerr said Wednesday he wants to continue coaching for a long time. Those side effects haven’t gone away completely, but they haven’t prevented him from coaching his team this season. He’s been on the bench for all 42 games. In light of Jon Gruden inking a 10-year contract recently to coach the Raiders, Kerr was asked before Wednesday’s game if he would sign a contract of that length. “Yeah, I’d love to. I love what I do. I don’t see anybody giving me a 10-year contract though,” he said with a laugh. “I plan on coaching for a long time. I love what I do.”
Monte Poole: No extension talks, but #Warriors GM Bob Myers says Steve Kerr ‘can be our coach for as long as he wants.’ Kerr is focused on his health.
Connor Letourneau: Kerr: “I feel better. I’m not 100 percent, but I’m on a good path, and I’m confident I’ll be 100 percent at some point.”
Carl Steward: Bob Myers on Steve Kerr’s health status: “In his mind, he’s coaching our entire season.” But Kerr will soon address the situation himself.
Entering this season, it’s my understanding Steve is considered fully healthy. But how do you prepare for any scenarios where you might be the interim head coach again? “It’s easy for me. I’m an assistant coach here. Steve is the head coach and is our leader. I understand that 100 percent … If Steve takes time off again or something like that, I understand it’s my job to take the step up and take over the team. But in the meantime, I’m very excited about my role and looking forward to us heading into the year with Steve being healthy the entire year and competing for another championship.”
Take me through that time when you found out you would be the interim coach during most of the playoffs, and what you got out of that experience? Mike Brown: ”It’s probably one of the toughest things I’ve had to walk into. I just relied on the experiences I had in the past. I tried to figure out different scenarios or situations good and bad that we may run into throughout the course of this run as the acting head coach and imagined myself in a situation that made me uncomfortable because we’re down big or a player and I had a disagreement. I tried to internalize how I would respond. It was almost like when you give a speech, you look in the mirror and say the speech to yourself so you can watch your facial inflections, reactions and all that other stuff. Then you go out and you actually do it.”
Mike Brown: “[Steve’s] communication skills are on par with one of the greatest communicators of all time in Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs. Their style is a little bit different. But it’s just as effective, just as powerful and garners just as much as Pop does from some of the greatest players of all time because of the way he communicates. One of the attributes that I observed on a daily basis was how even keeled he was. He never got too excited, nor did he ever get too down, no matter if things were good or things were bad in front of him. Our guys, especially the veteran group we have, really feed off of that. They know if Steve was a believer in them and he was calm, cool and collected, that they would be the same and just focus on trying to do their jobs at the highest level. For me, that was one of the biggest things I wanted to concentrate on.”
With Kerr being absent in two of the last three seasons there might be concern of him missing even more time this year. However, in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, Kerr laid that all to rest immediately. “I fully expect to coach all year,” Kerr says in a no-nonsense tone. “That’s my expectation. And for many years to come.”
Kerr not only made it clear that he’ll be coaching this season, but he laid to rest any whispers of his back forcing him into retirement. That said, he’s not willing to state he’s fully healthy.
How confident is he that he’ll be able to coach all season? “I fully expect to coach all year,” Kerr says in a no-nonsense tone. “That’s my expectation. And for many years to come.” He says that getting back to the demands and pressures of the job when training camp opens won’t be a problem. “No, I don’t look at it that way,” Kerr says. “I enjoy what I do; I don’t look at it like a grind and pressure. I’m looking forward to getting back in the gym.”
No coach ever stops coaching, even in the offseason. Kerr says he spends at minimum a couple of hours a day on Warriors business. “I’m on the phone, talking to (general manager) Bob Myers, talking to our coaches and to different people. Writing down thoughts, putting together plans for our coaching retreat (before training camp). It might be just something that pops into my head, where I just stop and write something down. But I’m not Jon Gruden (famous workaholic), I’m not waking up at five in the morning and going to the film room (laugh).”
General manager Bob Myers said Monday that Kerr would have time off as needed in the coming weeks to find more options to better his long-term health, and Kerr said he would be traveling to do so. “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,” Myers said. “The hope is he got back to the place he was prior to leaving in Portland, which is not where he wants to be but he can coach. There’s a little bit of a misconception that stepping away would help him heal. And I tried to dispel that and you should ask him, because I think even he gets a little offended at the notion of, `Just step away and go get better.’ I said this before, this is where he feels the best, which may be counterintuitive to what people think. It’s not that the job diminishes him in any way. Actually, the job, I would say, propels him.”
Kerr went on Zach Lowe’s podcast on Wednesday, and while he didn’t address his health directly, he told Lowe he planned on being around for a while. Kerr’s basic premise was that the Warriors have something special and he doesn’t want to miss out on being a part of that.
Here’s what he had to say: “This kind of stuff happens very rarely in the NBA where you get a group of players this talented who are together in their primes. It’s so rare so I know exactly how lucky I am. “I love it, I love the group, I love coaching them every day, and this is what I want to do for a long time. That’s the plan, so I just got to keep pushing forward.”
The lingering issues from the back surgery he had in 2015 that kept him out for the first half of the season last year returned with a vengeance two games into these playoffs. Brown took over, the winning continued, while Kerr’s condition steadily improved. He still doesn’t sound great. He’s not at his best. But it’s the NBA Finals, the highest level of his hoop. “That’s why I got into coaching,” Kerr said. “My TV gig was pretty good, but I love the competition. This is such an epic matchup. These guys are so damn good. It was frustrating not to be there for Game 1. It’s frustrating not to be with the team the last 5-6 weeks on the sidelines. It’s just great to be back.”
Kerr didn’t want to become a gratuitous drama to these Warriors, or worse: Kerr didn’t want to be less than himself upon his return to these NBA Finals and somehow fail his franchise. The agony of a recurring spinal cord leak had sent him away, and a hurdle to his return had been the uncertainty of his staying power. Kerr couldn’t bear to come back – only to feel worse again, and leave these Warriors back with top assistant coach Mike Brown. In a quiet corridor of Oracle Arena on Sunday night, Myers nodded his head toward the Warriors locker room. “When Steve and I discussed it, I told him, ‘They support you trying, too,’ ” Myers told The Vertical. “Everybody supports you trying, too. We understand there’s a risk of trying, but it’s a risk worth taking, too. And if it hadn’t have gone well, we’d pick ourselves up and move on. “In my opinion, the bigger risk would’ve been him saying that he was ready, me believing that he was ready and then denying him. That would’ve been wrong all the way around.”
When everyone walked past Myers on Sunday night, congratulating him on the series, he swiftly told each of them: We were up 2-0 a year ago to them, and how did that turn out? Nevertheless, something did change on Sunday night for Golden State. Kerr was back, and they became whole again. “Listen, I am happy for him,” Myers said. “I’m happy for the outcome tonight. But I think mostly, I am happy that he got to do this. This is the pinnacle of a coach’s career. To have to sit on the sideline in these moments is excruciating.”
Carl Steward: Kerr gets a thunderous ovation as he walks out to the bench.
Golden State coach Steve Kerr will come back to the Warriors’ bench Sunday night for Game 2 of the NBA Finals against the Cavaliers following an indefinite leave of absence as he recovered from the migraines and nausea he has experienced stemming from back surgery almost two years ago.
Anthony Slater: Steve Kerr said he feels his health is back to the baseline level he coached all 82 games this season before it worsened in 1st round.
Anthony Slater: Steve Kerr said he hasn’t informed the team he’s coaching yet: “But they probably already know since they’re always on their phones.”
Michael Grange: ‘What’s our record without me? …. 51-4? These guys are not easily distracted’ – Kerr on if his health has been a distraction.
Adam Lauridsen: Lue on Kerr: “It’s just great to see him back.”
Ramona Shelburne: Steve Kerr WILL coach tonight
Scott Cacciola: Kerr arrives for his press conference. “Any questions?” He’s coaching tonight.
Adam Lauridsen: Kerr: “It’s good to be back. Mike did ok while I was gone.”
Q: Is him coaching tomorrow on the table? Bob Myers: Every game has been on the table, and I don’t know. But they’ve all been on the table. If we end up saying they’re off the table, you guys would know. If they were off the table right now, I’d sit here and tell you. It’s off the table, they’re all off the table. I don’t know the right way to do it, but the way we’re choosing to do it is, give him as much time as he needs. If he gets to that point in time, we’ll deal with it then.
He’s here, but he’s not here. And one of these days – maybe even on Sunday when the Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers face off at Oracle Arena for Game 2 – that much will change. “Every (playoff) game has been on the table (for a possible Kerr return), and I don’t know (about Game 2),” Myers told a small group of reporters at the team’s media availability session. “But they’ve all been on the table. If we end up saying they’re off the table, you guys would know… The way we’re choosing to do it is give him as much time as he needs, and if it gets to that point in time, we’ll deal with it then.”
From Myers’ vantage point, the process is a whole lot easier because of the trust that everyone has in the 51-year-old Kerr. “When that day comes, and he says I’m ready, I think we’ll say, ‘Go coach,’” Myers said. “In his entire tenure here, he’s done what’s best for the team. This isn’t about him or his ego or anything like that. If anything, he’s shown a willingness to put the team first all of the time, and so whatever decision is made that will be the primary focus. What’s best for our team? I trust him on that side.
There was a report last night that Steve Kerr might be able to come back Sunday. How realistic is that? Bob Myers: I think we’re going to hear, ‘Steve might come back’ for the rest of the series. It’s an easy thing for someone to say. I could say that every day, and it could be true. But until it becomes something different than that, whether it means he’s not or he is, it’s going to keep being, “he might.” That’s what keeps the question being asked, which is fair. People want to know. I would say nothing has changed from last night to today, when you’re talking to me. Otherwise, we would have announced it. So it’s still status quo. We’re seeing how he feels and we’ll read that on a daily basis.
If Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr feels well over the next few days without any setbacks, there remains some optimism he could coach Sunday in Game 2 of the NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers, sources told ESPN. “He may coach Sunday. He’s feeling better,” a source close to Kerr told ESPN’s Marc Spears.
Anthony Slater: Steve Kerr is in the building and was meeting with Adam Silver a few minutes ago, Mike Brown said.
As expected, Mike Brown will officially coach the Warriors in Game 1 of The Finals, his 11th straight game filling in for the ailing Steve Kerr.
Kerr hasn’t officially been ruled out of the rest of the series, but his health issues, stemming from a back surgery gone bad two years ago, are still bothering him to the point that he is not able to return to the sidelines.
Joe Lacob: As a human being more than anything else I just feel bad for what Steve has had to go through and to endure. It’s not fun and it’s very unlucky, it’s a rare thing. It does happen and it’s happened to others. So I feel compassion for him first and foremost as my friend.
Joe Lacob on Steve Kerr: He is our coach. I’d love him to be our coach for a long, long time. I just want him to get better.
Tania Ganguli: Steve Kerr watching the end of Warriors practice. pic.twitter.com/sdxHe6xilq
Can you describe what it is you’re evaluating as you decide whether you can coach now? Steve Kerr: It’s a pain thing and the repercussions of pain. I’ve been dealing with it for almost two years. I’ve been able to deal with it for the most part. It’s not a cognitive thing. It’s not even really an energy thing. It’s a pain thing. And the threshold is really important–what’s the threshold? For whatever reason, I don’t know why, but a month ago, man, it got worse.
Nick (Kerr’s son) said there’s been no direct communication with Mike during games… -KERR: No, none. -Q: Is that difficult to resist–you ever felt like telling Nick to go run out to the bench and tell Mike something? -KERR: No. No. There’s 10 or 15 decisions you make during the game, rotation decisions. Most of them are all pretty easy for us because we have generally been staying with what we do, maybe it’s an Ian or Patrick thing, or how long do we stay with JaVale. There’s not really huge rotation decision-making.*
No matter what happens in the Finals, will you be coaching the start of next regular season? -KERR: That’s the plan. But what’s the date–it’s May 30. I can’t promise anything, neither can Bob (Myers). We have to figure everything out this summer. It’s a very unique situation, a very difficult situation for me personally and for Bob and Joe. It’s probably unprecedented.
Tim Kawakami: General summary: Kerr has been feeling better the last few days, but there are many factors to weigh before he decides about coaching. Obviously Game 1 is just two days away. Tomorrow is the huge Media Day. As I keep saying, nobody on the Warriors wants to rush this. But Kerr is feeling better–he ran practice today and yesterday. He’s nowhere close to all the way back, but he’s taking steps forward.
Tim Kawakami: I also spoke to Nick Kerr, and I cannot fully explain how much having Nick and the rest of Kerr’s family around must be helping Kerr.
Anthony Slater: Steve Kerr: “Good news is the team’s healthy. But the bad news is, the coaches are dropping like flies.” pic.twitter.com/6cpMWhdbRm
Anthony Slater: Steve Kerr laughing: “There seems to be a theme when I’m out. We’re something like 108-2.” + his thoughts on Mike Brown’s coaching job pic.twitter.com/dIYgSMFv2Z
“First of all, Steve may be back,” Brown told The Undefeated on Thursday night after the Cavaliers eliminated the Boston Celtics, 135-102, in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals to advance to their third consecutive Finals against the Warriors. “We all want him to be back. So, I’m just taking this thing one day at a time. He’s been great. [General manager] Bob Myers has been great. The guys [players] have been great.
Carl Steward: Steve Kerr not ready to coach, says Bob Myers not slamming door on it. Doesn’t sound likely.
Tim Bontemps: Bob Myers: “I don’t know. Steve is doing everything but coaching, and right now he’s not able to coach.”
Carl Steward: Warriors GM Bob Myers will be speaking to the media shortly regarding Steve Kerr’s status for the NBA Finals. Stay tuned.
Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr said he’s not sure yet whether he’ll be able to coach in the NBA Finals as he continues to deal with complications from back surgery two years ago that have kept him from coaching the past 10 playoff games. “Just day-by-day,” Kerr told The Undefeated’s Marc Spears, when asked about his status after the Warriors completed a sweep of the San Antonio Spurs on Monday night in the Western Conference finals.
Connor Letourneau: Brown said he’s still communicating with Steve Kerr “at least twice a day.”
Adam Lauridsen: Pop on Kerr’s health: “It’s just a crap situation.”
When the Warriors head to San Antonio for Game 3 of the Western Conference finals, they’ll have their head coach with them. Golden State coach Steve Kerr is expected to travel with the team to Texas on Thursday, general manager Bob Myers said Wednesday. Kerr is on an indefinite leave of absence while he battles pain and other issues left over from his 2015 back surgery. “He will be on the trip,” Myers said on 95.7 The Game in San Francisco.
Tim Kawakami: Kevin Durant on Kerr’s half-time talk: “He was calm. He wasn’t yelling at anybody.”
Tim Kawakami: But Kerr’s words, in person, had an effect. “He’s the head coach,” Brown said. “We’re all going to follow his lead, no matter what.”
Tim Kawakami: Bob Myers watched the game in the coaches office with Steve Kerr in the first half. He said it was about as interesting as you’d think.
Rosalyn Gold-Onwude: Warriors players shared hearing from Steve Kerr in lockeroom at halftime was helpful. “Reassuring voice”. “Always good to hear from Steve”
It didn’t go well early for Golden State. The Spurs shocked the Warriors in the first half, jumping out to a 20-point lead at halftime. Even though Kerr was still not coaching on the bench, he joined his team in the locker room and looked to calm down his players.
Kerr said: “We gotta find that balance between pace and discipline. Right? So we’re a little out of sorts because we’re trying to push it, trying to push it. And now we’re turning it over a little bit. I thought our defense was actually really good in the first quarter. But then we turned it over and they got some easy ones. And now we’re playing from behind. But in the second quarter we got out of sorts. So, get your poise back, wings run like crazy. Just settle in on like three stops in a row. Three stops in a row and the push will come from that. Settle in. We’ll be all right.”
Sean Cunningham: Steve Kerr told his team at halftime the importance of getting three straight stops – it’s working
Anthony Slater: Halftime talk from Steve Kerr via @NBA
Ramona Shelburne: Steve Kerr will be at Oracle today and watch Game 1 from the lockeroom, per Mike Brown.
Monte Poole: Hearing from sources that Steve Kerr plans to be at Oracle Arena for Gm 1 of #Warriors vs #Spurs.
It’s the first time Kerr has been at a home practice since he took a leave of absence in the middle of the first round to find a remedy for the pain he’s been dealing with stemming from back surgery he had almost two years ago. For many on the team, it was the first time they had seen Kerr in nearly two weeks.
Curry said Kerr was semiactive Saturday. “He was one of the coaches in our pregame film, just giving his assessment of the series and things we need to do well,” he said. “Obviously, coach (Mike) Brown led most of it, but he was present.”
“He’s the guy that laid the foundation and got everybody headed in the right directions. And so the more he can be around, the better feel that all of us have … it was good to see him out here today.” Kerr also was present in a coaches’ meeting Friday. The Warriors continue to say they do not know if Kerr will be back on the sideline this postseason.
Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr attended Saturday’s practice leading up to Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals against the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday.
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