Soon after the Golden State Warriors returned from winning a second-straight NBA title in Cleveland, general manager Bob Myers said that work on Steve Kerr’s contract extension would begin as soon as the head coach was ready.
Several days later, after arriving at the NBA Draft party in flip-flops and a several-days-old carpet of gray scruff on his face, Kerr looked like he was in full vacation mode. Since then, he’s gotten back to work, and so has Myers. On Tuesday, Kerr, the winner of three NBA titles in his first four years of coaching, signed that extension.
“We’re excited to have Steve under contract and poised to lead our team for the next several years,” Myers said in a statement. “Under his guidance, we’ve been fortunate enough to win three NBA titles in four years and his ability to thrive in all facets of his job is certainly a primary reason for our success. He’s a terrific coach, but more importantly an incredible human being.”
While the terms of the deal were not released, Kerr just finished the fourth year of a five-year, $25-million deal, and according to a report by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the new deal will make Kerr among one of the highest-paid coaches in the league.
The top five NBA head coaching salaries belong to Kerr mentor Greg Popovich ($11 million per year), Doc Rivers ($10 million),Tom Thibodeaux ($10 million) andRick Carlisle ($7 million). Kerr’s deal had him squarely in the middle, at 12th in the NBA.
With his current run, Kerr, 52, has joined his former head coach with the Chicago Bulls, Phil Jackson, as well as John Kundla as the only head coaches in NBA history to win three titles in their first four seasons as head coach.
Kerr will return to a team that has All-Stars at each of the five starting positions, with the addition of DeMarcus Cousins — who will be introduced to the local media on Thursday — but won’t be able to use Cousins until he returns from an Achilles injury that limited him to 48 games last season. He will still have one of the greatest lineups ever assembled — one favored to win a third straight title — in Klay Thompson, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green, with young big men Damian Jones, Jordan Bell and Kevon Looney returning.
The former Arizona guard and Phoenix Suns general manager owns a playoff mark of 63-20 (.759) as head coach of the Warriors — the highest winning percentage in NBA history amongst head coaches who have coached a minimum of 25 playoff games, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Since he came to Golden State on May 19, 2014, Kerr has won the Pacific Division four times, making him just the second coach in NBA history — after Pat Riley — to win their division in each of their first four seasons as head coach.
He’s also won 58 or more games in the regular season four times, joining the Boston Celtics (1961-62 – 1964-65 & 1983-84 – 1986-87), Milwaukee Bucks (1970-71 – 1973-74), Philadelphia 76ers (1979-80 – 1982-83) and Los Angeles Lakers (1984-85 – 1987-88) as the only teams to accomplish the feat. Kerr has an overall regular season record of 265-63 (.808), the best four-year run in NBA history.