OAKLAND — Steve Kerr’s contract extension will happen on his time, and right now, the Golden State Warriors head coach is in full offseason mode. Describing the team’s airborne celebration as “muted” — with more players napping on the team plane back from Cleveland than in the previous two title seasons — Kerr, too, has been more subdued, as well.
“I tried to go to a party on Friday night that a lot of the guys were at, that my family went to,” Kerr said at his postseason availability on Monday. “I was a complete wet blanket for about two hours and then I Ubered home and went to sleep. I’m tired.”
Kerr did not “get lit” as his guard Nick Young tweeted — “Nick got lit for me and for him,” he said — but soon, he’ll get paid. With his third title in four years, Kerr finished the fourth year of a five-year, $25 million deal, and the Warriors want to lock him up for years to come.
“We’ll get that done pretty quick,” Kerr said. “I don’t think there’ll be much to it. It should happen relatively quickly.”
“Whenever he wants to start, we’ll figure it out,” Warriors general manager Bob Myers said. “I think the nice thing is we’ve developed a camaraderie, and he feels like he wants to be here, and we want him here. We’ll work it out. If it happens later, it won’t be because it was put to the side. It was because, organically, it didn’t happen, but it’s going to happen, and we can start whenever we want, and whenever he feels comfortable beginning.”
During his tenure, Kerr, 52, has gone 265-63, with three NBA titles and four straight NBA Finals appearances. He’s the fastest coach in American team sports history to win 250 games. He is now one of six coaches to win at least three NBA titles. The five he won as a player came under two of the other men on the list — Phil Jackson and Gregg Popovich.
“I think what makes Steve and those guys great coaches is that they project who they were,” Myers said. “Steve Kerr is an authentic, humble guy … I think that’s why players get behind him. It’s an unbelievably effective thing to do, to walk in the locker room with that kind of credibility.”
A year ago, the day after Golden State returned home from a 4-1 Finals win over the Cavaliers, Kerr told Myers that the 2017-18 season would be the toughest. Though Kerr said this season wasn’t his best coaching job, it’s easy to argue otherwise.
Each of his four All-Stars missed time due to injury, including the six weeks Stephen Curry missed with a sprained knee, the six games Andre Iguodala missed in the playoffs with a bone bruise in his knee, the 14 Kevin Durant missed, the eight by Klay Thompson or the 12 by Draymond Green.
“For sure, this was the toughest of the four,” Kerr said. “Mainly because of the cumulative effect of doing this four years in a row, getting to the finals four years in a row. It’s just difficult. It felt to me that the whole year, we were just trying to get to the playoffs, and that’s not a very healthy way to do it, but we didn’t have much choice.”
The core of this team has now played into mid-June four straight years, and played together with few significant additions, save for Durant, so things have a tendency to get stale. Not with Kerr.
“His entire makeup makes him unique, all his talents, he checks so many boxes,” Myers said.