Warriors head coach Steve Kerr is feeling confident about a fourth consecutive NBA Finals appearance next season after his front office – and one of his star players – masterfully handled the 2017 free agency period.
Kerr told The Mercury News on Monday that his team’s off-season has gone “beautifully,” and praised superstar forward Kevin Durant with a stark comparison to retired Spurs great Tim Duncan, for Durant’s decision to slash his own pay check.
“I knew he was going to give up enough money to allow us to keep Andre (Iguodala) and Shaun (Livingston),” Kerr told the newspaper. “I didn’t know he was going to go beyond that. A remarkable gesture … it reminded me a little bit of Tim Duncan and his time with the Spurs.”
Durant sacrificed close to $ 9.5 million inking his deal with Golden State to clear up space for new acquisitions like Nick Young and Omri Casspi, shooters that Kerr said the team would need to get back to where they want to be next season: hoisting another Larry O’Brien Trophy.
“We have an organization that backs up the talk about being all about winning,” Kerr added when asked about team owner Joe Lacob’s part in the free agency signings. “It’s unbelievable.”
Kerr, who on Monday arrived in Vegas to watch Patrick McCaw and rookie Jordan Bell compete in the summer league, is enthusiastic about his younger players roles on the team.
“I think we can sit Andre and Shaun strategically (next season) and be comfortable with it because of Patrick,” he said. “You can see the confidence he’s playing with right now in summer league.”
Jordan Bell has drawn comparison to Golden State’s Draymond Green for his ability to guard all five positions, and Kerr mentioned “he’s got a good mentor in Draymond.”
Duncan, who took maximum contact dollars at certain points in his career, similarly afforded his team the ability to sign key players by taking less money in an effort to win championships. That effort paid off for the Spurs with five NBA titles.
Duncan’s career earnings of $ 236.4 million rank third all-time behind Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett, according to Forbes, meaning Duncan may have sacrificed being the NBA’s all-time highest earning player for his winning legacy.
Durant is following in the future Hall of Famers footsteps.
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