When the Warriors signed Coach Steve Kerr to his initial contract, it was right on the heels of the tumultuous departure of Mark Jackson. Back in May of 2014, the $25 million deal was met with some concern. While Kerr was saying all the right things, we were still looking at another non-experienced head coach.
Just like Mark Jackson before him, Kerr wasn’t just inexperienced, he was non-experienced. Zero coaching time at any level apparently wasn’t something that worried the Warriors though; they knew they wanted Kerr to be their coach and so he was. And thus, Kerr began his coaching career with the Warriors’ 2014 Summer League squad and never looked back.
Now, three-and-a-half years later, Kerr and the Warriors are looking to cement this relationship into a longer-term deal, according to The Athletic. This makes sense because it is hard to imagine this team without Kerr at the helm. Initially Kerr balked at entering into negotiations, citing the ongoing uncertainty regarding his health. But now that Kerr has a better handle on his health, the expectation is that both parties will announce a new deal next summer.
The only news here is that The Athletic got an exclusive scoop that the deal has already been mostly agreed upon:
The two sides have batted around parameters of a deal, and Kerr joked that he already tipped his hand badly in these talks.
“Yeah, I'm a horrible negotiator,” Kerr said. “But I'm not going anywhere else. I have no desire to coach anywhere else. I love living here, I love the Warriors, I love working with Bob and Joe. Love the players. I'm not going anywhere.”
Lacob, for his part, said there is no doubt in his mind about Kerr's extended position with this franchise.
“I would expect him to be our coach for a long time,” Lacob said. “We did try, but I think he basically just wanted to wait and see how his health was, that was the primary thing.
The article goes on to discuss Kerr’s specific rationale for holding off on negotiations previously - citing the fact that he would “feel weird about committing to something years out” while operating under the uncertainty associated with his health. The health concerns all stem from the aftermath of a spinal fluid leak sustained during back surgery in the summer of 2015.
These weren’t just concerns either - the impacts were intense enough to keep him out of 11 postseason games last year. Anyone who watched Kerr regularly can feel the pain as the man squinted his eyes, rubbed his temples, and pinched the bridge of his nose as he fought through the discomfort regularly. The concern was so great that people were honestly discussing whether or not he was going to retire.
Now that Kerr is on the mend, neither side wasted any time getting the framework in place to extend the relationship beyond the current contract. The world loves to mock Joe Lacob’s quote about being “light years ahead” of other franchises, but no one ever belittles the role that Steve Kerr has played in the emergence of this current iteration of the Warriors. There are obviously a lot of factors that went into forming this fledgling dynasty, but Kerr’s inventive and assertive coaching philosophy is unquestionably a major contributor - and one that has been an inherent part of the dominance.
Moving forward, our rosters will change, but it sure looks like the coaching seat will be occupied by the clipboard-shattering master for a long, long time.