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Is this end of the Warriors' dynasty? Steve Kerr says 'no'

Mark Medina, The Mercury News on

Published in Basketball

OAKLAND, Calif. -- At this point, the Warriors can barely think.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr has struggled processing that their failed championship run coincided with losing Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson to debilitating injuries. Warriors general manager Bob Myers struggled to comprehend that the NBA draft starts on Thursday, exactly a week after the Warriors lost to the Toronto Raptors in Game 6 of the NBA Finals in their final game at Oracle Arena.

So, Kerr and Myers could use this weekend to recharge, sleep and not think about basketball. As Kerr said, "everybody is fried right now" after the Warriors appeared in five consecutive NBA Finals. Just because the Warriors may feel burned out, however, does not mean they lack a big-picture view on their future. Hence, Kerr's bold conviction on whether the Warriors face the end of their dynasty with Durant, Thompson Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala.

Instead, the Warriors are looking at things from this standpoint. The Warriors had won three of the past five NBA championships. Yet, Warriors general manager Bob Myers admitted, "nobody said you have to do it every year." Therefore, the Warriors are preparing themselves to become this generation of the San Antonio Spurs. They won five NBA titles in a 14-year span, including a seven-year gap between their last two titles in 2007 and 2014. Even when the Spurs lost in the Western Conference finals (2008, 2012), the semifinals (2010) and the first round (2009, 2011), they still maintained continuity and remained in contention.

"The similarity is the internal culture and internal stability," said Kerr, who had played for the Spurs in two different stints under Gregg Popovich (1999-2001, 2002-2003). "I felt it through Tim Duncan, David Robinson and the core guys there that provided that foundation. Our team is the same way with the strength of the group and the character of the group with guys like Steph, Klay, Draymond and Andre. All of these guys, because of who they are and because of their commitment to one another, are going to survive whatever adversity comes our way."

Granted, Kerr admitted the uncertainty ahead knowing that Durant and Thompson are guaranteed to miss a significant chunk of games because of their injuries.

 

"It's hard to even picture what next year's team will look like at this point," Kerr said. "We'll see how it all shakes out. We're hoping to have both of those guys back. If that's the case, it'll be great. But neither one will be available for quite a while to play. So our team is going to look a lot different next year."

How much different? Let's count the ways.

The Warriors admitted uncertainty once again on whether Durant wants to return. The Warriors will re-sign Thompson considering they have not wavered on offering him a max deal. Though the Warriors left the door open in re-signing DeMarcus Cousins, they expect him to sign elsewhere on a more lucrative deal than the $6.3 million they can offer.

Iguodala has maintained he will play out the final year of his contract that will pay him around $17.1 million. But Shaun Livingston has hinted strongly he will retire, but Kerr and Myers said he has not yet decided. Though the Warriors could waive Livingston anyway since only $2 million of his $7.7 million contract is guaranteed next season, Kerr said that he "would love to be able to coach him." The Warriors will spend on retaining Kevon Looney because of his dependable play through varying roles and injuries. They will want to re-sign Quinn Cook as part of their guard rotation, so long as he does not field lucrative offers as a restricted free agent. The Warriors seem mixed on second-year forward Jordan Bell because of his mixed progress. They will likely let veteran Jonas Jerebko walk because of his uneven fit. They have developing wing player Alfonzo McKinnie on an inexpensive non-guaranteed deal.

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