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Dieter Kurtenbach: Steve Kerr will be the highest-paid coach in NBA history, and you can't say he doesn't deserve it

Dieter Kurtenbach, The Mercury News on

Published in Basketball

I thought it might be time for everyone to go their separate ways. Nothing great lasts forever — not even the Golden State Warriors.

But Kerr and company figured it out.

They seem to always do that. That’s a pretty valuable habit to have in the NBA.

And while I’m not suggesting the red-hot Warriors are a title contender once again, they’re certainly showing as of late they’re a playoff-caliber team. They’re playing at a high level on both ends of the floor and Kerr’s decisions are big reasons why.

He and Jonathan Kuminga found peace after an ugly media blow-up. The 21-year-old forward has been on a tear since.

He benched Klay and had the future Hall of Famer thank him for it.

He pushed back against swing-for-the-fences drafting and helped bring in two impact rookies this past offseason.

And he found a way to manage Draymond amid all of Green’s nonsense this season.

Has Kerr always kept his superstars happy? No.

But he has always kept them committed to the cause. He knows players run the league, but anything but a lackey. It’s probably why he’s stuck around so long so far.

 

And let’s not forget this man’s bona fides as a coach — he’s lost one Western Conference playoff series ever. One. And that just happened last year. Do you really think he was just a bystander for that kind of consistent excellence?

Even when Kerr couldn’t coach this team because of health issues, the systems he built were strong enough for someone else to lead and do it at a high level. For everyone needing a strongman, just know putting one in charge is a surefire way to have a weak organization.

Ultimately, Kerr doesn’t need credit or admiration. He gets plenty from those who know the game and the incredible, nuanced challenges of his job. (If only it was as simple as X’s and O’s — something that he did so well he revolutionized the game.)

It, of course, helps that Kerr — who was already handsomely paid — is now he’s getting a massive, record-setting pile of admiration from the Warriors.

There’s no salary cap or luxury tax on coaches, after all.

Oh — why two years? Why not sign a long-term deal and take all of Lacob and Gruber’s money?

Well, two years just so happens to line up with Curry’s contract.

This contract was just another smart Kerr move.


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