Saturday, March 2

Steve Kerr expects to remain with Warriors, but is comfortable coaching on an expiring contract

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The Golden State Warriors have won four championships in the past nine years, but by any estimation, they are nearing the end of their current dynasty. General manager Bob Myers resigned at the end of the season, handing the reigns of the franchise off to Mike Dunleavy Jr. Superstar point guard Stephen Curry is 35 years old, and sidekicks Draymond Green and Klay Thompson aren’t far behind at 33. And then there’s head coach Steve Kerr.

At 57, Kerr could still have plenty of coaching ahead of him. He even said that he “fully expects” to be with the Warriors for the long haul on Monday. But he is entering the final year of his current contract and no extension has yet been reached. Generally, coaches prefer to have extensions before the final year of their contracts to ensure that they are not treated as lame ducks and can maintain locker room authority. Of course, Kerr’s credibility after four championships is not in question. He added that he is comfortable entering the season on an expiring contract if a new deal isn’t reached before then, but waiting adds a layer of risk to a Warriors team that has already lost one key pillar of its dynasty.

Kerr was hired to replace Mark Jackson as head coach in 2014. He immediately led the Warriors to 67 wins and a championship. He followed that up with a 73-win regular season and another trip to the Finals. In total, Kerr has reached the Finals in six of his nine seasons with the Warriors and won the championship four times.

If Kerr’s contract does expire, he would likely be the most desirable available coaching candidate to other teams since Phil Jackson left the Chicago Bulls in 1998. Golden State could simply re-sign Kerr at the end of the season if an extension is not reached beforehand, but a bidding war for his services would surely be enormously expensive. Kerr has also previously worked as a broadcaster for TNT and as a front office executive for the Phoenix Suns, so he could theoretically pursue opportunities away from the sideline.

Myers entered last season on an expiring contract. He and the Warriors never reached a new deal, and now, Myers is no longer with the team. That is an outcome that the Warriors would likely prefer to avoid with Kerr, and he seems open to a long-term extension. If the Warriors hope to extend this dynasty, bringing him back beyond this season will probably be a necessity.

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