Jerry West: Warriors ‘don’t want to mess with’ Stephen Curry-Klay Thompson backcourt

LAS VEGAS – On the eve of Jerry West’s scheduled arrival to the NBA Summer League, the Warriors executive board member spoke of the team wanting to keep Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson together.

The Warriors have yet to relent on handing over Thompson in a trade for Minnesota’s Kevin Love. Asked on KNBR about the balance between cohesion and major change, West indicated where he and others in the organization stood.

“When you have a premier backcourt, you don’t want to mess with that,” West told Warriors broadcaster Bob Fitzgerald. “I don’t think anyone does.

“And for us to have two young players back there who like each other, very cohesive and more importantly are going to we think get better and get better together, even though you want to add a quality player, we’ve got a real quality backcourt. It’s hard to get rid of something that’s really good.”

West said the signing of backup guard Shaun Livingston alone improves the Warriors, who he noted dealt with numerous injuries last season when they won 51 games.

“I like our team,” West said.


Marv Albert gets call, early look of former broadcast partner Steve Kerr coaching Warriors

LAS VEGAS – TNT broadcaster Marv Albert is doing the play-by-play on NBA TV for tonight’s Warriors-Lakers summer league game, but Albert has already gotten a look at former partner Steve Kerr in action.

Albert attended the Warriors’ game on Saturday to watch Kerr coach his second professional game, as the two are close from spending plenty of time together at TNT.

“A little twisted, which I like,” Albert said of Kerr’s sense of humor.

Said a smiling Kerr: “Well Marv should know. He’s got one, too.

“We always had a lot of fun together on the air and behind the scenes. Marv is a really witty guy and very well-read and cultured, so it was always fun to talk to him about basketball and everything else. We had a great eight years together.”

Albert recalled that he could have seen that Kerr would become a coach as he noticed his partner would ask NBA coaches a lot of questions in interviews with them before games.

“He was always in contact with Gregg Popovich and Phil Jackson and constantly asking questions to the point they basically would tell him to get lost,” Albert joked.

Albert noted that Kerr has “great relationships” with officials and doesn’t expect many technical fouls being called on him.

Albert also disagreed with the idea that Kerr was too nice for the coaching profession.

“I think you can be a nice guy,” Albert said. “There’ll be times maybe he’ll raise his voice. And win. You can. There’s been evidence of that. You don’t always have to be screaming at people.”

Albert, the former New York Knicks broadcaster, saw Kerr wrestle with his decision to choose the Warriors over coaching for Jackson in the Big Apple.

Kerr made the right call in picking Golden State and has what it takes to keep up with the demands of the job, according to Albert.

“Look at the difference in the franchises in the way they’re run and in the way the teams are,” Albert said. “Just look at the rosters. I don’t think there’s no contest. And plus, he’s a West Coast guy.

“Steve always looks so healthy. He’s a California guy. He’s in the sun a lot.”


Jermaine O’Neal mulls career decision as Warriors keep in touch with veteran free agent

LAS VEGAS – Free agent center Jermaine O’Neal is considering retirement after playing for the Warriors last season, and the team is staying in touch with him in the event he chooses to return for a 19th NBA season.

“I have some career decisions coming up to make and I can’t think of a better place to make them at,” the 35-year-old O’Neal wrote on Instagram on Monday, posting a video of his vacation in the Bahamas.

Warriors general manager Bob Myers is O’Neal’s former agent and could look to bring back the 35-year-old on a one-year contract for around the veteran’s minimum, which is what the team would be able to afford due to salary cap constraints.

O’Neal averaged 7.9 points and 5.5 rebounds in 44 games last season, missing 28 games due to injuries and three games in order to rest. He began the playoffs starting in place of an injured Andrew Bogut and appeared in a Game 7 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers despite a bone bruise on his knee.

“That was a difficult for him as you know to leave Dallas and his family,” Myers said of playing last season instead of retiring to his offseason residence. “But I’ve talked to him a couple of times. We keep in touch. He’s still deliberating what he wants to do, and I told him we’d stay in touch as to what we want to do.”


Warriors’ David Lee ‘fine’ after minor surgery, but will miss USA national team training

LAS VEGAS — Warriors forward David Lee withdrew from the USA national team training camp roster that was announced Monday while recovering from “very minor” surgery a few weeks ago to address a core muscle injury, according to the Warriors.

The Warriors expect Lee to be fully recovered in early August, but according to the team, he does not want to a rush his return to the floor.

“He’s fine,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Sunday, adding Lee had been working out.

Lee, 31, underwent a surgery for the third consecutive offseason. He had procedures to repair a torn right hip flexor in 2013 and torn abdominal and abductor muscles in 2012.

Lee, who averaged 18.2 points and 9.3 rebounds last season, joined teammate Andre Iguodala in missing the USA Basketball training camp due to injury. Iguodala is recovering from right knee tendinitis and sidelined after having an injection.

The Warriors are the only team with more than one player on the national team roster participating in the July 28-Aug. 1 training camp at UNLV, with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson among the 19 players expected to compete for spots on the American’s FIBA World Cup team.


Warriors’ Steve Kerr jokes to Cavaliers’ David Blatt: ‘He just became a much better coach’

LAS VEGAS — Warriors coach Steve Kerr wanted a staff with experience, and he looked toward David Blatt, Alvin Gentry and Ron Adams.

Kerr was happy to get two out of the three, and the one that got away was Blatt, a decorated coach in Europe who got the Cleveland Cavaliers’ head coaching job. Now, Blatt will be coaching LeBron James.

“It was pretty shocking that three weeks later, he’s coaching LeBron James,” Kerr said Sunday. “I think he’s a great coach, and he’ll do very well. And as I told him, he just became a much better coach two days ago.”

Kerr said after he got the Warriors job, his agent, Mike Tannenbaum called him to ask if he had interest in a fellow client in Blatt.

Kerr had admired Blatt from afar.

“He’s impressive,” Kerr said. “I’ve read all about it. I’ve seen him, watching European games and stuff. He had great reputation.”

Kerr and Blatt ended up meeting for breakfast at the Ritz-Carlton in Marina del Rey during a layover before Blatt’s flight from Los Angeles International Airport back to Israel.

Blatt ended up the Cavaliers’ choice over Gentry and Tyronn Lue, who joined Cleveland as the associate head coach.

The Warriors got Gentry, who laughed when asked about James.

“That would have very interesting,” Gentry said.

“I like it a lot as long as he’s in the East. As long as he stays East, he can bounce to any team he wants to. Just don’t come out West, OK?”


Warriors’ Steve Kerr on still owning small part of Phoenix Suns: ‘I’m not Steve Ballmer’

LAS VEGAS – The Warriors play against Phoenix today at the NBA Summer League, and in an unusual circumstance, coach Steve Kerr currently owns a small part of the Suns.

“I do, which is kind of crazy, but it’s in the process,” Kerr said of ultimately having to sell his stake of the Suns.

Kerr helped Phoenix owner Robert Sarver purchase the team and eventually became the team’s general manager.

Kerr must divest from the Suns and described his ownership stake as “very, very small.”

“I’m not Steve Ballmer,” Kerr said of the former Microsoft CEO who in May agreed to purchase the Los Angeles Clippers for $2 billion. “I’m Steve Kerr.”


Warriors’ Steve Kerr on how David Lee, Klay Thompson are handling trade speculation: ‘They both get it’

LAS VEGAS – Warriors coach Steve Kerr has not met face-to-face with David Lee yet after several meetings have been postponed, including the forward’s trip to Las Vegas.

But the two have spoken several times and kept in touch via text message, with Kerr early on having talked to both Lee and Klay Thompson about their names surfacing in trade talks and rumors regarding Kevin Love.

“They both get it,” Kerr said. “I told them, ‘I know you get it. It doesn’t make it any easier.’

“But this is why you really get paid. I mean, you get paid made all this money, is it really for coming into a gym for two hours a day and shooting jump shots? We’ve been doing that for free our whole life, you know? You get paid because you can get traded, and you have to uproot your family. You can get hurt, you can get booed, and people on the message board are crushing you. That’s where you actually earn your money in this league, where it actually feels like work.”

Lee, who has averaged a double-double in four seasons with the Warriors, would likely need to be included in a major trade due to his high salary. But if the Warriors don’t make a trade, Kerr likes Lee for what he has planned on offense.

“I’m a big fan,” Kerr said. “Especially the way we’re going to play – a lot of cutting, slashing – and with Steph (Curry) and Klay coming off curls and stuff, I love the little slips, and David’s as good as anybody at slashing and finishing when there’s ball movement. So he’s a big part of this.”