Mike D'Antoni

Kerr expresses 'regret,' shoulders blame for how things ended with D'Antoni, Suns

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AP

Kerr expresses 'regret,' shoulders blame for how things ended with D'Antoni, Suns

For one season 10 years ago, the coaches of the two current top teams in the Western Conference were on the same side.

Steve Kerr was the general manager of the Phoenix Suns. Mike D'Antoni was the head coach. The Suns were a powerhouse of the NBA, not the cellar dweller they are now.

In the three years before Kerr took over as GM in 2007, Phoenix won 62, 54 and 61 games with D'Antoni running his "Seven Seconds or Less" offense.

But a misguided trade by Kerr for an aging Shaquille O'Neal brought the partnership to an end after just one year. Following the conclusion of the 2007-08 season, D'Antoni left to coach the Knicks.

Now, with both thriving in their current situations, Kerr reflected back what went wrong in Phoenix in an interview with the Mercury News.

“I have some regrets. I think we had a few differences that I probably didn’t handle very well as a GM that I could’ve probably handled better, especially given that we really like each other and have a lot of similar viewpoints on the game,” Kerr told the Mercury News' Mark Medina.

Those Suns teams couldn't get past Gregg Popovich's Spurs teams, who beat Phoenix in the postseason two straight seasons.

“I had some ideas on how we could get over the hump. Mike had some ideas. We were both frustrated we couldn’t beat the Spurs. I just think if I had more experience as a GM, I would’ve navigated that whole thing a little bit better,” Kerr said.

According to Medina, D'Antoni had little interest in rehashing his past with Kerr.

“We’re good. He’s a great person, a great coach. I have nothing but respect for him,” D'Antoni said.

While D'Antoni doesn't seem to want to talk about that season, Kerr was more than willing to shoulder the blame for the break-up.

“He’s laid back and funny. He’s a great guy. But he is competitive as all hell. Rather than trying to relieve some of that pressure on him, I was just as competitive. We wanted to win so badly that it led to some mistakes on my part in terms of how I handled the relationship with him and how I neglected to help him where I could’ve helped him," Kerr said.

For now, Kerr leads his NBA-best 37-9 Warriors into Houston Saturday night to take on D'Antoni and his 31-12 Rockets. It's the final of three meetings between the two teams, who split the first two meetings of the season.

D'Antoni claps back at Draymond, Warriors after Rockets' 122-121 win

D'Antoni claps back at Draymond, Warriors after Rockets' 122-121 win

Draymond Green usually gets the last word.

Not this time.

"Somebody said we don't take it seriously on defense. Well obviously they don't take it seriously either," Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni said after the Rockets knocked off the Warriors 122-121 on Tuesday night., according to Santa Rosa Press Democrat's Phil Barber.

The jab stems from Green's comments after practice on Monday.

"You should believe that. I'm turning over a new leaf. Number 1 -- they want it to be a shootout, which is fine. But we're gonna play some defense. We score pretty well, but we're a damn good defensive team, too. So we're gonna play some defense.

"I don't know how serious they take defense with that comment, but I know they added some good defensive players," Green told reporters Monday.

Green won't get his next shot at D'Antoni and the Rockets until January 4 in Houston.

Draymond responds to D'Antoni's 'they're not gonna stop us either' claim

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AP

Draymond responds to D'Antoni's 'they're not gonna stop us either' claim

Programming note: Warriors-Rockets coverage starts tonight at 6:30pm on NBC Sports Bay Area, and continues immediately after the final buzzer.

A couple weeks ago, Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni said something about the Warriors that made headlines.

"You're not gonna stop them. It's just not gonna happen. They're not gonna stop us either. Should be fun."

On Monday, Draymond Green was asked about D'Antoni's comments.

"You should believe that. I'm turning over a new leaf," Draymond began, before giving his real thoughts. "Number 1 -- they want it to be a shootout, which is fine. But we're gonna play some defense.

"We score pretty well, but we're a damn good defensive team, too. So we're gonna play some defense."

The Rockets made some significant changes to their roster this offseason, most notably the addition of Chris Paul.

But Houston also added defensive-minded guys in P.J. Tucker and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute.

But as Draymond pointed out:

"I don't know how serious they take defense with that comment, but I know they added some good defensive players."

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders and a Web Producer at NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller