Warriors won't retain Smart as coach


Warriors won't retain Smart as coach

April 27, 2011WARRIORS PAGE WARRIORS VIDEOMatt Steinmetz

Keith Smart will not be back as Warriors coach.

The Warriors will not pick up their team option on his contract for the 2011-12 season, Comcast SportsNet Bay Area has learned from sources.

Smart led the Warriors to a 36-46 record in his first season as head coach, replacing Don Nelson in late September -- less than a week before training camp started. Smart had been an assistant under Nelson for four previous seasons.

In all, Smart, 46, spent eight years with the Warriors, serving first as an assistant under Eric Musselman and then Mike Montgomery.

The Warriors released a statement at 10:30 Wednesday thanking Smart for his service:

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"Its never easy to make difficult decisions, especially when it involves someone that we have a great deal of respect for like Keith Smart," said Warriors owner Joe Lacob in a press release. "After meeting extensively with Larry Riley and Bob Myers, we came to the conclusion that a change was necessary at this particular time. I think Keith did an admirable job this season and he should be commended for many of the positive things that transpired both on and off the floor. The team showed improvement and their effort was never in question. However, weve elected to pursue a new path and we wish Keith the very best. Hes a quality person and we thank him for the time he invested with our organization."

It was never certain that Smart would be back, in some part because he was never considered owner Joe Lacob's first choice. For one, Lacob wasn't officially installed as owner when Smart replaced Nelson, and two, Smart's contract for next season was only partially guaranteed.

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The Warriors won 10 more games under Smart than they did during the previous season under Nelson. At the same time, there really shouldn't be a comparison between the teams. The Warriors' team from 2009-10 was decimated by injury and it relied significantly on D-League talent.

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Last offseason the Warriors acquired forward David Lee and signed Dorell Wright as a free agent, both of whom figured to improve the team. One thing the Warriors did do all season was play hard -- something Smart deserves credit for.

Yet there always seemed to be some sentiment that Lacob, whose ownership began in November, wanted to perhaps find his own guy to coach the Warriors. Lacob consistently praised Smart during the course of the season, but always left open the possibility of change.

"I obviously have a great deal of admiration for Keith as both a professional and a friend," general manager Larry Riley said in a statement. "He's dedicated a lot of time, hard work and commitment to this job, not only over the course of the last year as the head coach, but the previous seven years with our organization.

"We're grateful for his contributions and have the utmost respect for him. From our standpoint, however, we feel it is in our best interest as we move forward as an organization and begin to focus and prepare for the future. At this time, we do not have a timetable for hiring a successor. We'll conduct our due diligence and make a good, sound decision when we've identified that individual."

Despite the improvement in victories under Smart, the Warriors made little progress up the Western Conference standings. Last season they were the 13th-best team in a 15-team conference, and this year the Warriors' were 12th best.

They finished with 10 wins fewer than the Memphis Grizzlies, the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference playoffs.

Smart largely did what many expected him to do -- win 35 or so games. Most everyone expected improvement over the 26-win debacle of 2009-10, but few believed the Warriors were a playoff team.

Smart said toward the end of the season that he had thought he'd done well enough to keep his job.

Steve Kerr updates Jordan Bell's status

Steve Kerr updates Jordan Bell's status

Jordan Bell likely envisioned a longer debut at the United Center. 

The Chicago Bulls traded the pick used to select Bell to the Golden State Warriors for cash considerations, and Bell's taken plenty of chances to remind the Bulls to remind them of that fact. 

Instead of getting another chance to rub it in, Bell injured his left ankle 24 seconds in to Golden State's 119-112 win over Chicago on Wednesday. On Thursday, Bell and the Warriors learned the results of his MRI, and it's not as bad as the team first feared, according to head coach Steve Kerr.

"Well, it seemed a lot worse at the time when it happened. Everyone kind of thought he had a broken a bone just based on his reaction [and] what he was telling us," Steve Kerr told Damon Bruce on 95.7 The Game.  "But the MRI was pretty good this morning. Nothing glaring. 

"The X-ray was fine yesterday. So it doesn't appear to be more than a bone bruise but bone bruises can be tricky to heal, so we'll see what happens. But so far, the news has all been good."

Bell has emerged as a bench contributor in his first NBA season. In 38 games, he's averaging 5.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1.1 blocks in 14.4 minutes.

Two Warriors named All-Star Game starters


Two Warriors named All-Star Game starters

After sending four players to the NBA All-Star Game last season in New Orleans, the Warriors are halfway to repeating the feat this season.

Point guard Stephen Curry and small forward Kevin Durant were voted in as Western Conference starters for the game scheduled for Feb. 18 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, the NBA announced on Thursday.

Though Curry has missed 15 games -- nearly one-third of the season -- it has not hurt his popularity; His No. 30 is the NBA’s best-selling jersey for the third straight season. He is averaging team-leading 27.7 points, 6.5 assists and 5.3 rebounds, and 1.65 steals per game.

Curry is the first member of the Warriors to be named a starter for five consecutive All-Star games. As the player with the most fan votes, Curry becomes a captain and is in position to select the members of his team.

Durant, who has missed eight games this season, was named as a starter for the sixth time, the first four coming when he was a member of the Thunder.

Durant is averaging 26.2 points (fifth in the league) 6.9 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 2.05 blocks (fourth in the league) per game.