Warriors

Kerith Burke misses one thing about sports during coronavirus stoppage

Kerith Burke misses one thing about sports during coronavirus stoppage

Editor's note: Like you, NBC Sports Bay Area insiders, reporters and analysts are feeling the sports void during the coronavirus stoppage. They'll share their thoughts every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in "What I Miss About Sports." First up in the series: Warriors reporter Kerith Burke.

A career in sports took me away from home. Games brought me to cities I had never seen before -- Miami, Chicago, Houston, Phoenix. When I worked in New York, the time-zone difference meant I was three hours ahead of my family out West in Washington.

My dad could watch the network I worked for, thanks to an awesome TV sports package at his gym. When I sat down to anchor a show at 10:30 p.m. ET, he’d hop on an elliptical machine at 7:30 p.m. PT to watch. We had a routine.

After work, I knew I’d have a text from my dad. “Nice show tonight.” Or, “Good energy.”

Sometimes, “A few stumbles.” Or, “Not your best show.” Oh yeah, he kept it real.

I knew my dad was watching, at a job where it helps to pretend no one is watching to keep down the nerves. It was an audience of one, and he was proud of me. It became reflexive to check my phone to see his messages.

That’s what I miss about sports. The togetherness across the miles. The connectivity. We debated whether Carmelo Anthony should leave the Knicks, and if Mets pitcher Matt Harvey really had the stuff or simply had a moment in time.

When I moved to the Bay Area, my parents ordered NBA League Pass to watch Warriors games. My mom got in on the texting.

“What are you wearing and where are you sitting?” Spotting me on TV was my family’s "Where’s Waldo."

The NBA’s hiatus feels like a broken link to my favorite people. That feeling carries beyond my family, too.

[RELATED: Warriors' creative workouts during coronavirus stoppage]

So much of my career has revolved around a sports schedule: Working nights, weekends and holidays. Career becomes purpose becomes identity. Devote so much time to something, and it defines you. I’m fortunate to love my job, so I embrace the definition. I am a sports reporter.

At the moment ... I am adrift.

NBA rumors: Warriors' offseason plan unaffected by drop in salary cap

NBA rumors: Warriors' offseason plan unaffected by drop in salary cap

The Warriors always were going to be a tax-paying team next season, given that Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins will combine to cost approximately $120 million against the salary cap. That was back when the cap was projected to be around $115 million -- back before the NBA experienced an unprecedented shutdown due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

With games not being played and arenas not in operation, the salary cap for the 2020-21 season is going to be negatively impacted. The resulting loss of revenue is expected to significantly lower the cap, perhaps by as much as $15 million. Consequently, tax-paying teams will get a much larger bill.

Logically, many of those teams might try to cut costs this offseason, or at the very least, limit additional expenditures, particularly those that don't necessarily view themselves as legitimate contenders. It remains to be seen where the Warriors will view themselves in that hierarchy, but as tempting as cuttings costs might be, it sounds like they are motivated by a different priority.

While Golden State certainly could entertain a number of cost-saving moves -- such as not using the full value of the tax-payer mid-level exception or the $17.2 million trade exception in free agency, or trading back from one of the top picks in the draft -- the lowering of the cap reportedly is irrelevant to the Warriors' offseason strategy.

"Golden State is unlikely to let a drop in the cap change how it approaches roster-building," the San Francisco Chronicle's Connor Letourneau wrote Saturday, citing a league source. "[Joe] Lacob realizes that with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green all in their early 30s, the Warriors might only have a three- or four-year window to win another title.

"Even if it requires a massive luxury-tax burden, Golden State will do what it can to capitalize on the rest of its core players’ prime years. Anything else would go against what this ownership group has come to represent."

[RELATED: Warriors get great news about $17.2 million trade exception]

Since Lacob and Peter Guber bought the team in 2012, the Warriors haven't shied away from spending large sums to put a championship-contender on the court. With Curry, Thompson and Green still in their primes, it's easy to understand why they might feel comfortable doing so again.

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Ex-Warrior Kevin Durant talks recovery from coronavirus, Achilles tear

Ex-Warrior Kevin Durant talks recovery from coronavirus, Achilles tear

June 11, 2019 was a date that forever altered Kevin Durant's NBA career. After missing the first four games of the NBA Finals with a calf injury, KD returned to the court for Game 5 in Toronto but tore his Achilles' tendon in the second quarter. The Warriors would go on to lose the series in six games to the Raptors, and Durant departed this past summer in free agency for the Brooklyn Nets.

While sitting out the 2019-20 season, KD became one of the first NBA players to test positive for the coronavirus in March. Durant recently caught up with The Undefeated's Marc J. Spears to discuss his recovery from both injury and illness.

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

"I was shocked. And then I was curious," Durant said about getting the coronavirus diagnosis. "I wanted to know what it meant. What is the virus about? I started to get information about it more and more. It calmed me down. … I was just more curious to what I was dealing with and how I could fight it myself.

"I feel good. I didn’t have any symptoms so I am good. I couldn’t leave the house. I knew things would change. The unknown was definitely difficult to deal with. But other than that, I was great."

The NBA suspended operations on March 11 after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert became the first player to test positive. The league is returning to action in late July in Orlando with 22 teams completing the regular season and playoff schedule.

Durant's Brooklyn Nets are among the teams returning to the court this summer, but he maintains that he will be sticking with his initial plan to sit out the entire 2019-20 season.

"My season is over. I don’t plan on playing at all," Durant said. "We decided last summer when it first happened that I was just going to wait until the following season. I had no plans of playing at all this season."

[RELATED: Why Warriors could benefit from unique 2019-20 NBA season calendar]

When it comes to the rehabilitation from that Achilles' tear, KD says things are on the right track for a return to the court next season.

"I’m doing well. Working out every day. I’m moving. I’m feeling like a normal player again. I’m just in my summertime routine. I’m working out every day and going to the gym in the morning. So, I feel good."

Kyrie Irving and Durant together at 100 percent on the court in Brooklyn could make for a dangerous combination.