Warriors coach Steve Kerr nearly played for Golden State in the 1993-94 season?
Avery Johnson was a guest on KNBR 680 last Thursday and told the following story:
"Pop (Gregg Popovich) was on the plane with Nellie (Don Nelson) during the preseason and Tim Hardaway got injured and blew out his knee. Pop called me and said, 'Look, if I can convince Don Nelson on this flight to sign you instead of Steve Kerr, you're gonna have a job.' I was out of a job.
"And fortunately, I got a call at six o'clock in the morning and Pop -- who was an assistant on that staff -- said, 'Pack your bags, you're coming to Golden State.'"
Hardaway -- who averaged 21.5 points and 10.6 assists in 1992-93 -- sustained a season-ending knee injury during practice on Oct. 18, 1993, and Johnson (who ended up starting 70 games that year) signed with the Warriors a week later.
Kerr, meanwhile, signed a contract with the Chicago Bulls on Sept. 29, according to BasketballReference.com. So unless the Warriors were going to trade for Kerr, something isn't adding up here. Or perhaps Nelson and Popovich didn't know Kerr already was on a team?
When KNBR host Tom Tolbert relayed Johnson's story to Kerr last Friday, the eight-time NBA champion was as surprised as anybody to learn Nelson wanted to sign him.
"I didn't know that," Kerr said. "I've never heard the Avery story."
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And then the following exchange took place:
Tolbert: "Think about that. You go there and Avery doesn't go there ... it's so funny how things work out. You make a choice, or maybe there's a choice that's made for you that you don't even know about that affects what happens to you and who you become and how things work out.
"And I was thinking, 'Who knows how it would have worked out. Maybe the Warriors win championships, maybe Steve never plays for the Bulls. Who knows how things work out. But ...'
Kerr: "Wait, wait, wait. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. Did you just say if I had gone to the Warriors as a player -- maybe they would have won championships?"
Tolbert: "I did. Maybe things work out differently. They had a pretty good team there. Look, I'm not saying you would have been the guy to win the championship. Let's not get crazy here."
Kerr: "OK (laughter). Let's not get stupid (laughter)."
Tolbert: "But remember -- they had a really, really good team back then. Who knows. Maybe you go there, maybe you take (Chris) Webber out one night -- Nellie doesn't yell at him -- maybe Webber stays there."
The Warriors were really good, as they won 50 games and reached the 1994 playoffs as the No. 6 seed.
Latrell Sprewell -- in just his second season in the league -- was named All-NBA First-Team and All-Defensive Second-Team.
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Chris Webber averaged 17.5 points, 9.1 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 2.2 blocks and 1.2 steals and was named NBA Rookie of the Year. But he and Nelson couldn't co-exist, and Webber was traded to the Washington Bullets in November 1994.
The Warriors didn't reach the postseason again until 2007.
Kerr, on the other hand, won three titles with the Bulls (1996, 1997, 1998) and two more with the San Antonio Spurs (1999, 2003).
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