OAKLAND – It’s evident that the hyperactive work of some Eastern Conference contenders at the trade deadline is directly connected to two things, the absence of LeBron James and the chance to knock off the defending champion Warriors.
Bring ‘em on, says Warriors coach Steve Kerr.
“I see them all trying to steal the throne,” Kerr told reporters after shooting Friday in Phoenix. “That’s the whole idea. The whole thing in the NBA is if you’ve got a chance to win a title, if you’ve got a team that has an opportunity, you go for it.”
“I like our chances, in terms of what we’re about and what we’re capable of,” he said in Phoenix.
Three of the four primary contenders in the East dealt high-quality players this week. The Bucks, at the top of the conference, acquired forward Nikola Mirotic, the second-place Raptors added center Marc Gasol and the fifth-place 76ers brought in forward Tobias Harris.
While Boston made no major move, the Pacers, who are expected to fall out of the top four, nonetheless added guard Wesley Matthews.
“It’s about as wild of a day as I can ever remember, trade-deadline wise,” Kerr said. “There’s always a handful of deals, but I don’t remember anything like that. With everybody in the East loading up, it’s definitely an interesting time in the NBA.”
The Eastern Conference was made more interesting when James – who went to eight straight Finals with the Heat and the Cavaliers – left Cleveland for Los Angeles.
“You’ve got a lot of teams back there who are trying to seize an opportunity that hasn’t been there for a long time,” Kerr said. “A lot of those East teams were already really good. You look at what Milwaukee and Toronto have done, and Philadelphia. Boston was the favorite going on, and they’re still loaded with talent.”
Do the Warriors believe any of them are positioned to take down the champs?
“No,” Curry said. “I feel like we want to get back to where we were and feel like we should be, and that’s winning a championship.
“If the shoe was on the other foot, everything that you would do as a team or as a player would be geared to knocking off the champion, whoever they are.