Warriors

Steve Kerr expands on marijuana, problems with painkillers in sports

Steve Kerr expands on marijuana, problems with painkillers in sports

OAKLAND – Having stirred widespread discussion after his comments Friday regarding his use of marijuana to treat chronic pain, Warriors coach Steve Kerr took a few minutes Saturday to expand on the subject.

“It was interesting, because the way the world works and the way the media works now, what is a very serious discussion about pain relief turns into the headline: ‘Kerr smokes pot,’ “ Kerr said during his news conference before the Suns-Warriors game at Oracle Arena. “I guess that’s the world we live in. That’s fine.

“But I’m actually kind of glad that it became an issue because I think it’s a very important issue to talk about.”

The overriding issue, Kerr said, is that dangerous prescription painkillers are more widely accepted than marijuana, despite research to the contrary.

“I do find it ironic that had I said that I’ve used OxyContin for relief from my back pain, it would not have been a headline,” he said. “So that’s all. I just urge people to do your research before you start taking the stuff that we’re all encouraged to take.”

Kerr’s initial comments were made Friday in response to a question on The Warriors Insider Podcast. Asked if he could visualize a time when marijuana would be accepted, much as alcohol or prescription drugs, he said he hoped so and added that he had experimented with it in hopes of alleviating his pain.

“I’m disappointed it didn’t work,” he said Saturday. “I really wanted some relief and I didn’t get it.”

With 26 states having voted in laws allowing use of marijuana, the stigma continues to shrink. That’s not true, not yet, of sports leagues, which will follow the research and better understand and apply and findings.

“Having gone through a tough spell over the last year with my own recovery from back surgery, a lot of pain, a lot of chronic pain, I had to do a lot of research,” he said. “You get handed prescriptions for Vicodin, OxyContin, Percocet . . . NFL players, that’s what they’re given. That stuff is awful. That stuff is dangerous, the addiction possibility, what it can lead to, the long-term health risks. The issue that’s really important is how do we do what’s best for the players.

“But I understand that it’s a perception issue around the country,” he added. “The NFL, the NBA, it’s a business. So you don’t want your customers thinking, ‘These guys are a bunch of potheads.’ That’s what it is.

“But to me, it’s only a matter of time before medicinal marijuana is allowed in sports leagues because the education will overwhelm the perception. If you do any research at all, the stuff they’re prescribing is really bad for you and the stuff that they’re banning is fine."

Kerr stressed that he was not advocating for recreational use of marijuana but urging consideration for medicinal use where it applies.

Pat McCaw, Warriors still waiting each other out before training camp

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USATSI

Pat McCaw, Warriors still waiting each other out before training camp

Counting down the hours until training camp begins Tuesday, there is only one unresolved issue immediately facing the Warriors.

Guard Pat McCaw, a restricted free agent considered part of the team’s future, still has not accepted the $1.74 million qualifying offer the Warriors presented more than 12 weeks ago.

By extending the deal, the Warriors indicated they still want McCaw on the roster.

McCaw last season indicated a desire to return for a third season, something his father, Jeff, reiterated in an interview this week with the San Francisco Chronicle.

The lack of McCaw’s signature on a contract was not a concern in July or August. But with summer coming to a close, his absence leaves the Warriors wondering if he still wants to explore other options while also forcing them to prepare to do the same.

This is not what the Warriors wanted, nor is it what McCaw needs.

The biggest problem facing McCaw is that he was far less effective last season than he was a rookie. It was after his first season that veteran wing Andre Iguodala, speaking at the championship celebration in Oakland, identified McCaw as his potential replacement.

Was Iguodala joking? Yes. And no.

McCaw as a rookie showed smarts, instincts and a fearlessness that belied his 21 years. His shot was decent, with plenty of room to improve. His defense was solid, revealing an aptitude for reading angles and anticipating, an obvious asset for someone with such a rail-thin physique.

McCaw in Year 2 struggled with his shot. He finished at 28.3 percent from deep and 40.9 percent overall. His movements on the court became uncertain. And then, last March 31, he sustained a terrifying injury that sent him to the hospital by ambulance for an overnight stay and kept him on the sideline for nearly two months.

All those forces combined to depress McCaw’s market value and, therefore, punch a hole in thoughts of leverage.

Which makes the summer inactivity kind of puzzling. The Warriors have been patient, awaiting McCaw’s signature. McCaw has been waiting, presumably, for a team to come along offering something better, after which he would find out just how much the Warriors want him to come back.

That deal has not materialized. After experiencing a flurry of offer sheets and signings in July, the NBA quickly settled into a soft market by August. It has remained soft in September.

Nobody is shopping, and that won’t change unless someone, somewhere, gets hurt and a team suddenly needs a young wing with potential.

When the Warriors released their camp roster on Thursday, McCaw’s name was not on the list. It can’t be, because he is unsigned.

Which leaves two young wings thinking they have a shot to make the roster. Danuel House, a fabulous athlete, is coming on a non-guaranteed deal. Damion Lee, who snagged a two-way contract, also is on the list.

McCaw still has the edge, because his contract would be guaranteed. Unless or until he signs, however, that’s irrelevant.

Meanwhile, he waits. And so do the Warriors. The clock that was relatively quiet all summer is now ticking louder by the day.

Klay Thompson: Warriors training camp profile

Klay Thompson: Warriors training camp profile

The Bulls did it twice, with Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen leading the way. The Lakers accomplished it once, behind Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant. In the 42 seasons since the NBA-ABA merger, those are the only franchises to win three consecutive NBA Finals.

When the Warriors come together for training camp on Sept. 25, their goal is to become the third.

Here is a look at those players with guaranteed roster spots.

13TH IN A SERIES

Player: Klay Thompson
Position: Shooting guard
Height/weight: 6-7, 215
College: Washington State
Age: 28
Salary: $18.99M (final year of a four-year pact worth $68.98M one-year minimum deal, guaranteed, per Spotrac)
NBA 2K Player Rating: 89

2017-18 in review: For the first time in Thompson’s seven-year career, he played less than 90 percent of the schedule and his scoring average did not increase. What did improve was his shot selection. He attempted the fewest field goals since 2013-14 while posting career-high percentages. Though he was fairly consistent, Thompson managed to have sizzling quarters without delivering one of his trademark nuclear games. Considering his defense remained strong, he remains perhaps the top two-way SG.

Key stats: 73 games (73 starts), averaging 20.0 points (58.8 percent FG, 44.0 percent 3p, 83.7 percent FT), 3.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 34.3 minutes.

Season highs: Points (38), rebounds (10, twice), assists (six), minutes (42).

2018-19 outlook: Thompson’s scoring is wanted, his defense needed. The Warriors can do a better job of feeding him when he’s rolling on offense. He enters each season stating the goal of getting to the foul line more frequently, and there remains plenty of room for improvement there. This being the final season of his contract, it’s worth watching to see if he goes out of character or remains as metronomic as ever, with zero need for maintenance.