Steve Kerr operating as if Warriors' season is over even if NBA returns

Steve Kerr operating as if Warriors' season is over even if NBA returns

For the last six weeks, the NBA has pondered when play will resume amid the coronavirus pandemic. However, Warriors coach Steve Kerr and his staff are operating as if his season is over. 

"It feels like the end of our season," Kerr said during a digital conference with the University of San Francisco on Tuesday. "We're staying in touch with our guys, but it definitely feels like the season is done for us."

The Warriors, who haven't played a game since March 10, had video chats with Kerr and Warriors general manager Bob Myers last week with players that mirrored "exit meetings," according to Kerr. 

"It was just a chance to check-in, but it was also a chance for Bob to update the players and his contact with the league and the latest news ... our coaching staff and I have been undergoing staff evaluations offseason plans. So we, we are absolutely in offseason mode." 

Since last month, the city of San Francisco has implemented social distancing guidelines, banning gatherings of 10 or more people. San Francisco Mayor London Breed recently extended the order until May 31.

Though the league is allowing some teams to open facilities in places social distancing measures are relaxed, the Warriors' facilities are expected to remain closed as long as the city of San Francisco keeps its ordinances in place, league sources told NBC Sports Bay Area on Saturday.

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While other teams are hoping for postseason play, the Warriors, who own the worst record in the league, aren't concerned about resuming the season. 

"There's still a chance to league could ask us to come back and play some games," Kerr said. "But given what we went through this season with all the injuries and the tough record, it's been more of the case of, you know, we're staying in touch with guys but everybody is just sort of assuming that you know, this is, this is kind of it. We're not going to be involved much anymore."

Tuesday's call also included Warriors president Rick Welts, who explained how he's kept in contact with team employees via virtual townhall meetings. The meetings have included Kerr, Warriors primary owner Joe Lacob and NBA commissioner Adam Silver as guest speakers. 

"My commitment was to communicate with every employee every day. And we do that through kind of an end-of-the-day email," Welts said. "I'm trying to talk to somebody every day who has a unique viewpoint because of the job they have on what they're going through with the pandemic that might relate to our industry, and then I try to share some of their insights with our people. The town halls are very much like this." 

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Kerr, who is in quarantine in San Diego, said the break has been "productive" for the staff. And with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green expected to be healthy for the 2020-21 season, along with a top draft pick, Kerr is confident in the Warriors' future

 "I think we've had much deeper conversations amongst the staff to try to come up with better ways to coach our players and better ways to approach next season and really take advantage of the time that we do have."

Steve Kerr knows Warriors must 'begin to manage' Steph Curry's minutes

Steve Kerr knows Warriors must 'begin to manage' Steph Curry's minutes

Restarting a dynasty never is easy, and the Warriors will face a host of new challenges next season as they look to return to greatness after a pause year at the bottom of the NBA.

Among the new set of obstacles for coach Steve Kerr is something he hasn't had to worry about in the past: managing Steph Curry's workload. As Curry enters his age 32 season, Kerr knows it will be the responsibility of the staff to make sure Curry isn't overworked during the season, suggesting the Warriors will implement a version of the Celtics' "KG Plan," which Boston used toward the end of Kevin Garnett's tenure.

“Now, (Curry’s) at the point where he’s been at the peak of his powers for the last couple of years,” Kerr said on The Athletic's "Hoops, Adjacent" podcast. “If anything, it’s on us to try to begin to manage his minutes. We’ve always been really blessed. We’ve been able to do that because of the talent on our team. We’ve never really run Steph into the ground. We don’t have as much depth as we once did. It’s on us as a coaching staff to make sure we get him his rest every night, and we’re not wearing him out.”

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For Garnett and the Celtics, that plan meant Garnett spending five minutes on the court and then five minutes on the bench. The Celtics tried to stick to that plan as diligently as possible during the 2011-12 season, but eventually, they needed Garnett to play more down the stretch and in the playoffs.

The Warriors' plan for Curry is unlikely to be as regimented as Garnett's was in 2012. As Kerr noted, the Warriors no longer have the depth they once did, so even more will be placed on the shoulders of Curry and Klay Thompson as they try to resurrect a dynasty that was brought down by injuries and exhaustion in the 2019 NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors.

After playing just five games last season, Curry no doubt is chomping at the bit to return and prove that he and the Warriors should not be cast aside yet. Managing Curry's minutes will be important to keep him fresh for what the Warriors hope is an extended playoff run, but it's clear the Warriors will have to ask Curry to shoulder a heavier load in order to accomplish their goals next season.

[RELATED: How Steph feels about Warriors playing in second bubble]

A critical offseason now faces the Warriors. After sinking to the bottom of the NBA, the Warriors will have a top-five draft pick and a $17.2 million trade exception to use to bolster the roster around Curry, Thompson and Draymond Green.

Returning to the unprecedented level of greatness they once enjoyed is too much to ask of Curry and the Warriors. You don't simply absorb the massive blow of losing Durant and return to that level.

But the Warriors will return to the court rested and healthy in December when the next season is expected to begin, and they should automatically return to contender status atop a now loaded Western Conference.

Curry wants to prove that the Warriors dynasty isn't done. In order to do that, he'll have to carry a heavy load for a rebuilt Warriors team. For the Warriors to succeed in returning to the top of the NBA, it's important Kerr makes sure the two-time MVP isn't worn down by the weight he's asked to carry.

Steph Curry offers thoughts on Warriors playing in second NBA bubble

Steph Curry offers thoughts on Warriors playing in second NBA bubble

As 22 NBA teams get acclimated to the bubble in Orlando, Steph Curry and the Warriors are in offseason mode. For now, at least.

The NBA reportedly is looking into having a second bubble in Chicago, where the eight teams who did not get the Orlando invite would participate in a minicamp and play a few games against each other. For Curry, that's something he doesn't sound interested in, but admits it could be beneficial for the younger Warriors.

"At the end of the day, it would be hard for me to play meaningless games, and that's pretty obvious," Curry said Friday on SportsCenter. "But in terms of young guys trying to get as much basketball to break up, for the bottom eight teams, this potential eight-, nine-month layoff, I think it's a good effort. Obviously safety first, that's what everything is about. So if they can answer those questions, then we'll see what happens."

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Warriors general manager Bob Myers has said the Warriors will be a good league partner and participate in a second bubble if one gets OK'd. But it is unlikely Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green would participate in said second bubble. 

In June, coach Steve Kerr said that a minicamp-style bubble would not be something that appealed to the Warriors.

[RELATED: Curry hopes others follow his lead in social justice push]

After a 15-50 season, the Warriors will finish recharging during the extended offseason before attempting to restart their dynasty in December, when the 2020-21 season is expected to begin.

The Warriors face a crucial offseason as they look to maximize the remaining prime years of Curry, Thompson and Green. They will have a top-five draft pick and have a $17.2 million trade exception to use to add another piece around their championship core.

The second bubble doesn't have much intrigue for a team that spent the last five Junes playing in The Finals. There's little reason for Curry, Thompson or Green to suit up for exhibition games this summer. All that matters is being healthy and rested for when the games count again.