OAKLAND -- The Warriors aren’t exactly posting “Job Available” signs in Patrick McCaw’s ongoing absence, but they are preparing to move on without him.
McCaw on Monday night officially declined the $1.71 million qualifying offer that had been on the table since June 26. The Warriors still could re-sign the restricted free agent, but the vibe around the team suggests that possibility for the third-year wing is starting to fade.
“If there’s an opening right now,” coach Steve Kerr said, “it would be on the wing.”
Day 8 of training camp was Tuesday. Opening night is two weeks away. The Warriors have two vacant roster spots, one of which was being held for McCaw. They now find themselves more closely evaluating the hopefuls in camp.
“I like them all, and I’m not just saying that,” Kerr said with a modicum of conviction.
The coach mentioned training-camp invitees Danuel House and Alfonzo McKinnie, two 6-foot-7 wings, as well as 6-3 shooting guard Kendrick Nunn. Yet the more likely in-camp wing candidates are rookie Jacob Evans III, who has a guaranteed contract, and Damion Lee, who has a year of NBA experience and holds a two-way contract yet is best known as Stephen Curry’s brother-in-law.
“Our guys in the front office did a really good job of selecting a group of players who can play, and play in the NBA,” Kerr said. “But if not, they’ll go down to Santa Cruz and perform there.”
Jerebko making the adjustment
There's always an adjustment period for veteran players who sign with the Warriors, from the no-risk atmosphere to the music.
It’s now Jonas Jerebko’s turn.
"Some of the rookies here don’t know how good they have it,” he said. "It’s been real professional, and you notice the great energy we have on this team.”
Regarding the music, there is a rotation of DJs -- generally players -- that select the beats to be played over the sound system during practices. It's unusual. Moreover, it tends to be played at a volume high enough to vibrate the walls of the gym.
"It's different,” Jerebko said, unable to stifle a giggle. “It’s to the better, I think. We’re all NBA players, and we all work all summer long to stay in shape and to take care of our bodies to be ready for training camp.”
Kevin Durant got used to it. So did David West, JaVale McGee and Zaza Pachulia. Nick Young, of course, absolutely loved it.
Kerr prefers New School camp
There was a time when NBA training camps meant two practices per day, aka two-a-days. Some teams still believe in it that practice, but most have opted out.
The Warriors get a break because Kerr wants no part of it.
"I don’t think I would ever go with two-a-days,” he said. “I would practice longer if I had a younger group. But I think two-a-days are . . . I don’t think they’re efficient, I don’t think they’re good for players’ bodies.”
The players don’t mind a bit.
“I feel good,” Jerebko said. “I feel the freshest I’ve felt in my 10 years of doing training camps.”
Two-a-days were routine during Kerr’s 15-year NBA playing career, which ended in 2003. The Warriors also adhered to the custom under their procession of coaches in the 1990s and deep into the 2000s.
“Everybody had two-a-days when we played, and that first week just felt like you’ve been in a car wreck,” Kerr recalled. "Everything hurt.
“The season is like seven, eight or nine months long. There’s no need to get in shape in one week. These guys do a much better job nowadays of staying in condition over the summer. I think two-a-days are sort of . . . ‘fake hustle.' "