Warriors

Warriors' Steve Kerr doesn't give opinion on Daryl Morey-China controversy

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AP

Warriors' Steve Kerr doesn't give opinion on Daryl Morey-China controversy

SAN FRANCISCO -- During his five-year tenure as Warriors coach, Steve Kerr has spoken out on a number of social topics about which he's passionate.

However, following the controversy surrounding Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey's comments on China, Kerr chose not to give an opinion on the matter.  

"I don't," Kerr said following Warriors practice Monday evening. "It's a really bizarre international story, and a lot of us don't know what to make of it. So it's something I'm reading about just like everybody is, but I'm not going to comment further than that.

"What I've found is that it's easy to speak on issues that I'm passionate about and that I feel like I'm well-versed on, and I've found that it makes the most sense to stick to topics that fall in that category," he added. "So I try to keep my comments to those things, and so it's not difficult. It's more I'm just trying to learn." 

Kerr's comments come three days after Morey tweeted and deleted “stand with Hong Kong” in support of protests happening in the city. The tweet caused a firestorm in China, as country officials denounced the tweet and Chinese shoe companies Li Ning and Anta paused sponsorships with the Rockets. The Chinese Basketball Association -- whose commissioner is former Rockets star Yao Ming -- cut off ties with the team until a "reasonable explanation" for the comments was given.  

Morey's comments put the NBA and some of its players in an awkward position. Not only is the country hosting exhibition games between the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets this week, but the league has a lucrative business relationship with the Communist country. Tencent -- a Chinese news company that signed a $1.5 billion streaming deal with the league in July -- announced it would suspend all Rockets-related programming. 

In the fallout, NBA executives also denounced Morey's comments. Nets majority owner Joseph Tsai -- who owns Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba -- said Morey's comments "will take a long time to repair.” NBA spokesperson Mike Bass called Morey's comments "regrettable." 

While those officials responded to Morey’s comments, Kerr made it clear the league hasn’t provided direction on how to approach the controversy.

"Nobody has said anything to us from the league or from the organization about whether we can comment or not comment," Kerr said.

Following his tweets Friday night, Morey apologized in a follow-up post on Twitter.  

“I did not intend my tweet to cause any offense to Rockets fans and friends of mine in China,” Morey wrote, adding that his view did not represent that of the team or the NBA. “I was merely voicing one thought, based on one interpretation, of one complicated event. I have had a lot of opportunity since that tweet to hear and consider other perspectives.’’

[RELATED: Poole shows why Warriors took him]

The controversy comes as Hong Kong is embroiled in protests relating to human rights violations. Hong Kong -- which was a democracy under British rule until 1997 -- has operated under a "one country, two systems" rule, giving the pro-democracy city more discretion under China's communist rule. However, since a proposed bill to allow extradition into China's mainland in June, protests have erupted pushing for full democracy in Hong Kong. 

During his time with the Warriors, Kerr has voiced his opinion on social issues relating to human rights. In 2018, he spoke at a rally condemning gun violence at Newark Memorial High School. Kerr also has spoken out against US President Donald Trump, calling him a "racist."

How Lakers are giving Warriors repeated reminders of size they lack

How Lakers are giving Warriors repeated reminders of size they lack

The best of Dwight Howard disappeared in 2012, and what remains of the three-time Defensive Player of the Year is a serviceable big man in the rotation of a Los Angeles Lakers team with championship aspirations.

That was enough Monday night to remind the Warriors during their 104-98 loss of an issue they must address if they expect to compete at the highest levels of the Western Conference.

They’ve got to get bigger and more bullish, particularly in the paint.

Which, at this point, makes it imperative that they find a roster spot for 6-foot-10, 240-pound Marquese Chriss.

With Howard bullying his way to 13 rebounds in 22 minutes and 7-foot teammate JaVale McGee snatching five boards in 17 minutes, Los Angeles rode a 48-38 advantage in paint points to send the Warriors out of Staples Center in defeat.

“It’s just really, really frustrating,” coach Steve Kerr told reporters in LA. “If we don’t get that cleaned up, we’re in huge trouble this year. We know that.”

Though the Warriors snagged only two fewer rebounds (48-46), it was evident for the second time in two games they had problems with the bumping and banging of the LA big men.

Through three preseason games, a pattern is developing. The Warriors have lost the rebounding battle in all three games, including by 11 in the preseason opener against LA and by one against the Minnesota Timberwolves, a notoriously poor rebounding team.

Some of this can be blamed on the absences of Willie Cauley-Stein (mid-foot sprain, out until November) and Kevon Looney (hamstring strain, out indefinitely). The season opener is nine days away, and they were projected to share the bulk of the team’s minutes at center.

For now, the load is being shared by 6-9, 270-pound Omari Spellman and Chriss, with 6-10, 245-pound Kavion Pippen playing scant minutes the last two games. Spellman, who started the preseason opener, has 17 rebounds in 51 minutes. Chriss, who started the last two games, has 28 rebounds in 65 minutes.

Rookie forward Eric Paschall, whose listed height of 6-foot-9 is an exaggeration, closed at center Monday night. He has only nine rebounds in 70 preseason minutes.

“You’ve got to defend without fouling, and you’ve got to rebound,” Kerr said. “If we do those things then you’re got a chance. Without it, we’re in big trouble.”

In addition to the rebounding deficit, the Warriors also are committing the kind of pushing-and-grabbing frustration fouls typical of teams operating at a size disadvantage. Paschall and Chriss each were whistled for five fouls while both played 26 minutes.

The result was the Lakers having a 39-23 advantage in free-throw attempts.

“Between the rebounding and the fouling, those were the areas we talked about the most,” Kerr said. “Especially over the last four or five days. Once we got a couple games under our belt, where you could really see it, that’s all we’ve talked about.

“That’s why this was a really disappointing game, especially in the first half.”

The Warriors are well aware that their lack of size presents their biggest physical challenge. But playing the Lakers four times this preseason is perfect for providing a constant reminder.

The lack of size is a real problem, and the length of the Lakers shines a harsh light on it. Anthony Davis, McGee and Howard totaled 32 rebounds in 53 minutes in the Oct. 5 opener, when Chriss had been on the roster for four days.

He now looks like the most skilled offensive big man on the roster.

[RELATED: Why John Oliver name-dropped Chriss in NBA-China monologue]

Chris has made smart passes, averaging 4.0 assists this preseason. He has shot 11-of-19 from the field, 8-of-8 from the line. He provides the vertical spacing expected of Cauley-Stein and some of the savvy play we’ve seen from Looney.

Most of all, Chriss is big, strong and springy, and he engages in the paint. He is easily the team’s most impressive big man and certainly is outplaying his non-guaranteed contract.

The Warriors know the problem, and the sight of Howard exposing it means it’s visible to all. It’s not going to go away unless they address it.

Why John Oliver name-dropped Warriors' Marquese Chriss in NBA-China monologue

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USATSI

Why John Oliver name-dropped Warriors' Marquese Chriss in NBA-China monologue

Warriors big man Marquese Chriss has been the talk of training camp, but he apparently caught the eye of comedian John Oliver -- or his writers room -- long before that. 

On Sunday's episode of "Last Week Tonight" on HBO, Oliver recapped China's backlash against the NBA following Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey's since-deleted tweet in support of pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong. Oliver called China's uproar over Morey's tweet "absurd," before facetiously criticizing Morey for letting Chriss go in a trade last season. 

"You wanna be angry at him, how about the fact he traded away power forward Marquese Chriss as part of a three-team deal with the Kings and Cavaliers back in February?" Oliver joked. "Chriss is [6-foot-10] with a 7-foot wingspan, plays way above the rim and can mix it up in the post. Yes, granted, he's had his issues on the Suns -- I'm not denying that. But he's the exact type of athletic big man that could have balanced out [Russell Westbrook and James Harden] especially when he's coming off the bench for P.J. Tucker.

"What I'm saying, Daryl, is your tweet about Hong Kong was totally fine -- nothing to apologize for there -- but when it comes to Marquese Chriss, you f----d up, Daryl!"

Oliver then quipped he wasn't "even a Rockets fan," but one of "competent midseason roster moves."

The Warriors signed Chriss to a non-guaranteed contract in September. The No. 8 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft has impressed his Golden State teammates and coaches, providing the Warriors size up front and rebounding -- two things they've lacked in the preseason with much of their frontcourt banged up. 

During the segment, Oliver criticized the NBA for its handling of the aftermath of Morey's tweet, which Morey walked back and the league apologized for. Following the league's apology, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said that Morey "enjoys that right [to freedom of speech] as one of our employees." Chinese state broadcaster CCTV did not show a pair of the league's preseason games played in China last week. 

[RELATED: What we learned in Dubs' second preseason loss to Lakers]

Oliver noted that "the NBA has put itself in a tight spot," but contended that the league would be unable to navigate out of it. In wrapping up the segment, he invoked Chriss once more. 

"And the reality is here that the NBA can either have a commitment to free speech, or they can have guaranteed access to the Chinese market, but they cannot have both," Oliver argued. "This will not be the last time that they'll be forced to choose, and my fear is they'll trade one for the other -- which would be the worst trade since Daryl Morey shipped out Marquese Chriss."