Why Steve Kerr lied about Warriors' NBA Finals Game 4 starting lineup

Why Steve Kerr lied about Warriors' NBA Finals Game 4 starting lineup

Programming note: Watch the re-air of Game 4 of the 2015 NBA Finals between the Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers tonight at 8:00 p.m. PT on NBC Sports Bay Area.

Let's take a walk down memory lane to June 11, 2015.

After losing Games 2 and 3 of the NBA Finals to the Cavs, the Warriors faced a pivotal Game 4 that night in Cleveland.

Steve Kerr surprised the basketball world when he inserted Andre Iguodala into the starting lineup in place of Andrew Bogut.

Things did not start out well for the Dubs, and Kerr called timeout a little over two minutes in with his squad trailing 7-0.

Spoiler alert -- the Warriors ended up clobbering the Cavs, 103-82. And after the victory, Golden State's coach provided one of the best soundbites over the Warriors' run of five straight trips to the Finals when he was asked about rolling with Iguodala from the opening tip:

"I think Tim Kawakami asked me if Bogut was starting. I lied. No, I did. I lied. I figure I have two press conferences on the day of the game, so I’m asked a lot of strategic questions.

My options were – tell the truth -- so if I tell the truth it’s the equivalent of me knocking on David Blatt’s door and saying, ‘Hey, this is what we’re gonna do.’ I could evade the question, which would start this Twitter phenomenon, ‘Who’s gonna start for the Warriors?’

Or, I could lie. So I lied. Sorry, but I don’t think they hand you the trophy based on morality. They give it to you if you win. So, sorry about that.”

It doesn't get any better than that.

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Iguodala was incredible -- scoring a season-high 22 points (8-for-15 overall, 4-for-9 3s) and helping hold LeBron James to a 7-for-22 night from the field.

Shaun Livingston recorded seven points, eight rebounds, four assists, one steal and one block, and was a team-best plus-25 in 25 minutes.

David Lee also had a nice night off the bench, registering nine points, five rebounds and three assists in less than 16 minutes.

[RELATED: Paschall picks starting lineup from Warriors coaches, execs]

A couple other things to remember:

1) It was Nick U'Ren -- who currently works in the Warriors' front office but at the time was "special assistant to the head coach" -- who first suggested starting Iguodala.

As Kerr told reporters: "He's behind the bench, he's 28 years old, he's a kid. We have a staff that is very cooperative. Whoever has the idea, it doesn't matter. And he brought me the idea."

2) The lineup of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Iguodala, Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green only played 102 minutes together during the regular season -- the team's fifth most-used lineup. And the four five-man combinations that saw more action all had better net ratings. 

So the unit that became known as the "Death Lineup" wasn't exactly killing opponents at that point in time.

3) Over 14 minutes in Game 4, the starting unit was minus-1 (improved to plus-14 over 21 minutes in Game 5, and plus-7 over 14 minutes in Game 6).

And lastly -- it is "National Beer Day," which is perfect for tonight's re-air. Enjoy the game ...

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NBA rumors: Warriors' offseason plan unaffected by drop in salary cap

NBA rumors: Warriors' offseason plan unaffected by drop in salary cap

The Warriors always were going to be a tax-paying team next season, given that Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins will combine to cost approximately $120 million against the salary cap. That was back when the cap was projected to be around $115 million -- back before the NBA experienced an unprecedented shutdown due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

With games not being played and arenas not in operation, the salary cap for the 2020-21 season is going to be negatively impacted. The resulting loss of revenue is expected to significantly lower the cap, perhaps by as much as $15 million. Consequently, tax-paying teams will get a much larger bill.

Logically, many of those teams might try to cut costs this offseason, or at the very least, limit additional expenditures, particularly those that don't necessarily view themselves as legitimate contenders. It remains to be seen where the Warriors will view themselves in that hierarchy, but as tempting as cuttings costs might be, it sounds like they are motivated by a different priority.

While Golden State certainly could entertain a number of cost-saving moves -- such as not using the full value of the tax-payer mid-level exception or the $17.2 million trade exception in free agency, or trading back from one of the top picks in the draft -- the lowering of the cap reportedly is irrelevant to the Warriors' offseason strategy.

"Golden State is unlikely to let a drop in the cap change how it approaches roster-building," the San Francisco Chronicle's Connor Letourneau wrote Saturday, citing a league source. "[Joe] Lacob realizes that with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green all in their early 30s, the Warriors might only have a three- or four-year window to win another title.

"Even if it requires a massive luxury-tax burden, Golden State will do what it can to capitalize on the rest of its core players’ prime years. Anything else would go against what this ownership group has come to represent."

[RELATED: Warriors get great news about $17.2 million trade exception]

Since Lacob and Peter Guber bought the team in 2012, the Warriors haven't shied away from spending large sums to put a championship-contender on the court. With Curry, Thompson and Green still in their primes, it's easy to understand why they might feel comfortable doing so again.

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Ex-Warrior Kevin Durant talks recovery from coronavirus, Achilles tear

Ex-Warrior Kevin Durant talks recovery from coronavirus, Achilles tear

June 11, 2019 was a date that forever altered Kevin Durant's NBA career. After missing the first four games of the NBA Finals with a calf injury, KD returned to the court for Game 5 in Toronto but tore his Achilles' tendon in the second quarter. The Warriors would go on to lose the series in six games to the Raptors, and Durant departed this past summer in free agency for the Brooklyn Nets.

While sitting out the 2019-20 season, KD became one of the first NBA players to test positive for the coronavirus in March. Durant recently caught up with The Undefeated's Marc J. Spears to discuss his recovery from both injury and illness.

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

"I was shocked. And then I was curious," Durant said about getting the coronavirus diagnosis. "I wanted to know what it meant. What is the virus about? I started to get information about it more and more. It calmed me down. … I was just more curious to what I was dealing with and how I could fight it myself.

"I feel good. I didn’t have any symptoms so I am good. I couldn’t leave the house. I knew things would change. The unknown was definitely difficult to deal with. But other than that, I was great."

The NBA suspended operations on March 11 after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert became the first player to test positive. The league is returning to action in late July in Orlando with 22 teams completing the regular season and playoff schedule.

Durant's Brooklyn Nets are among the teams returning to the court this summer, but he maintains that he will be sticking with his initial plan to sit out the entire 2019-20 season.

"My season is over. I don’t plan on playing at all," Durant said. "We decided last summer when it first happened that I was just going to wait until the following season. I had no plans of playing at all this season."

[RELATED: Why Warriors could benefit from unique 2019-20 NBA season calendar]

When it comes to the rehabilitation from that Achilles' tear, KD says things are on the right track for a return to the court next season.

"I’m doing well. Working out every day. I’m moving. I’m feeling like a normal player again. I’m just in my summertime routine. I’m working out every day and going to the gym in the morning. So, I feel good."

Kyrie Irving and Durant together at 100 percent on the court in Brooklyn could make for a dangerous combination.