Kerr spends championship summer recovering from two back surgeries
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Steve Kerr had hoped to be able to spend the offseason savoring the NBA championship he won in his first year as coach of the Golden State Warriors.
Instead, Kerr spent most of the abbreviated summer on his back recovering from a pair of back surgeries.
“To be honest the last couple of months stunk for me,” Kerr said Friday. “I’m not kidding. I’ve had a rough go physically this summer. It has not been fun. It wasn’t the summer I was envisioning after winning the title, thinking this is the greatest thing ever. It’s been a rough go.”
Kerr said he originally tweaked his back during Game 5 of the NBA Finals in June. He had surgery after the season and then there were complications. Kerr said he feels much better now but will take a “back seat” to his assistants once training camp starts next week in order to stay off his feet and make sure he can make it through the season without more problems.
Kerr won’t be the only one taking things a little easier this training camp compared to last year as the Warriors deal with the shorter offseason after playing until June 16 when they won the NBA title by beating Cleveland in Game 6.
Kerr said there will be no two-a-day practices when camp starts Tuesday and he will be mindful of both the mental and physical fatigue from the shorter offseason.
He has already noticed a difference in his players from last year at this time when many arrived at the beginning of September trying to shake off a first-round loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.
That has not been the case this year, which is perfectly fine with Kerr.
“I don’t want them burning themselves out,” he said. “The mentality changes a bit. Part of it is a deeper level of confidence. But what you have to be wary of is feeling too happy, feeling like there’s nothing left to accomplish which obviously isn’t the case.”
In other news, the team announced that two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash has been hired as a player development consultant. Nash will spend about three days with the team next week in training camp and will join the Warriors periodically throughout the season.
Nash and Kerr have a history together with the Phoenix Suns when Kerr was general manager and Nash the star point guard. Kerr called Nash the “most innovative” athlete he had ever seen and said he had an “amazing feel for the game, an amazing mind.”
“Steve was the most efficient player I’ve ever been around,” Kerr said. “My hope is he can help make our guys more efficient and I think he will.”
Golden State also announced that guard Ben Gordon will join the team training camp on a tryout basis. Gordon became a free agent this summer after Orlando declined his option. The 32-year-old Gordon has averaged 14.9 points per game for his career and is a 40 percent shooter from 3-point range.
The Warriors have one open roster spot.
“He’s a proven scorer, a proven shooter,” Kerr said. “He’s at an age where he should be able to play. Physically he looks good. We’ll give him a chance. No guarantees of anything.”
NOTES: GM Bob Myers said the team is in extension talks with Harrison Barnes and Festus Ezeli. But Myers said if deals happen, they wouldn’t come until closer to the deadline at the end of October. ... The Warriors also signed Gs Ian Clark and Juwan Staten and Fs Tony Mitchell and Jarell Eddie and invited them to camp. Golden State will have 20 players in camp when Gordon arrives next week.