Warriors head coach Steve Kerr joined his old friend Tom Tolbert on KNBR 680 Tuesday afternoon, for his first radio interview since the conclusion of the 2019 season.
The conversation was wide-ranging, with Kerr touching on everything from working with Gregg Popovich on team USA, to the departure of Andre Iguodala, to the acquisition of D’Angelo Russell. Perhaps the most interesting tidbit, however, had to do with the critical comments Kerr made last week regarding Anthony Davis’ departure from the New Orleans Pelicans. A number of prominent names in NBA media, including Kendrick Perkins, disagreed with Kerr’s take that Davis forcing his way out of New Orleans is “bad for the league.”
“I’m talking more about the Anthony Davis situation,” Kerr told The Warriors Insider Podcast. “Where a guy is perfectly healthy and has a couple years left on his deal and says, ‘I want to leave.’ That’s a real problem that the league has to address and that the players have to be careful with.
“When you sign on that dotted line, you owe your effort and your play to that team, to that city, to the fans. And then it’s completely your right to leave as a free agent. But if you sign the contract, then you should be bound to that contract.”
On Tuesday, Kerr clarified his stance, saying that he has more of a problem with the public nature of Davis’ request during the second half of last season, and the amount of players on both teams that were adversely affected.
“If it’s done behind the scenes, there’s no harm done,” Kerr said. “I have no problem with a player requesting a trade quietly, I have no problem with player empowerment. I think it’s great as a former player, I think the more rights the players have the better. My point was just the manner in which that happened kind of alienated a fan base, and it put a lot of players in a weird spot on both teams. And it was so uncomfortable, it was so awkward just to watch that unfold over the second half of the season, that’s what I was referring to.
“I have no problem with the trade request. If it’s done quietly and behind the scenes then…it’s much more comfortable for everybody. Especially all the players involved. I think that’s what I was really referring to. Just the dysfunction that it led to for both of those teams involved in the trade. That was the real issue for me.”
Tolbert then joked that he needed to get closed captioning of Kerr’s statement for Perkins, who called the coach’s criticism hypocritical because Kevin Durant joined the Warriors, a curious comparison.
Steve Kerr got his got damn nerves to talk about anything that’s going on with any other organization, as if he just didn’t have Kevin Durant join a 73-9 team! BTW @SteveKerr Mark Jackson built that dynasty in GS!!! The Nerve of him!
— Kendrick Perkins (@KendrickPerkins) July 24, 2019
“I heard he let me have it huh?” Kerr laughed.
“Yeah he got a little confused with Durant coming to your team and Davis going to the Lakers, and one was free agency and one wasn’t close to free agency, but other than that it was exactly the same,” Tolbert said sarcastically.
Listen to the full interview below. To hear Kerr on Anthony Davis, start from 18:20