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Steve Kerr: Draymond Green punch eroded trust on Warriors



© Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Warriors’ failure to beat the Lakers in the Western Conference Semis created existential questions of the dynasty and short-term assessments of their failure.

But as Steve Kerr reminded reporters on Tuesday, the Warriors were swimming upstream from the very start.

When Draymond Green punched Jordan Poole in the face and the subsequent video leaked via TMZ, it sent shockwaves throughout the organization and NBA.

Kerr admitted in his exit interview presser that the punch created a fundamental issue of trust within the Warriors.

“That was lost this year for sure,” Kerr said. “There’s no hiding from it. The incident with Draymond and Jordan, at the beginning of the year, played a role in that. It’s hard for that not to impact a team.

“We feel like we have a great group of people on the roster, on the coaching staff, in the front office. We have a way of doing things that we’re very proud of. But those things were definitely challenged this year. Any time some trust is lost, then it makes the process much more difficult and there was some trust lost. And that’s as blunt as I can be.”

The thesis of Kerr’s statement is that Golden State needs to mend bridges this offseason.

Trust, he argued, is a major component of the dynasty’s success:

So the only way to try to correct course is to continue to communicate with players and coaches. And those relationships have to be built. The bonds have to be built. I think that’s a major focus for us this offseason is we have to get back to what has made us really successful which is a really trusting environment and a group that relies on one another and and makes each other better.

I don’t think that was all gone and vanished this year. I think there was a lot of that that we relied on to get as far as we did. I think down the stretch and into the playoffs, I thought a lot of who we truly are came out and that’s what gave us a chance. Obviously the talent, but the way the guys competed and came together in the playoffs for me was very inspiring and hopeful. Because I know it’s in us. But that was threatened during the year and the regular season matters

It really does matter. I know in this day and age of the players resting and all that stuff, sometimes people say just throw that out. It all matters. We won the championship last year after getting off to an 18-2 start and these vibes were incredible. It carried us forward and this year that was really challenged and we have to have to fix that.

What’s interesting about that trust is that so much of it revolved around the shared experience of the core three, Kerr and general manager Bob Myers, whose contract expires this offseason.

He is expected to decided shortly whether he’ll stick around, with the sense being that he has an open invitation to return, but may want to pursue other paths.

As for Draymond Green, who has a one-year, $27.59 million player option to decide on, Kerr said in no uncertain terms that the Warriors need him:

If Green is back, though, do the Warriors keep Poole?

He was abysmal in the playoffs and plays a brand of basketball that can involve some maddening shot selections and dribbling choices, coupled with poor defense. He is set to enter the first year of his four-year, $128 million extension this season. Many have pointed out that he could be traded.

Kerr, though, reaffirmed that the still sees Poole as part of the team’s core.

“Absolutely. I called him one of the foundational six at the end of last season, and I still believe that,” Kerr said.

That, of course, might mean nothing. Kerr isn’t going to come out and say in his post-season press conference that he’s fed up with Poole and the team is looking into trading him.

If the Warriors kept Poole and Green next season, their tax burden would rocket past $400 million. It’s hard to see Joe Lacob viewing that cost as worthwhile for a second round exit.

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