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Murph: It’s Crisis Time for Steve Kerr 



© Kyle Terada | 2023 Oct 20

So, Steve Kerr, how’s things?

I mean, except for the part about Draymond Green going all Charles Bronson in ‘Death Wish’ on the NBA and leaving you without a four-time champion defensive heartbeat.

And except for the part where you inexplicably left a hot Jonathan Kuminga on the bench Thursday night for a quarter-plus in front of God and Stan Van Gundy, while your team frittered away an 18-point lead at home against the defending NBA champs.

And except for the part where the basketball gods decided to reward you with Nikola Jokic raining home a 39-foot bank shot at the buzzer to hand you your fourth loss in your last five home games, a shot with about a .001% probability of going in.

And except for the part where social media and JD’s post-game show on KNBR Thursday night turned into a torches-and-pitchforks referendum on you pressing every wrong button in the 2023-24 season.

And then except for the part where, when you woke up Friday morning in your City home and had barely finished your Philz coffee, when you got the alert that 21-year-old Jonathan Kuminga told The Athletic’s Shams Charania that Kuminga had “lost faith” in you.

True story.

It’s been the kind of year, Coach. One morning you wake up, walk past your Final Four plaque from Arizona, brush your teeth in the reflection of five NBA championship rings as a player, polish the four NBA championship trophy replicas you won as a Coach, sit down with your cup of Joe (not Lacob) and then get the alert that Kuminga, who wasn’t even born when you bailed out Michael Jordan in the NBA Finals, was done with you.

The NBA: One day you’re the nine-championship-winning hammer, the next day you’re the 18-point lead-blowing nail.

You’d be forgiven for a “Godfather”-styled Moe Greene rant on Kuminga: “Do you know who I am? I’m Steve Kerr! I made my bones when you were going out with cheerleaders!” 

But sports is not a legacy business these days, kids. For every “But he’s won championships!” defender, there’s a “What have you done for me lately?” Instagram account, as I was just saying to my good friend Bill Belichick.

Point is, this is Crisis Time for Steve Kerr, capital C’, capital ’T’, baby.

It seems like it’s been one long crisis since the day Draymond Green popped Jordan Poole in the schnozz back in 2022. That was just three months after perhaps Kerr’s sweetest championship of them all — the post-Kevin Durant, history-making triumph in the Boston Garden, which may have been a true high point of this glorious, Walsh/Montana-like era for the Dubs. 

Since then, it’s been one long spin-out, with the exception of a Steph Curry 50 Burger in our state’s fair capital last May. Shout out Bob Myers giving an ‘Audi 5000’ to the whole scene on top of everything.

That leaves the opening Jock Blog of 2024 asking the most unpleasant of questions: Is the Steve Kerr Era done in the Bay? 

He has no contract past this year, and artfully has dodged any questions about his future. Perhaps Kerr, a sharp cookie, planned all along to make one more run with Steph & Co. in 2023-24, see what happens, and then close the door, thanking everyone for the memories. Peace out, and all that.

But if he wants to be like his guy Gregg Popovich, who’s still doing the damn thing at age 74, he’s got some coachin’ and fixin’ and healin’ to do. Like, right now. Starting tonight against the Detroit Pistons, and then Sunday against the Toronto Raptors, and then Wednesday against the New Orleans Pelicans and . . . you get the deal.

The NBA is an 82-game meat grinder that only dumps you into a two-month pressure cooker called the playoffs. This stuff ain’t for the faint of heart. Steve Kerr, despite his still-boyish appearance, is a grizzled veteran and I doubt the leaks of Jon Kuminga’s agent will be anything he can’t overcome in the long run.

Mike Dunleavy, Jr. plays a role in all this. Can he craft the trade that changes the trajectory of the season? So does, obviously, Joe Lacob’s wish list. If he doesn’t want Steve Kerr as his coach anymore, which I doubt would be the case, he can end all this at any time.

In the meantime, Steve Kerr sure is finding out what championship glory and gifting a fan base a lifetime of memories is worth these days. To paraphrase the old politician: a bucket of warm spit. Or spit-take of your coffee, as it were.