Steinmetz: Azubuike Signing's Domino Effect on Warriors

163505.jpg

Steinmetz: Azubuike Signing's Domino Effect on Warriors

May 4, 2010STEINMETZ ARCHIVEWARRIORS PAGE WARRIORS VIDEO

Matt Steinmetz
CSNBayArea.com
It was a mere formality that Warriors swingman Kelenna Azubuike exercised his player option for the 2010-11 season -- which is what he did on Tuesday.

After all Azubuike said six weeks ago that returning to the Warriors for 3.3 million next season was the logical thing to do.

Simply put, for a player who missed most of this past season, opting out would have been a gamble. So in other words, nobody in Golden States front office was surprised by the move.

Now its time to turn your attention to Anthony Morrow.

The Warriors now have three small forwards under contract -- Azubuike, Corey Maggette and Reggie Williams -- but Morrow is not one of them. He'll become a restricted free agent this offseason, and his future with the Warriors is very much unknown.

Morrow is one of the NBAs best 3-point shooters, and hes improved many parts of his game over the past two years. No Warrior spends as much time in the gym as Morrow and he is one of the most well-liked players on the team.

But unless the Warriors can make some kind of offseason deal, it's a longshot Morrow will be back. Simply put, theres not enough room for him.

As a restricted free agent, the Warriors will have the right to match any offer Morrow would get from another team. Still, the Warriors are unlikely to shell out, say, 3-plus million per year for three or four years for a player who would simply further logjam a position.

Of course, all this could change if the Warriors could find a trade partner for Maggette, but its not like they havent been looking into that for a while now. Its also possible the Warriors might look to trade Azubuike, although he is coming off a serious knee injury.

Morrow went undrafted out of Georgia Tech, but the Warriors signed him to a two-year deal in the summer of 2008. He proceeded to lead the league in 3-point shooting in 2008-09.

Theres no doubt the Warriors can lay claim to discovering Morrow. But if they want to keep him, theyre going to have to figure out how.

Myers: 'It's painful' that Kerr not able to treasure being in NBA Finals

Myers: 'It's painful' that Kerr not able to treasure being in NBA Finals

OAKLAND -- Warriors coach Steve Kerr is no closer to resuming full-time duties than he was a week ago, or even a month ago.

Out since April 23, when he announced he was taking a leave of absence to address chronic pain in the wake of multiple back surgeries nearly two years ago, Kerr has been a constant presence the past two weeks but not on the bench during games.

“He’s doing everything but coaching, but at this point, he’s not able to coach,” general manager Bob Myers said Thursday after practice. “I wish could say that he was. I’m sure he wishes he could as well. But that’s where we are.

“If something changes and he feels better, I’ll sit here or, better -- he would sit here -- and tell you. But right now, I can’t say that he’s going to be coaching.”

Though Kerr did not address media Thursday, he indicated earlier this week that he would be comfortable going into the NBA Finals, which begin June 1, with acting head coach Mike Brown at the helm.

“We’re 12-0,” Kerr told NBCSportsBayArea.com. “I feel great about where the team is. I know we can play better. I think the challenge we’re about to face, one way or the other, is going to take us to another level.”

The Warriors under Kerr finished the regular season with a league-best 67-15 mark, earning the No. 1 overall seed for the playoffs. Kerr coached Games 1 and 2 of the first round against Portland before surrendering head coaching duties to Brown.

The Warriors are 10-0 since Brown took over, 27-1 over their last 28 games since March 11.

Still, they would like Kerr to regain health and join them in their quest for a second championship in three years.

“It’s hard for me; I’m kind of in this basketball mode,” Myers said. “But he’s a person and he’s not feeling well. And that’s what makes it hard. More than how it reflects on our team is how he’s feeling that makes it very difficult to have to sit here and say that the man that’s hugely responsible for us being in The Finals for three years in a row, in a moment that he should be treasuring, can’t do it.

“It’s painful. And I know it’s painful for him, more than anybody. And I wish and he wishes and I’m sure you guys do, too, that there was something that could get him there. But right now, we’re not at that point.”

LeBron: Chasing Jordan 'my personal goal to keep me motivated'

LeBron: Chasing Jordan 'my personal goal to keep me motivated'

BOSTON -- LeBron James says his chase of Michael Jordan's accomplishments is simply personal motivation. It's not about wanting to establish himself as the NBA's greatest player.

James spoke Thursday during the morning shootaround before the Cavaliers play the Boston Celtics in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals.

If the Cavaliers advance, James would be making a seventh consecutive trip to the NBA Finals.

He said his goal is not about passing Jordan in titles, points or MVP awards. James is 28 points shy of overtaking Jordan as the postseason's leading scorer. With 40 more points, James could also become the first player in NBA history to score 6,000 points in the playoffs.

But the Cavaliers superstar says his pursuit is about leaving a legacy to motivate the next generation of players.

"It's just my personal goal to keep me motivated, that's all," James said. "You guys are gonna have the conversations about who's the greatest of all time and things of that nature, it doesn't matter to me."

He also said he believes that the greatness conversation is discussed more often in the NBA than in other sports.

"It's never talked about (in the) NFL, who's the greatest quarterback. It's just like (Dan) Marino, (John) Elway, (Peyton) Manning, (Tom) Brady - all great quarterbacks. It should be the same for us," James said. "We go out and just try to be as great as we can be every night.

"The comparison of always trying to compare people, either living or still playing or not playing - I think it's great for barbershops."