Warriors' decision on Smart could be coming soon


Warriors' decision on Smart could be coming soon


It's getting to be that time for Warriors coach Keith Smart.Owner Joe Lacob and general manager Larry Riley each indicated after the regular season concluded that they'd give the decision on whether to bring Smart back some time -- but not too much time.STEINMETZ: New GM-pair Riley and Myers meet press
Smart guided the Warriors to a 36-46 finish in 2010-11, taking over for Don Nelson less than a week before training camp began. The Warriors hold Smart's option for the 2011-12 season.STEINMETZ: Warriors Season in Review
On April 15 -- two days after the regular season finale, Riley talked about taking a week to 10 days before making a decision on Smart coming back. Lacob talked of the evaluation process taking two weeks or so, but did allow for more wiggle room.Regardless, we're getting closer.
Apparently, the decision isn't an easy one because it hasn't been made yet. Fair enough -- things aren't exactly clear cut when it comes to Smart.He largely met expectations -- neither underachieving nor overachieving -- and he was generally liked by the players. But there are certainly no assurances he can get the Warriors to the playoffs next season, something Lacob has promised to season-ticket holders.On the one hand, the Warriors made a 10-game improvement under Smart from the previous season. But that's less impressive when you consider the 2009-10 team was injury ravaged and relied significantly on more than a couple of D-League call-ups.Smart also got the Warriors to play hard for the entire season, something not to be taken for granted. Still, Smart received criticism during the season for his handling of second-year point guard Stephen Curry.As a practical matter, the specter of an NBA lockout also affects the situation. There is a very real threat of a truncated season or one canceled entirely, worst-case scenario. So, you could certainly make the case bringing back Smart -- already familiar with his core players and with a system in place -- makes sense. After all, why bring in a new coach for a short training camp and season or perhaps no season at all?However, conventional wisdom suggests Lacob very well may want to hire his own guy. Lacob has made no secret in his involvement in basketball decisions, and it would only seem natural he would want to hire his long-term coach of the future.

Livingston on Kerr: 'He’s our leader ... somebody that we count on'

Livingston on Kerr: 'He’s our leader ... somebody that we count on'

OAKLAND -- Though much has been said about the agonies and challenges facing Steve Kerr, including speculation about when, or if, he’ll return as head coach of the Warriors, little has been put into words that capture the significance of his absence.

This is perhaps because it can be difficult to explain how one man is able to influence a roster of supremely talented athletes, at the wealthiest point of life, with wildly divergent personalities, at different career stages.

Veteran guard Shaun Livingston, a man who knows perspective as well as anyone in the NBA, took a moment Saturday to cut through the palaver and pity to offer a clear and vivid illustration of Kerr’s value as a man and as a coach.

“It’s just his presence, his personality,” Livingston began. “His character, the way he fits in with us. He’s kind of the battery pack, in the sense that he makes everybody go. He keeps us all (in harmony), everybody from staff, training staff, coaching staff to the players.

“He bridges the gaps, in the sense of communication, and he makes it light.”

In short, Kerr’s value to the franchise is far greater than his duties as a coach. He has an easy, breezy charisma insofar as he’s so comfortable submerging his own ego while being remarkably good at making everyone matter.

Moreover, Kerr is decidedly inclusive, explicitly emphatically open to ideas. He’s an outreach specialist whose sensibilities are contagious.

All of which helps create a sprightly and genial workplace, something the Warriors sought when they hired Kerr to replace the swaggering and dogmatic Mark Jackson in May 2014.

“Every day it’s something new, in a sense, and that’s hard to do,” Livingston said. “We’re here for six to nine months for the past couple years, seeing the same faces. So it is kind of like a job. But (Kerr) makes it more like a game and tries to make sure we’re enjoying ourselves out there.”

Kerr wants to live his life and coach basketball around four basic tenets: joy, mindfulness, compassion and competition. Maintaining a balance of the four can be difficult, especially when Kerr is dealing with the searing pain that has him on the sideline for an indefinite period.

But Kerr never strays far. His players seem to see and, more important, feel that.

Draymond Green and Kerr, each volatile in his own way, don’t always see eye-to-eye. Yet Green on several occasions has noted that Kerr “always seems to find the right thing to say, at the right time.”

Veteran David West points out that anyone who spends any time around Kerr can sense his basic humanity. Veteran Andre Iguodala, one of the team’s co-captains, speaks of Kerr’s curiosity and desire to broaden his horizons.

Stephen Curry, the other co-captain, kept the ball from the Warriors’ Game 4 win over Portland last Monday night, punctuating a series sweep, and gave it to Kerr, who missed Games 3 and 4 while coping with this prolonged post-surgery pain.

Lead assistant Mike Brown, the acting head coach in Kerr’s absence, concedes he has benefited from being around Kerr and this team.

“The tone he sets is the best I’ve been around,” said Brown, who has been involved in the NBA since 1992. “This is a special, special situation, and he’s big reason why.”

So it’s not just Livingston who throwing rose petals at the boss. He just happened to convey in a few words the effect Kerr has on the team and within the building.

“He’s our leader,” Livingston said. “He’s somebody that we count on.”

Warriors update health status of Livingston, Barnes

Warriors update health status of Livingston, Barnes

OAKLAND -- One day after every member of the Warriors participated in a full scrimmage, the official health updates were released.

Veteran forward Matt Barnes, out since April 8, is listed as probable for Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals that begin Tuesday at Oracle Arena.

Veteran guard Shaun Livingston, out since sustaining a finger/hand injury in Game 1 of the first-round series against Portland on April 16, is listed as questionable -- but with an asterisk.

“Hopefully, we’ll be ready for Tuesday,” Livingston said after a light workout Saturday.

Livingston informed NBCSportsBayArea.com earlier this week that he would have been available, hypothetically, if the Warriors were facing a Game 7.

As for Kevin Durant, who missed five weeks with a knee injury before returning April 8, only to sustain a calf strain in Game 1 against the Trail Blazers, he’s fully available.