Report: Steve Kerr spurns Knicks, accepts head coaching job with Warriors

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In a fairly stunning development, Steve Kerr, who became a viable head coaching candidate only after Phil Jackson tabbed him for the Knicks job, has apparently chosen to to take the position with the Warriors instead.

From David Aldridge of NBA.com:

Kerr met with the Warriors again on Tuesday, and even after the Knicks met his contract demands by adding a fourth year to the deal, he obviously decided that being in the Bay Area close to his family while coaching a roster much closer to championship contention than the one currently assembled in New York was the superior long-term situation.

This doesn’t bode well for Jackson and the Knicks, as Kerr was identified due to his close prior relationship with Jackson, along with his knowledge of the Triangle offense that Jackson is believed to want to install as he begins to try to mold the franchise into one capable of sustained success.

Kerr has no prior head coaching experience. But as a former player with championship experience who then went on to be the general manager of the Phoenix Suns before becoming a credible broadcaster, he’s believed by many to be more than capable of handling the assignment.

It’s an interesting decision by the Warriors, however, considering that the coach they just fired similarly was a former player without any previous experience patrolling the sidelines who they grabbed from the broadcasting booth. But Mark Jackson’s dismissal wasn’t necessarily about Xs and Os, as he guided Golden State to two consecutive playoff appearances before he was ousted.

The Knicks, meanwhile, didn’t appear to have a Plan B in place in case Kerr didn’t sign on, at least not publicly. Now, Jackson is faced with a fairly big challenge in his short time on the job as president in recruiting another candidate whom he trusts to take on the position, and carry out his wishes.

Spurs’ LaMarcus Aldridge nails three from one knee during warmups (VIDEO)

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Take that Stephen Curry.

Gregg Popovich would pull him so fast he’d look like a fidget spinner if he tried this in a game, but during warmups before Game 4 Monday night LaMarcus Aldridge knocked down a deep three from one knee.

If Aldridge is taking a lot of threes that’s not a good sign for the Spurs, but we’ll see if he can have a big night and keep the Spurs alive in this series.

Stephen Curry drains shots from near half court during warmups like they’re layups

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Stephen Curry‘s pregame warmups draw people into the arena early, it’s a show in and of itself.

Before Game 4 Monday night, Curry was taking a couple shots from the center-court logo. And draining them. Like layups. Because he can.

We’ll see if he can put on that kind of show when the game tips off.

Gregg Popovich makes it official: No Kawhi Leonard for Game 4

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This was expected. It still sucks to hear.

Kawhi Leonard is out for Game 4 vs. the Warriors Monday night.

Leonard has sprained his left ankle in Game 5 against the Rockets and sat out Game 6 of that series (a San Antonio win), then returned for Game 1 against the Warriors. He re-injured his ankle twice in that game — once stepping on David Lee‘s foot, once when Zaza Pachulia slid under him on a jumper and took away his landing space. Leonard left that game with his team up 23 points, but the Warriors rallied back to win Game 1 and have controlled the series ever since. Leonard has not returned to the series.

San Antonio will play with pride on Monday night, but it may not be enough. You can bet the Warriors were reminded all day about taking their foot off the gas after what happened with Cleveland Sunday.

Report: Orlando hires Toronto GM Jeff Weltman to be president of basketball operations

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In Toronto, Masai Ujiri is the head of basketball operations and the guy with the hammer on deals. Jeff Weltman was his right-hand man and team GM.

Make that was his right-hand man, Weltman has been hired by the Orlando Magic to run its basketball operations, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

The Orlando Magic have hired Toronto Raptors general manager Jeff Weltman as the franchise’s president of basketball operations, league sources told The Vertical.

Weltman met with Orlando CEO Alex Martins and ownership on Monday, finalizing a five-year deal, league sources said.

Orlando officials had been intrigued with Cleveland GM David Griffin, but moved steadily toward Weltman as they became further engaged with his candidacy in recent weeks, league sources said. Weltman has been deeply involved in every aspect of the Raptors’ front office under president Masai Ujiri as Toronto became a perennial Eastern Conference contender.

Making a move now is smart in this sense: The Magic have the No. 5 pick in this draft and would want the guy making the big picture decisions about this roster on board to make this selection.

That roster already has some quality pieces — Aaron Gordon, Evan Fournier, Nikola Vucevic, maybe Elfrid Payton — but has underachieved. There were questions about the culture and a lack of accountability, and that blame ultimately fell on GM Rob Hennigan and he was let go. Frank Vogel is locked in as

Frank Vogel is locked in as coach, so how well Weltman and Vogel work together — and share a vision — will be key.

Weltman is well-respected around the league. He spent five seasons as an assistant GM in Milwaukee, and has been with the Raptors since 2013 as that team has risen up the Eastern Conference standings and had its best run in franchise history. He also has worked with the Clippers and in Denver. He’s been one of those guys expected to get a chance in the big chair for a few years now.

He’s got it, and it’s an interesting challenge in Orlando.