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Golden State’s players mindset: Don’t expect Steve Kerr back during these playoffs

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Steve Kerr has been meeting with experts at Stanford University’s hospital, working to find the location/cause of the leaking spinal fluid that has sidelined him during the playoffs (and bothered him since his multiple back surgeries more than a year ago). There is no timetable for his return, but he could be back during the playoffs if doctors can find the problem.

That optimism is not how the team is looking at these playoffs.

Draymond Green explained the team’s mindset on Monday, a day before they tip-off their second-round series against the Jazz — with Mike Brown filling in for Kerr. From Monte Poole of NBCSports Bay Area.

“I think the way we look at it is plan on him (Kerr) not coming back,” Draymond Green told reporters on Monday. “That’s the way we’re approaching this thing … Mike Brown is our coach, we have the rest of our staff, and that’s who we’re rolling with.

“We’re gonna hope and pray that Steve gets better and can get back. But at the end of the day, his health is more important than anything … we know how bad he wanted to be here and how bad we would love for him to be here. But at the end of the day, he needs to take care of what he has to take care of.

“And whether that’s this year or next year, then you know, we’re ready. But we’re gonna approach this entire thing as ‘Steve isn’t coming back.’ And that’s our approach for this entire playoffs until we hear otherwise…”

Hard to fault the team here, it’s really the only mindset they can have. The team has to focus on the next game, the next level of competition, they can’t be betting on the cavalry to come charging over the hill. Mike Brown was brought in partially for a situation like this — he has coached a team to the NBA Finals, he has handled the big egos of LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, he can guide this team. Steve Kerr was the architect and home building, Brown is just the renter trying not damage the place.

Golden State played the start of last season with Luke Walton in the big chair for Kerr, and they got off to the fastest start in NBA history. This team is used to playing without Kerr. That said, they may miss his ability to push the right buttons when it gets to the conference finals or NBA Finals. I’m not sure Utah can provide that kind of challenge.


Report: Michele Roberts to seek second contract as players’ union head

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Michele Roberts entered the NBA’s player union in a tumultuous time — long-time union president Billy Hunter had been ousted in a rancorous fight, the union felt adrift, and negotiations with the NBA on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement were looming (and players felt they had been screwed in the last CBA, following the lockout).

Roberts, the first female head of a professional sports labor union, settled things down. She cleaned up the union finances and made them more transparent to players, she worked hard to establish relationships with the players, and while she rattled some sabers with the NBA in negotiations, she also worked in a non-combative way with Adam Silver and team (unlike the Billy Hunter/David Stern relationship) and got a deal done the players liked without a lockout or labor mess.

Roberts’ contract with the union is up, but she is going to ask for a new deal — one she likely gets — reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

With an original four-year agreement set to expire in September, Michele Roberts plans to seek a new contract as the executive director of the National Basketball Players Association, sources tell ESPN…

Roberts had strongly considered staying in the NBPA’s executive director role for only the length of her original contract — and expressed that to the union’s senior membership — but has recently decided to pursue a longer tenure, sources said.

NBPA president Chris Paul played a significant part in Roberts’ hiring in July 2014 and he has built a strong working relationship with Roberts.

Roberts also has a good relationship with the star-heavy executive committee of the union — CP3, LeBron James, Stephen Curry and others — making it likely she gets a new deal.

As for what’s next, at the front of that list Roberts is working with Silver and others on reforming the NBA’s one-and-done rule (it was supposed to be part of the CBA negotiations but was too big and complex an issue to fold into that timeline).

Neither the owners or players can opt out of the CBA for four more years (and if neither side does it runs a couple more beyond that) so labor peace will continue in the NBA for a while.

Isaiah Thomas rewarded on epic flop with offensive foul call vs. Heat

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Why do NBA players flop on defense? Because it works.

While there is less of it than there was a couple of years back — when the NBA made a big show about calling more flops and warning (then eventually fining players a pittance) for the move — it still exists. Case in point, this impressive one from Isaiah Thomas of the Lakers on Tyler Johnson of the Heat Friday night (hat tip AminElHassavag at NBA Reddit).

Was there a little contact, sure, but Thomas fell back like he was shot by the second gunman on the grassy knoll. He exaggerated the contact, which is the definition of flopping. Thing is, he got the call (the ref who made the call, from his position, might only have seen the contact and not necessarily the extent of exaggeration, but that’s where the other officials need to step in).

Not that everything went Thomas’ way Friday night.

Suns’ Marquese Chriss, Jared Dudley fined $25,000 each for knocking down Ricky Rubio


Marquese Chriss and Jared Dudley got off light.

There should have been suspensions involved for the cheap shots leveled on Ricky Rubio by the pair during Thursday night’s blowout Jazz win. Instead, the pair were fined $25,000 a piece by the league Saturday for this incident.

Rubio has a knee contusion from the incident Jazz coach Quin Snyder confirmed, however, Rubio is available to play Saturday vs. the Kings.

Dudley was given a flagrant 2 and ejected at the time, Chriss was handed just a flagrant 1 for his escalation. I don’t completely buy Dudley’s explanation here either — I think they were pissed Rubio stepped over a down Chriss to inbound the ball and made him pay for it — but he did own up to it being excessive.

So to be clear, if you throw a haymaker and miss — as Aaron Afflalo did recently — that’s a two-game suspension. But if you throw or body check a player to the ground, that’s just 25 large, no time missed. Players wanting retaliation will take note of that.

Roulette tables are less random than the NBA’s enforcement policies.

Check out Terrance Ferguson’s acrobatic layup vs. Clippers (VIDEO)


It was supposed to be an alley-oop.

However, Raymond Felton‘s pass was low. And not just a little low, a few feet low.

Oklahoma City’s athletic rookie Terrance Ferguson was leaving the ground as the pass was thrown, meaning he had to make an in-air adjustment — and the results were spectacular.