OAKLAND (AP) — With unsettled contract situations making many of the players’ futures beyond this season uncertain, Warriors coach Steve Kerr is encouraging his team now more than ever to go with the flow, have fun and enjoy the moment.
No pressure, even if the end goal is a three-peat.
Two-time reigning NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant signed a one-plus-one contract that allows him to become a free agent again next summer, while fellow All-Stars Draymond Green and Klay Thompson could be up for extensions.
“Nothing lasts forever in this league, but we’ve always said we want to keep this going as long as we can, and we’re right in the thick of it,” two-time MVP Stephen Curry said.
After two straight titles and three in four seasons, all eyes are on the East Bay once more as training camps begin league-wide.
That’s why Kerr is stressing going for it in what might be the final hurrah for the superstar core of this team. Not that Durant, Green nor Thompson is talking about leaving town.
“We are playing with some house money. We won three of the last four championships. Our place in the history of the league is pretty secure,” Kerr said. “I don’t think our guys should feel a ton of pressure. I think they should feel the importance of trying to do it again, because this may be the last time we have this current iteration of the Warriors, just given all the free agents and the money crunch and everything else. So we don’t know what’s going to happen. So why not just go all out and enjoy every step of the way?”
Oh, you can bet these Warriors won’t be satisfied with anything short of another championship — especially as they play their final season in Oakland before moving into the snazzy new Chase Center next year in San Francisco.
“I mean, I definitely don’t approach it like we’re playing with house money. We do have three championships. They’re all in the past,” Green said. “It’s about approaching each year with that same goal and that same mentality. And the point you get to the point where, ‘Oh, man, we’re just playing house money, we already got it,’ you’re done.
“None of us are ready for this run to come to an end. So we’ve got to continue to approach it like we’ve got zero. And that’s cliche and impossible to do, but you want to try to get as close to that as you possibly can. And that’s my mindset always entering the season.”
A chuckling Curry stood between Green and Thompson during Monday’s media day clearly enjoying himself and all this team has accomplished. The Warriors posed with their three title trophies from the past four seasons.
And why not?
They all know how hard it is to maintain such dominance year after year.
“We have a lot to celebrate. Three titles in the last four years. A chance to add another one in our final season at Oracle. A bunch of free agents next summer,” Kerr said. “A lot could change. We don’t know. Obviously we want to keep this thing going, but at some point you just have to enjoy the moment, enjoy the now because there’s going to be so much speculation as to what’s ahead. Nobody knows what’s ahead.”
While Green understands the business side of basketball and the challenges that come with it, he would like to be in the Bay Area for years to come. The next step is hardly weighing heavily on his mind as practice gets underway.
“I’m confident that I’ll be here for a very long time, so it’s not something I’m going into the season thinking about. Like all that stuff will be taken care of when it’s best for me, when it’s best for the team,” Green said. “I’m not looking at this one-sided like, ‘Oh man, I’ve, got to do what’s right for Draymond.’ It’s a partnership. And it’s a family. And doing the right thing for everyone involved is important.”
Kerr knows his players realize how special a time this is for them and the franchise.
“They really enjoy being around each other. They really enjoy the process,” Kerr said. “And having won several championships, I think they feel like, ‘All right ... we’ve done some damage and let’s keep it rolling,’”