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Golden State Secures Steve Kerr For The End Of The Curry Era

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr reacts to a play while standing on the sidelines as guard Stephen Curry watches in the foreground during a game against the Chicago Bulls on January 12, 2024.
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Obscured by the national tragedy of Flaco's passing came the news that Steve Kerr will get to close his coaching career as it began, at the pleasure of the Kingmaker Of King Street: Wardell Stephen Curry.

Kerr's two-year, $35 million contract extension, which will take him to the end of Curry's present deal in 2026, will come as a disappointment to those embittered Golden State Warriors fans who have condemned him for not adhering to the two-track policy that relied upon Jordan Poole and James Wiseman to be the core of the team's post-Curry future. Shows what planning will get you.

Then again, the only Warriors plan that has ever really mattered has been Curry, and the fact that Kerr has been wise enough to recognize that is much of the reason why he will become the third-longest tenured coach currently in the league. For all the temptations of making the Warriors dynasty last forever, being Curry-centric has been, is, and will always be the easiest path.

Besides, it is just as hard not to screw up a good thing as it is to recognize it to begin with. Kerr was the perfect piece to succeed Mark Jackson, the predecessor who saw the Curry-Klay Thompson regime gain its legs and who got fired mostly because he crossed shields with upper management; he updated the offense to make almost everyone as unguardable as Curry through ball movement, navigated the Durant Era, the Everyone Got Hurt Era, the Post-COVID Title Nobody Saw Coming era and now, it would seem, the All-In With Curry Era.

Kerr has found uses in his time for nearly all the 83 players in his charge, and none of those who left prematurely made much of a post-Warrior dent. This doesn't make Kerr a genius, but it does make him a visionary pragmatist. He was lucky to discover Green in the wake of David Lee's injury, he was clever to repurpose Andrew Bogut, he was inspired to see the operational benefits of Shaun Livingston, Gary Payton III, David West, Kevon Looney and dozens more. That trend continued to this year's late-blooming-but-still-properly-fresh Jonathan Kuminga or the Green-level surprise find of Brandon Podziemski. That's how you end up winning the games on the margins that get you a .655 winning percentage, or if you choose to be snippy about the 54 regular-season and playoff games he missed after a mangled back surgery, .636.

Ultimately, though, he is a creature of Curry and to a lesser extent Curry of him, and unlike those of you who like to engage in the Brady versus Belichick debate that causes you to drink alone in too many social situations, nobody cares to engage in the Kerr versus Curry debate. Maybe that's because Kerr has had the good sense never to try to impose his will upon Curry, and Curry has had the good grace not to insist on the full scope of a superstar's prerogatives. They are partners rather than opposite poles, and all the things that could have broken the dynasty haven't because ultimately the secret to the Warriors is that Curry heals all wounds and Kerr does excellent triage.

That's the broad stroke; there are other subtleties throughout the Warrior Decade, and we are probably shorting Thompson and Green their full bouquets, but today is Kerr's payday, and anyone who finds it wrong that at least for the moment he has a higher average annual value with this new deal than either Gregg Popovich or Erik Spoelstra just needs to give it a minute; he won't have the highest AAV for long, especially if LeBron James wants to end his career as a player-coach.

Plus, Kerr's salary next year will still be only 30 percent as much as Curry's, and that seems like a reasonable payroll ratio for contributions made. Everybody is getting what they deserve, and nobody who matters seems too worried that anyone is being either overcompensated or underappreciated. Sparing us that debate alone makes them both worth every dime.

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