The Warriors have made a couple decisions on the composition of their coaching staff for next season, and it’s pretty clear head coach Steve Kerr wants to maintain some continuity.
In the wake of Alvin Gentry’s departure to assume head coaching duties with the New Orleans Pelicans, league sources said Monday that Kerr is set to promote Luke Walton and Jarron Collins.
Kerr confirmed as much in a brief conversation Monday afternoon from Los Angeles, where he was preparing to undergo a procedure to address a herniated disk.
“Yeah, I think we’re going to stay within,” Kerr said. “Luke will move over one seat and Jarron will move up one seat.”
Walton, 35, spent last season – his first as an NBA coach – as the team’s No. 3 assistant and earlier this month served as head coach of the team’s Summer League squad in Las Vegas. He will join veteran assistant Ron Adams as the chief resources for Kerr.
Walton’s work with the players on the roster, as well as his scouting and input, particularly on offense, were enough to impress Kerr, who at season’s end conceded the former Lakers forward was a candidate to replace Gentry.
“Luke is fantastic,” Kerr said last month. “He’s really sharp and he’s got a great way about him. I think Luke is a future head coach in this league. He’s already on the front of the bench, so he’s doing pretty well for himself.”
So much so that, according to league sources, Kerr took no more than a cursory look at candidates from outside the organization.
Collins spent last season, his first in coaching, as a player development coach. He spent 10 years in the NBA and post-retirement spent two years scouting for the Los Angeles Clippers.
Collins, 36, will move into the seat vacated by Walton.
Among those who could end up in the seat vacated by Collins is Kerr’s highly regarded special assistant, Nick U’Ren, who gained fame in the NBA Finals by suggesting Kerr start Andre Iguodala to quicken the pace against the Cavaliers.
Asked who might replace Collins, Kerr said only that he’s considering several candidates within the organization.
Well of course. Rewarding his staff with promotions is just one more lesson that Kerr seems to have learned from his primary mentor, legendary Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.