OAKLAND, Calif. (TNS) — After helping the Warriors begin an NBA dynasty almost from the moment he arrived, coach Steve Kerr cemented himself as the organization's long-term coach.
With Kerr's original contract expiring after the 2018-19 season, the Warriors and Kerr are finalizing an extension that will make him one of the highest paid NBA coaches, according to ESPN.
The Warriors had anticipated this development for a while.
The Warriors and Kerr revealed in October that they planned to sign an extension this offseason. The Warriors were always firm in their support for Kerr amid the team's string of dominance. And though Kerr has dealt with complications from back surgery in 2015, Warriors general manager Bob Myers previously downplayed that variable factoring into the timing of negotiations. Nonetheless, Kerr did not miss any games in 2017-18 after missing the first 43 games of the 2015-16 season and the first 12 playoff games in 2017.
Both sides downplayed the importance on when they would solidify the deal during the offseason.
"We'll get that done pretty quickly," Kerr said in mid-June before vacationing in Mexico. "I don't think there will be much to it. It should happen relatively quickly."
Once it did, the move further validated the Warriors' warm sentiments for Kerr's role in the Warriors' three NBA title runs in the past four years.
Since replacing Mark Jackson on May 19, 2014, Kerr guided the Warriors to a combined 265-63 record through four seasons in what represents four of the five winningest seasons in franchise history. He helped the Warriors to a 67-15 record in the 2014-15 season, marking a 16-game improvement from 2013-14 and a previous franchise-best record before winning their first NBA title since 1975. Though the Warriors posted an NBA-best record (73-9) in 2016-17 to eclipse the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls (72-10), Golden State squandered a 3-1 NBA Finals lead to Cleveland. The Warriors have since rectified that with Finals wins over the Cavaliers in 2017 (4-1) and in 2018 (4-0).
Kerr has often credited his All-Star-level talent for his success. When the Warriors hired Kerr, he inherited a team that already had Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala. The Warriors then acquired Kevin Durant as a free agent in the 2016 offseason. But the Warriors have often praised Kerr for how he has managed such talent.
They have credited Kerr for elevating his personnel with a ball-movement oriented offense that put more priority on 3-point shooting, spacing and pace. They have praised him for upholding Jackson's success in ensuring the Warriors stay among the best defensive teams in the NBA. They have noted how he has handled players with a commanding and delicate touch, such as convincing Iguodala to accept a bench role and often using a 15-man rotation. Particularly in the 2017-18 season, the Warriors have mostly given positive reviews on how Kerr balanced between showing patience and frustration as they grinded through the 2017-18 season.
"You couldn't locate or find a better individual, I think, on the planet to navigate a team trying to get to the Finals for the fourth year because of who he is, his makeup and how he is unique. He checks so many boxes," Myers said in mid-June about Kerr before noting his 16-year NBA career and five NBA titles he won as a player. "I'm sure if you're around our players and talk to them, they make no bones about that they love playing for him and love going through this journey for them."
The Warriors' front office showed they feel the same way about Kerr with a new extension.