Steve Kerr Admits Warriors’ Summer Steal Is Only 1-Year Rental

Steve Kerr, Warriors

Getty Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr stands on the side of the court during their preseason game against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr is resigned to the fact that stretch big Dario Saric will bolt them next summer.

“He knew this was a year where he slipped through the cracks free agency-wise and needed to be in a good spot to show what he can do,” Kerr said of Saric. “This is definitely the spot. He’s playing so well. He’s clearly a player who’s going to command a big salary next summer.”

Saric is outplaying his veteran minimum contract this season for the Warriors.

The Croatian big man is averaging 10.2 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 2.1 assists on 43/45/83 shooting this season.

More impressively, over his last six games, the 6-foot-10 Saric put up big numbers while holding down the fort for the suspended Draymond Green. He averaged 15.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.2 assists while shooting 48.4% overall and 42.4% from downtown during that stretch.

“We expected to play him a lot, just because he was such a great fit,” Kerr said. “We watched him with Chris [Paul] in Phoenix a couple of years ago and he’s a very different player from Draymond to [Kevon Looney]. He made so much sense as a fit in our roster. We gave him a hard pitch. He asked me ‘How much am I going to play, or am I going to play?'”

Saric got his wish with the Warriors as a valuable piece off the bench.

But as a projected luxury team next year, the Warriors will be unable to use the mid-level exception. They are likely to lose Saric the way they lost Donte DiVincenzo last summer.

DiVincenzo signed with the New York Knicks for the midlevel exception.

Draymond Green Set to Return

It will be interesting to see how Draymond Green’s return will impact Saric’s minutes. Kerr plans to play Green heavy minutes when he returns to the lineup on Tuesday at Sacramento.

Green served the final game of his five-game suspension for putting a choke hold on Rudy Gobert during Friday’s 118-112 win over the San Antonio Spurs.

“He’s been working hard with Rick [Celebrini]. He traveled to Phoenix with us, played 3-on-3, I believe he scrimmaged [Friday]—I’m not positive about that,” Kerr said via Anthony Slater of The Athletic. “But he’s been really putting a ton of work in, so hopefully he’ll be fine and ready to play a lot of minutes on Tuesday.”

Stephen Curry Excited for Draymond Green’s Return

Stephen Curry, who was out when Green was ejected leading to his suspension, is excited for Green’s return.

“I know Draymond’s excited to be back,” Stephen Curry told reporters after Friday’s win. “We’re excited to have him. We need him.”

But he quickly tempered expectations.

“Draymond being back helps a lot not just because of what he does defensively but the way he communicates, but it won’t solve everything,” Curry said. “So, we have to address those especially going to Sacramento. We know how [potent] their offense is.”

The Warriors have the Kings’ numbers. They beat them 122-114 during their first meeting of the season on October 27. Then they repeated on November 1, but barely won thanks to Klay Thompson’s game-winner. Kings’ top player De’Aaron Fox missed that game with an injury.


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