Steve Kerr39s Warriors extension is a sign of continuity ending

Steve Kerr's Warriors extension is a sign of continuity, ending 'Last Dance' chatter – NBC Sports Bay Area & California

SAN FRANCISCO – Ninety minutes before Friday night's game against the Charlotte Hornets, Warriors coach Steve Kerr, standing in the hallway outside the team's locker room at Chase Center, burst out laughing at a comment I made.

The comment had nothing to do with his contract status.

His laugh certainly could have been.

Kerr, 58, had already agreed to a two-year contract extension that would make him the highest-paid coach in the NBA: $35 million, valid through the 2025-26 season. The news was first reported by ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and confirmed by NBC Sports Bay Area.

When asked for comment after the 97-84 win over the Hornets, Kerr declined but offered a reasonable explanation:

“Nothing has been signed yet, so Raymond has asked me to hold off on commenting on anything until an actual contract is signed,” Kerr said, referring to Raymond Ridder, the team's senior vice president of communications.

Kerr grinned as he said that, and his grin widened as he answered the next question, which was about how he felt about his future with the Warriors.

“Really good,” Kerr said.

This step is, above all, an investment in the team's desire for continuity. Golden State CEO Joe Lacob appreciates it and general manager Mike Dunleavy understands its importance.

Continuity has also served the Warriors well since the Lacob-led ownership group took over in 2010. Only two coaches were hired: Mark Jackson and then Kerr. The team has a franchise player, Curry, who has been teammates with Thompson and Green since 2012.

With average annual earnings of $17.5 million per season, Kerr's new contract puts him behind San Antonio Spurs Hall of Fame coach and team president Gregg Popovich, who signed a new five-year deal last summer.

Kerr's deal puts a decisive end to the “Last Dance” murmurs about Golden State this season. It also quiets whispers that Lacob was getting nervous about paying the league's top payroll for a mediocre product and that he might be looking for a change.

The first half of this season was among the most tumultuous of his decade with the Warriors, from the constant search for effective lineups and rotations to multiple suspensions for Green to Thompson's inconsistency and frustrations in a contract year.

But Kerr has consistently said he wants to continue coaching beyond this season. The proof is this expansion.

The extension aligns Kerr's future with the franchise beyond the final guaranteed year of Green's contract as well as the length of the team's contract with superstar Stephen Curry. Green has a player option for 2026-27.

Green wasn't surprised by the news.

“I know Joe would do the right thing,” he said. “He’s done nothing but build that trust with us to know that he’s going to do the right thing and take care of those who have taken care of this organization.”

The Warriors won four championships in Kerr's first eight seasons, most recently a victory over the Boston Celtics in 2022. Since Kerr's arrival in 2014, Golden State – with four playoff appearances in the last 20 years – has appeared in five NBA Finals and made the postseason seven times.

Kerr's career record was 501-264 through Thursday. His .665 winning percentage is the all-time leader among all active coaches who have spent at least two seasons on the bench.

That brings us to the comment that made Kerr laugh before the game.

Last week, he celebrated his 500th career win in Golden State's final game before the All-Star break against the Jazz, becoming the sixth active coach to reach the milestone.

I told him that I jokingly wondered if, to celebrate, he might try to go through 500 bottles of his favorite beer during the six-day All-Star break.

“No,” Kerr said after regaining his composure. “That was college.”

He did, however, admit to drinking his share of champagne during the break. Given his new security and future wealth, this makes perfect sense.

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