Photo: Santiago Mejia / The Chronicle
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Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr spoke out about the firing of Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton on Friday, saying that the Lakers are “losing one of the best humans in the NBA” in Walton.
Kerr was asked about the firing of Walton, which was announced by Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka on Friday, after the Warriors’ practice in Oakland. Walton was fired after coaching the team to three losing seasons.
“In the NBA you are 100 percent dependent on your circumstances, the strength of your organization, the momentum, the unity, everything has to be in good order,” Kerr said. “Because if it’s not, as we’ve witnessed with the Lakers, there’s going to be casualties and usually the coach is the first one.
“They’re losing one of the best human beings in the NBA. They’re losing a guy who knows the game as good as anybody I’ve ever met. They’re losing somebody who players believe in, players want to play for.”
Walton and Kerr have a lot in common. Both played their college basketball at the University of Arizona. They were both role players on dynastic NBA franchises – Kerr with the Chicago Bulls and San Antonio Spurs and Walton with the Los Angeles Lakers.
And then there was Walton’s gig immediately before he took over as the head coach of the Lakers – assistant coach of the Warriors under Kerr. The season before Walton took over the Lakers, in fact, he assumed head coaching duties of the Warriors while Kerr rehabilitated his back. During Walton’s tenure as Golden State’s interim coach, he led the Dubs to a 24-0 start and a 39-4 record before Kerr returned to the team.
So Kerr, Walton and the Warriors have history, and the Dubs’ leader didn’t back down from sharing how his former assistant coach’s firing hit him, and how Walton’s firing made him grateful for the Warriors’ organization.
“I feel for Luke,” Kerr said. “And I feel fortunate to have a set of circumstances here where we’ve got wonderful people stabilizing our organization everyday. And I’m lucky to be in this position and surrounded by these people ’cause it doesn’t happen often in the NBA.”
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/warriors/article/Steve-Kerr-Luke-Walton-Warriors-Lakers-firing-NBA-13764782.php.