SHENZHEN, China — Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr was happy to be back running practice on Wednesday after missing his team’s charter flight to China because of a passport issue.
“I ended up getting maybe the better end of the bargain,” Kerr said before Wednesday’s practice. “The NBA took care of me and put me on a first-class flight. Got a lot of sleep. All’s well that ends well.”
Kerr’s passport, which was delayed in processing through no fault of his own or the Warriors, forced the 52-year-old coach to take a commercial flight that landed safely on Tuesday morning local time in Hong Kong.
Kerr was happy to meet up with Warriors players and staff members during a tour through Hong Kong, but acknowledged being very disappointed he couldn’t join his team as originally scheduled.
“I was not happy,” he said. “I was not happy. And I was hoping that they could find my passport in time to get me on the team flight, but it didn’t happen. Like I said, it all worked out fine. And I want to thank the NBA for really doing an incredible job of locating my passport, then transporting me to Hong Kong. They did a great job.”
Kerr said he didn’t know he was going to miss the first flight until just after the Warriors’ preseason win over the Denver Nuggets on Saturday night.
“So right after the game in Oakland. I went into my office and Bob [Myers] had this look on his face. [Owner] Joe [Lacob] was in the office. He’s like, “You’re not going to like this.” So, stuff happens.”
Kerr is trying to take the same easygoing approach as the Warriors settle into an unusual preseason schedule. They play the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday in Shenzhen and again on Sunday in Shanghai as part of the NBA Global Games.
“I’m ready to get back to work. It’s weird in the middle of training camp to not have practice for three straight days … It doesn’t matter [what the circumstances are]. It doesn’t matter what it is.
This is our schedule. So I don’t know what everybody else is doing, it makes it a little tougher to have these long travel days, but it’s what it is.”
Also, in the wake of Tuesday’s announcement by the NBA and NBPA that teams in the All-Star Game would be selected by captains and would no longer be divided based solely on conference affiliation, star guard Stephen Curry acknowledged that maybe the time was right for the NBA to re-seed the playoff teams based on record, not on conference ties.
“It’s something to think about,” Curry said. “And obviously I know the league has been thinking about it for a while. They’ve probably been asked that question plenty of times. Obviously you have to worry about logistics and travel, especially in the early rounds of the playoffs. But in a perfect world, obviously that would be a true kind of resemblance on making the regular season valuable, when you have, by record, the 16 best teams. I’m sure there’s reasons it hasn’t happened yet. That’s for the guys that run the league to figure out.”
The chatter surrounding the possibility of re-seeding teams based on record, not conference affiliation, has gained even more steam in recent years as more high-level talent continues shifting into the Western Conference. Kerr noted there were other possibilities the league could ponder as it tries to fix the talent imbalance between the two conferences.
“There’s a lot to discuss there,” Kerr said. “And that’s not the only possible change. They could only have seven teams qualify for the playoffs and have a little tournament for the eight spot. There’s a lot of things that I think are in discussion. But I admire the league’s willingness to seek change for the better.”
Curry is well aware that one of the main reasons so much talent has migrated to the Western Conference is because of how dominant his Warriors have become over the last few years. He knows his group wears a target on its back because of recent success, but he’s not concerned about the perception throughout the league.
“I don’t get into that nonsense,” Curry said. “Because fans can kind of view us how they want to. I hope that when we play people watch and are entertained by how we play. That whole kind of super-villain talk — maybe it’s passed, maybe it hasn’t. It doesn’t really affect how we play on the court, what we try to do when it comes to winning.”
Curry remains buoyed by the belief that his team will still find a way to stay on top, no matter what the league decides to do about seeding in the future. When asked if there was a way any team could beat the Warriors in a seven game series right now, Curry couldn’t help but crack a small smile.
“I can’t give that secret away, can I?” he said. “Every year, no matter how much talent you have or how much success you’ve had the previous year, you have to show up and regain that edge. For us, that’s up to us, that’s something that we can control. And not getting complacent, which I think we can get ahead of, but look at the talent around the league and how teams have kind of re-shifted a little bit, it’s going to be a challenge. It’s nothing that we can just walk through the season and end up back in the Finals. We have to really put our best foot forward every opportunity we get. That’s all we can do.”