LAS VEGAS -- Steve Kerr smiled as he sidestepped a question about whether or not he expected the Warriors to soon complete a trade.
After all, Kerr said, the Thursday evening deadline for the Warriors to use their $9.8 million traded player exception was something to worry about for general manager Bob Myers.
Not the coach.
"I'm coaching here, and if Bob calls me and tells me we're doing something, great," Kerr said Wednesday at Sierra Vista High School, where the Warriors' summer league team held its second day of practices.
Kerr didn't necessarily have to coach the summer squad after being hired in May to replace Mark Jackson, but he decided to wear a whistle around his neck and go to work with the team's first game coming Friday against Charlotte.
Warriors forward Harrison Barnes and center Festus Ezeli after practice praised the former TNT broadcaster's communication skills, which were also put to the test in recent weeks as the rookie coach went out of his way to meet in person with players.
Kerr was on a house-hunting trip when he had lunch in Berkeley with Stephen Curry, who had been out with his wife. Since then, the coach and star guard have played more than one round of golf together.
To see Andrew Bogut, Kerr and his wife, Margot, made the long flight to the center's native Australia. Kerr said Margot connected with Bogut's girlfriend. At one point over lunch, Kerr pulled out a tablet and showed Bogut clips on how the big man might be used in a new system that emphasizes ball movement and includes triangle concepts.
"To me, that's my job," Kerr said. "Coaching is about relationships. It's about connecting with people. It's not about me sitting in the facility drawing up plays.
"I want to meet the families and get to know everybody. It's all part of it. The stronger all these bonds are, the better job I can do, and the more I'll understand them and vice versa."
Barnes, who along with his agent had met with Kerr in Miami, said of his new coach on the practice court: "He knows how to get his point across."
Kerr prepared for that as well. After getting the job, he reached out to Barnes' college coach, North Carolina's Roy Williams, who was a spectator at practice Wednesday. Kerr said he had spoken with many of his players' former coaches and teammates while trying to figure out what made his guys tick and how to reach them.
Kerr's message for the summer league team was a simple one.
"He told us he was going to do his best, and we should do ours pretty much," Ezeli said. "Everybody here has been very receptive of him."
"Andre was the starter last year, and he very well may be this year," Kerr said. "It all depends on combinations and who's coming off the bench. I would say Andre is more of a ballhandler and a playmaker than Harrison. Harrison's probably a little more of a scoring-minded player, so you have to factor all those things in when you decide who's going to start and who's going to come off the bench."
Barnes, who is practicing voluntarily with the Warriors' summer league team even though he won't be playing in games, has said he would like an established role after going from 81 starts as a rookie to 24 last season.
Told of Kerr's comments about the chance to start, Barnes said: "I got caught up in that last year. I'm not really worried about that this year."
"My body was telling me to slow down," Ezeli said.
While Ezeli said he can play and that the discomfort has lessened, Kerr said it's highly doubtful the 6-foot-11 center will be allowed to see action.
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