- Steve Kerr got dinner with Gregg Popovich days before the NBA Finals but said that he did not ask about Kawhi Leonard, a former San Antonio Spur.
- Kerr said he and Popovich talked about their USA Basketball commitment this summer over a glass of wine, and that it would be unlike Popovich to talk poorly about Leonard.
- Kerr did admit he has leaned on Popovich and former NBA coach Phil Jackson for advice.
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Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr and San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich were spotted having dinner in the Bay Area just days before the Finals, but according to Kerr, they didn’t talk about the upcoming series.
Kerr said on ESPN’s “The Jump” that Popovich has a place in San Francisco that he visits in the offseason, so he and Kerr had dinner to talk about their USA Basketball commitment this summer.
When asked if Kawhi Leonard came up in conversation, Kerr simply said “no.” ESPN’s Rachel Nichols asked Kerr how Leonard, a former Spur, and the Warriors’ Finals opponent, didn’t come up, and Kerr said Popovich is not one to discuss former players – particularly in a negative light since Leonard asked to be traded from the Spurs.
“Pop is an amazing guy. He really is,” Kerr said. “He loves the game so much. He has these principles, and he’s not a guy who’s gonna say, ‘Hey, I’m angry at Kawhi and here’s how to’ – that’s not Pop.
“Pop is, let’s have a glass of wine and let’s talk about this summer and let’s have dinner and congrats on making the Finals.”
Kerr added that he doesn’t get to “pitch in” with the wine order. Popovich is a known wine connoisseur.
Kerr did say that he has gone to Popovich and Phil Jackson, his coaching mentors before to ask questions.
“I’ve called him when they were out of the playoffs and we were still in it. I’ve called him on occasion and said, What do you think of this or that? I’ve done the same thing with Phil Jackson – send him an email and, What do you think about this or that?
“We all do that. As coaches, we have friends throughout the league and you lean on each other. Maybe you have a friend who just played a team earlier in the playoffs. You call them and say, ‘What do you think?’ So, everybody does that.”
Of course, Kerr likely would not want to admit if he did get advice from Popovich on playing Leonard. Then again, there have been suggestions that Popovich isn’t always so focused on the NBA in his off-time. He once said he was too busy drinking wine and going out to dinner to scout the Spurs’ breakout player in college.
Perhaps we’ll learn more about Kerr and Popovich’s dinner if the Warriors are somehow able to slow down Leonard in Game 1 on Thursday.
Watch Kerr’s answer below:
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