SAN FRANCISCO — As the uncertainty surrounding the spread of the coronavirus hovers over the world, Golden State Warriors coach and Team USA assistant Steve Kerr said Tuesday that the staff must plan as if the Tokyo Olympics will go on as scheduled this summer.
Kerr said he has been in contact with Team USA head coach Gregg Popovich in recent days.
“Pop and I have spoken a couple of times over the last week or so,” Kerr said Tuesday during a conference call with reporters. “And everything’s just up in the air. There’s no sense of whether things are going to be delayed or anything. We’re all kind of sitting here wondering what’s going to happen, and so is the rest of the world. We’re just going to plan as if this is going to happen, and we’re going to try and put together a roster, and that’s all we can do.”
The leader of the IOC’s coordination commission for the Tokyo Olympics said this week that he remains confident that the event will go ahead as scheduled.
As of now, no Warriors players have shown any symptoms, and none has been tested. Warriors general manager Bob Myers noted that three players have left the Bay Area but did not identify which players.
Kerr noted that he and his family drove to their offseason home in San Diego, and he is filling his time watching tape to prepare for the 2020 draft.
“I’m watching tape of some of our draft prospects, and it’s something that I haven’t been able to do much of over the years, and I hadn’t done any of it this year,” Kerr said. “So I’m trying to use that time to get a feel for guys who are on our list for the draft coming up.”
Myers said he was on a conference call with “10 or 11” general managers Monday as they tried to figure out next steps for their teams. The difference for the Warriors is that the organization is shut down because of a “shelter in place” ordinance in San Francisco.
“What are their protocols?” Myers said. “What are they doing? How are they reacting to the league’s memos? We’re getting memos almost on a daily basis. We’re in a little bit of a different spot because we’re shut down.”
As the coach of a team that came into the year having gone to five straight NBA Finals, Kerr feels empathy for teams that might not have a chance to compete for a championship because of the outbreak.
“To be honest, I feel really sorry for the teams [that] are really in the thick of the race and the hunt,” Kerr said. “The teams that have a chance to make a run. We’re not in that position this year, and so being in limbo, even though it’s no fun, for us we’re just sort of waiting to hear what the league has to say, and we’ll follow instructions, but it must be incredibly frustrating for all those teams that have a shot this year, and they’re wondering if things are even going to start back up again.”
On a business-related note, Myers is confident that the deadline to use Andre Iguodala’s $17.2 million trade exception, which was July 7, will be pushed back whenever the league determines its new schedule.
“I don’t know this, but maybe similar to a post-lockout moratorium period where you’re kind of hit with these dates,” Myers said. “I think it will crunch everything into a tighter space. Sometimes that’s good. Sometimes when you’re forced to make decisions in a five-day window instead of a three-week window, it’s still possible to do. It just has to be done faster.
“Me personally, I’m not crying about free agency or the draft or whatever happens right now. Maybe I’ll get there. Probably will. But right now it’s more about let’s just stay healthy, let’s try to do the right thing, try to remember our place in all this. And when the work deadlines come, and we’re told we can do what we do, we don’t complain about that, either.”
Both Myers and Kerr said they are staying in daily contact with players and staff members as best they can.
“Everybody’s in a holding pattern,” Kerr said. “Just like the rest of the world seems to be.”