Golden State Warriors first-year coach Keith Smart had a long talk with Al Thornton
after the team’s final shootaround of the season Wednesday morning. The
topic: what the forward needs to work on this summer to become a better
player. The Warriors hope to re-sign Thornton in free agency.
What they haven’t answered yet is whether Smart will be back to coach him.
The Warriors rewarded general manager Larry Riley with a contract
extension Thursday and also hired a new assistant GM in former player
agent Bob Myers. But team officials didn’t provide any update on the
status of Smart, who has a team option for next season on his contract.After taking over for Don Nelson this season, Smart led the Warriors to 36 victories, 10 more than the team had a year ago. The players like Smart, who is close to star guard Monta Ellis(notes), and it would be tough to replace him with a third coach in three seasons in what could be a lockout-shortened season.
An NBA source, however, told Yahoo! Sports that Warriors ownership is in no rush to make a decision on Smart. It also will be interesting to see if the new owners feel the need to make a splash with a new coach.
“We know coach Smart,” Warriors guard Stephen Curry(notes) said. “We know his system, what he’s trying to do and how much passion he has to get our team to that next level. He’s been here for eight years and he’s tired of losing. He’s going to do whatever it takes to get us over that hump.