Golden State Warriors Coach Steve Kerr will miss Game 4 of his team’s second-round series against the Memphis Grizzlies after testing positive for the coronavirus and entering the NBA’s health and safety protocols Monday.
Warriors assistant coach Mike Brown, who was hired as head coach of the Sacramento Kings earlier Monday and is set to assume his new job after the playoffs, will replace Kerr. Brown, 52, is in his sixth season as an assistant with the Warriors following head coaching stints with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Lakers.
“I just want to send [Kerr] my best,” Memphis Coach Taylor Jenkins said during his pregame news conference. “Hope he gets healthy very soon [and] rests up. It’s the way of the world right now. Covid is still rampant throughout, so I just want to make sure he’s doing well. I know it’s terrible timing, but hopefully his spirits are up.”
Brown previously served as an interim coach during the 2017 playoffs when Kerr was sidelined with complications from back surgery.
The Warriors are attempting to take a 3-1 series lead over the Grizzlies at San Francisco’s Chase Center on Monday. Grizzlies star Ja Morant will miss Game 4 with a knee injury.
Kerr, who has coached the Warriors to three championships during his eight-year tenure, will be sidelined indefinitely. To return to the bench, Kerr must return two consecutive negative tests that are sampled at least 24 hours apart. Game 5 is set for Wednesday in Memphis. Game 6, if necessary, will be in San Francisco on Friday.
Health experts warned that rising case counts could affect the NBA playoffs. Although the league has avoided any widespread outbreaks in recent weeks, several players — including Los Angeles Clippers forward Paul George, Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine and Grizzlies center Steven Adams — have tested positive in the past month.