It's official. Steve Kerr is back coaching the Golden State Warriors for the first time since last season, and what does he do to commemorate it? Why, troll his former mentor and serious rival Gregg Popovich, of course.
After missing more than half of the 2015-16 season due to spinal surgery complications—where basically his own back poisoned him—Kerr's appearance will effectively appropriate Warriors assistant coach Luke Walton's record of 39-4, thus stealing Walton's spot as the winningest coach in the league right before the All Star break. The NBA's record-holding rules are stupid like that.
This would normally result in Kerr coaching the All Star Game, but there's a rule that standing in the way called the "Riley Rule"—not named after Steph Curry's daughter, but rather the Lakers head coach Pat Riley who coached the All Stars eight times in nine seasons. The rule states that no coach is allowed to lead an All-Star team two years in a row, you know, just to spice it up.
But—because the rule says that it's the coach, and not the team who can't repeat two years in a row—Walton seemed slated to take the job. Since Kerr is returning, however, now the job goes to the coach with the second-best record: the Spurs' Gregg Popovich.
Whew, that was complicated. Anyway, that all is to say that Kerr's return is making Pop the guy for the 2016 All Star game in Toronto. And so to commemorate his return to the court, Kerr decided to mess with the old Spurs coach:
That's an elite troll. Given the fact that the Spurs are the Warriors greatest challenge (and play them for the first time Monday), giving Popovich a little less vacation time seems like the perfect devious strategy. More rest time for Kerr and Walton, and the Warriors get to keep their better record.