Marc J. Spears

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Marc Spears covers the NBA for Yahoo! Sports. He previously has written for the Boston Globe and Denver Post.

  • Steve Kerr set to return to coach Warriors

    Steve Kerr during the Warriors' ring ceremony in October. (Getty)Steve Kerr during the Warriors' ring ceremony in October. (Getty)Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr will return to coach the team for the first time this season against the Indiana Pacers on Friday night after undergoing two offseason back surgeries.

    Kerr had surgery to repair a ruptured disc in late July, a follow-up procedure in early September and was hampered by severe headaches as he recovered. He opted to take a leave of absence Oct. 1 as Warriors training camp was beginning.

    “As a friend, I am thrilled he’s back. It’s been an arduous road for him,” Warriors general manager Bob Myers told Yahoo Sports about Kerr.

    Optimism grew that Kerr would return to the bench after he attended the Warriors’ two-game road trip to Cleveland and Chicago this week.

    Golden State went an NBA-best 39-4, the second-best start in league history, under the direction of interim head coach Luke Walton.

    "I thought maybe he’d be 40-3. But 39-4, I’ll have to settle for that," Kerr told reporters at shootaround Friday morning.

    Walton was named the NBA Coach of the

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  • Kobe Bryant recalls Michael Jordan as final All-Star Game honor approaches

    A nearly 40-year-old Michael Jordan told Kobe Bryant not to take it easy on him during Jordan’s final NBA All-Star Game in 2003. Now nearly 13 years later, Bryant has the same message for his NBA colleagues before his All-Star Game swan song.

    Jordan and Kobe apparently talked a lot before and during Jordan's final All-Star Game. (Getty)Jordan and Kobe apparently talked a lot before and during Jordan's final All-Star Game. (Getty)"One thing that Michael said was, ‘Just because it’s my last All-Star Game, I don’t want you to come out there going soft on me,' " Bryant recently told Yahoo Sports. " 'I want you to play me how you would normally play me.' I was like, 'Mike, what do you know about me that would lead you to tell me that?' We both got a good laugh out of that.

    “The thing I remember most was the competition. Those are the things that I will always cherish. Hopefully, they will come out and compete as always this year. Those are the things I will always carry with me. Just true competition.”

    The NBA will name its starters Thursday for the 2016 NBA All-Star Game in Toronto. Bryant is expected to be the leading vote getter by a landslide thanks to fan voting

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  • USA Basketball announces 30 finalists for 2016 Olympic roster

    USA Basketball isn't certain LeBron James will play on the 2016 team. (Getty)USA Basketball isn't certain LeBron James will play on the 2016 team. (Getty)Featuring LeBron James, Stephen Curry and four additional Golden State Warriors, USA Basketball on Monday announced its 30 finalists for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team roster.

    The 30-man list includes NBA players from 17 teams who have won 29 Olympic or FIBA Basketball World Cup gold medals, as well as nine members of the gold-medal-winning 2012 London Olympic team. USA Basketball is expected to name its 12-man roster by late June, a source told Yahoo Sports. The 2016 Summer Olympic Games will be held Aug. 5-21 in Rio de Janeiro.

    "Obviously, selecting the official roster of 12 players for the Olympics in 2016 will be a very, very difficult process,” USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said in a statement. “As has been the case with past USA Basketball teams, the goal once again is to select the very best team possible to represent the United States.”

    James and fellow three-time Olympic gold medalist Carmelo Anthony are on the 30-man list. USA Basketball is hopeful but

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  • Bulls C Joakim Noah to have shoulder surgery, expected to be out 4-6 months

    Chicago's Joakim Noah (13) reacts after dislocating his shoulder against the Dallas Mavericks. (USA Today)Chicago's Joakim Noah (13) reacts after dislocating his shoulder against the Dallas Mavericks. (USA Today)

    Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah is expected to be out four to six months after suffering a dislocated left shoulder that will require surgery.

    Noah suffered the injury on Friday against the Dallas Mavericks.

    The 6-foot-11, 232-pounder is averaging a career-low 4.3 points and 8.8 rebounds as a reserve for the Bulls this season under first-year coach Fred Hoiberg. Noah is expected to have a full recovery and his surgery date has not been set yet.

  • Kendrick Perkins on struggling Pelicans: ‘This is not what I signed up for’

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. – After being an NBA champion, a member of three NBA Finals teams and playing with the likes of Kevin Garnett, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Paul Pierce and Russell Westbrook, Kendrick Perkins is accustomed to maximum effort and a commitment to winning.

    So far in his first season with the New Orleans Pelicans, the veteran center has been disappointed with some teammates’ effort.

    “It’s very disappointing. At the end of the day, this is not what I signed up for,” Perkins told Yahoo Sports before Wednesday’s win against the Sacramento Kings. “I signed up after I looked from the outside, coming in to a good young team that has been making strides in the right direction. We got real comfortable. We ain’t got long to make a push.

    “At this point in time, we are all just searching to find the right lineups and who is going to come out and compete at a high level every night. That’s been our main problem before anything else. We just come out too many nights and don’t compete

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  • Baron Davis to sign D-League contract

    Two-time NBA All-Star guard Baron Davis is expected to sign a contract with the NBA's Development League by Wednesday, his agent Todd Ramasar told Yahoo Sports.

    Baron Davis last played in the NBA for the Knicks in the 2011-12 season. (AP)Baron Davis last played in the NBA for the Knicks in the 2011-12 season. (AP)Davis, 36, decided over the weekend that he would sign a contract to join the D-League after contemplating the move for two years. Ramasar said that Davis' wife recently gave birth to their second child, which pushed his hopes of joining the D-League until after Jan. 20. The Dallas Mavericks, who have been known to add NBA veterans to the roster of their D-League affiliate, the Texas Legends, worked out Davis in Los Angeles last Sunday, Ramasar said.

    "He is looking forward to playing in the D-League and showing teams what he is capable of," Ramasar told Yahoo Sports. "He feels that the timing is right. More than anything Baron has put in the training and is confident in his body. He feels he is ready to return to the NBA."

    Davis last played in the NBA during the 2011-12 season with the New York Knicks before tearing ligaments

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  • How LeBron James helped Damon Jones get his start in coaching

    SANTA CRUZ, Calif. – Former NBA player Damon Jones put LeBron James through pregame shooting workouts during last year’s NBA Finals. Months later, Jones is now working out NBA Development League players as an assistant coach with the Canton Charge.

    After initially taking a minor-league route to the NBA as a player, Jones is now taking the D-League route in hopes of moving up the coaching ladder.

    Damon Jones (L) and LeBron James during their days playing together with the Cavs. (AP)Damon Jones (L) and LeBron James during their days playing together with the Cavs. (AP)“We’re not far away from each other. Canton is 45 minutes away from Cleveland,” Jones said of James. “He’s supportive. He knows the basketball mind I have, and he’s confident I can get the job done. He says, ‘Hey, just go down there and do your thing.’ “

    Jones and James became close friends when both were with the Cavaliers from 2005-08. Jones’ 11-year NBA career with 10 teams ended after playing with the Milwaukee Bucks during the 2008-09 season. Jones remained close with James after his NBA days concluded.

    Upon James’ return to Cleveland in 2014, he helped a retired Jones land a job as his

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  • Nets fire coach Lionel Hollins, reassign GM Billy King

    The Brooklyn Nets fired head coach Lionel Hollins and reassigned general manager Billy King on Sunday.

    The Nets currently have a 10-27 record that ranks second-worst in the Eastern Conference after making the playoffs last season. Assistant coach Tony Brown will be the Nets' interim coach for the remainder of the season. The general manager position will remain open until a replacement is named.

    Lionel Hollins was in his second season as coach of the Nets. (AP)Lionel Hollins was in his second season as coach of the Nets. (AP)"After careful consideration, I've concluded that it's time for a fresh start and a new vision for the direction of the team," Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov said in a statement. "By making this decision now, it enables our organization to use the rest of the season to diligently evaluate candidates with proven track records. It's clear from our current state of affairs that we need new leadership.

    "With the right basketball management and coach in place, we are going to create a winning culture and identity and give Brooklyn a team that it can be proud of and enjoy watching. We have learned a

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  • Meet the ‘Crash Davises’ of the NBA Development league

    Maurice Baker (L) has played 355 D-League games. (Getty)Maurice Baker (L) has played 355 D-League games. (Getty)SANTA CRUZ, Calif. – The 1988 sports comedy “Bull Durham” centered on veteran catcher Crash Davis, a longtime minor leaguer who attempted to teach a promising yet immature pitcher about the nuances of baseball in preparation for a career in the majors. Davis played so long, he broke the minor league record for career home runs.

    The NBA Development League has a pair of elder statesmen in Maurice Baker and Renaldo Major, who have hung around to play a combined 702 games in the basketball minor league.

    “You can say we are the Crash Davises of the D-League, and I love that terminology,” Major, 33, said. “Even though I am an old bull, I still feel like I can keep up with these guys. My time is coming down to an end, and I want to help as many guys as I can before it’s over with. But I also want to show them I can compete and play at a high level.”

    Baker is expected to extend his D-League record for games played to 356 on Friday night, when his Santa Cruz Warriors play the Iowa Energy.

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  • Jimmer Fredette working to get back to the NBA

    SANTA CRUZ, Calif. – With time running out, Jimmer Fredette did a pirouette atop the 3-point line and hoisted a potentially game-winning shot. The impartial, sparse crowd groaned in disappointment as the former college basketball star’s shot rattled in and out, and his Westchester Knicks lost to the Texas Legends in the D-League Showcase on Wednesday.

    Jimmer Fredette is eager to return to the NBA. (AP)Jimmer Fredette is eager to return to the NBA. (AP)The NBA Development League is a long way from the former lottery pick’s beginning in the NBA. But with a chance to be his old scoring self again, Fredette is enjoying playing in the NBA’s minor league.

    “It wasn’t necessarily a letdown because I knew I had to do some things to get onto a team where I can thrive,” Fredette told Yahoo Sports about being in the D-League. “That wasn’t going to be the case at the beginning of the year if you get to that 15th roster spot and then you sit there and don’t play much. It was kind of a breath of fresh air to go out and know you’re going to get some playing time,

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