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Warriors' Jonathan Kuminga Meets With Steve Kerr, Gets Season-high Minutes: 'I Love It Here' | TheSportsDay Warriors' Jonathan Kuminga Meets With Steve Kerr, Gets Season-high Minutes: 'I Love It Here' | TheSportsDay

Warriors' Jonathan Kuminga meets with Steve Kerr, gets season-high minutes: 'I love it here'

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Golden State Warriors forward Jonathan Kuminga played a season-high 36 minutes in Friday’s 113-109 win over the Detroit Pistons. But first, he and head coach Steve Kerr had to address the elephant in the room.

The 21-year-old was benched for the entire fourth quarter of a loss to the Denver Nuggets on Thursday. He scored 16 points in 19 minutes. Kerr attempted to explain his closing lineup decision immediately after the defeat, something he’s done a few times this season.

The next morning, a report from The Athletic said Thursday’s benching was “the last straw” for a frustrated Kuminga, who no longer believed Kerr had his best interest at heart.

Friday, Kuminga played the entire fourth quarter and recorded 11 points and six rebounds in the win over the 3-32 Pistons. Somewhere in between the back-to-back games, the 2021 lottery pick had an opportunity to meet with Kerr and hash things out.

“I think it went really well,” Kuminga said of his conversation with Kerr. “I think it was just all about better understanding of each other.”

The Warriors selected Kuminga with the No. 7 overall pick in the draft three years ago, Since then, he has developed into a consistent starter amid veteran Draymond Green’s suspension.

Following Friday’s outing, he emphasized the importance of addressing things immediately and expressed a new comfort with the idea of approaching Kerr with issues.

“I love it here,” Kuminga said. “I feel like when you look at all the ups and downs, that will confuse a lot of people. But I know Steve [Kerr] believes in me. I know he trusts me at this point. It was just more about communication and better understanding. It wasn’t no beef. None of that. Scratch whatever happens. It’s the past. Move on with better understanding and hoping we all can work with each other and help this team and leave everything in the past.”

When Kerr addressed reporters, he made it clear that Kuminga isn’t alone or unwarranted in his desire to play.

“It’s a difficult situation because every player naturally has his own goals, his own dreams,” Kerr said Friday. “Everybody wants to flourish. Everybody wants to blossom. I have very difficult decisions to make each and every night. JK is a young player who is growing. He’s getting better. It’s why he’s in the starting lineup.”

October 20, 2023; San Francisco, California, USA; Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr (right) talks to forward Jonathan Kuminga (00) during the third quarter against the San Antonio Spurs at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY SportsOctober 20, 2023; San Francisco, California, USA; Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr (right) talks to forward Jonathan Kuminga (00) during the third quarter against the San Antonio Spurs at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr (right) met with forward Jonathan Kuminga (00) after a report surfaced about his frustrations. (Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)

While Kerr didn’t condemn Kuminga for the media leak, Warriors star Stephen Curry noted the situation could have played out differently.

“The ultimate challenge for anybody in this league is to not let the narrative be told for you and you not be able to address that with your own voice or directly with coach or whatever the case is,” Curry said after Friday’s win.

Still, the 2022 Finals MVP empathized with his teammate. Curry reflected on his early career moments after joining the Warriors as the No. 7 pick of the 2009 NBA Draft.

“I’ve been there before,” Curry said of Kuminga’s situation. “He’s not wrong for being upset and pissed off, wanting to play. Probably should’ve played. Not probably,” Curry said. “I’m just proud of the way he — we talked about it before the game. Go out and play. Go hoop. Be a professional. And that’s what he did.”

With one problem solved, Friday introduced another challenge for the Warriors: the loss of Chris Paul. The starter fractured his hand in a collision with Pistons guard Jaden Ivey. Having appeared in the opening lineup for 10 of the Warriors’ 31 game’s this season, Paul will need to be replaced in the rotation. Gary Payton II is also out several weeks with a hamstring injury as the team awaits Green’s return.

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