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Kuminga clears air with Kerr, then contributes to Warriors' win

Kuminga clears air with Kerr, then contributes to Warriors' win originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO -- Having cut his trademark dreadlocks earlier in the day, Warriors forward Jonathan Kuminga stood in front of his locker Friday night brushing his hair and smoothing it out.

“2024, fresh start,” Kuminga said. “Got to keep it clean. Working on my waves.”

Kuminga’s look was different, but his performance on the court against the Detroit Pistons was something fans are becoming accustomed to from the Warriors’ 2022 No. 7 overall draft pick.

The 21-year-old reached double digits in scoring for the 15th consecutive game, tallying 11 points and six rebounds while notching a team-leading plus-16 in the closer-than-it-should-have-been 113-109 win over the Pistons at Chase Center.

But unlike 24 hours earlier, when he spent the entire fourth quarter and crunch time on the bench, Kuminga logged his most playing time of the season (35 minutes and 38 seconds) and didn’t come off the floor at all in the fourth quarter.

This after he and Warriors coach Steve Kerr sat down for a 1-on-1 conversation about his role earlier in the day.

“I thought he played well tonight,” Kerr said. “And he's a young guy and he wants to play. I just told him everybody wants to play and we've got a lot of guys who can play. So every night is going to be a little different. [Tonight] I thought he moved the ball. He guarded both [Cade] Cunningham and [Bojan] Bogdanovich, and he played good.”

A report circulated earlier in the day that Kuminga had lost faith in Kerr and didn’t believe he could reach his full potential under the Warriors’ coach. But Kuminga denied any ill will between the two and said their pregame conversation was more about clearing the air and a general chat about basketball and non-basketball issues.

“I think it went really well,” Kuminga said. “It was just all about a better understanding of each other and more communication. Just us having that conversation today made me comfortable and made him more comfortable.

"Anytime I got something to ask, anything going on, I should just go up to his office, the door is open. I can just go and chill in there and wait for him to come back whenever. That’s what it’s all about, communication every single time something’s going wrong. Communication is the key.”

Even though his playing time against the Pistons was nearly twice what he had against the Nuggets, Kuminga was adamant that playing time wasn’t a topic between he and Kerr.

“I never complained about playing time or things like that,” Kuminga said. “We were just talking about if I do great at something, I should just go back and remind him and let him know, ‘Coach, what do I need to get better at?’ It’s more about communication and better understanding from both of us.”

Kuminga said his frustrations from Thursday didn’t linger, nor did they provide him with extra motivation going into Friday.

“It’s not going to help me, it’s not going to help the team,” Kuminga said. “Every time I’m motivated, I feel I play good, but it’s not just because I didn’t play the fourth quarter last game that I’m going to be more motivated the next day. It’s always there.”

There had been some speculation that Kuminga and his agents might seek a trade after what happened against the Nuggets. But Kuminga insisted he’s comfortable with Golden State.

“I love it here. I got drafted here,” Kuminga said. “There’s all these ups and downs. When you look at the ups and downs, I feel like that’s when it starts confusing people. I know Steve believes in me. I know he trusts me. It was just more about communication and better understanding.

“It was no beef, none of that. You squash what happened, it was the past. We’ll move on [with] a better understanding and hoping we all could work with each other and help this team and leave everything in the past.”

With the way Kuminga has played, the present is very bright, and the future seems a lot more promising.

“Moving forward, it’s really all about what does the team need first and [be] concerned about the rest after,” Kuminga said.

As for his hair, Kuminga plans to grow his dreads back at some point.

When asked if he’d go for dreads as long as teammate Kevon Looney’s, Kuminga smiled.

“Of course,” Kuminga said. “It’s going to take a long time, a very long time.”

Dub Nation doesn't have to wait any longer for Kuminga to prove his value to the Warriors. He’s done for the last month and isn’t showing signs of cooling down anytime soon.

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