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Keith Smart out as Warriors coach

By Antonio Gonzalez

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, April 27 2011 2:52 p.m. MDT

Smart often took a hardline approach with Curry, even benching the second-year starting point guard late in a few games. Their relationship was never perfect, but Smart was still well liked by players — including Curry — and front-office members until the end.

"I obviously have a great deal of admiration for Keith as both a professional and a friend," Riley said in a statement. "He's dedicated a lot of time, hard work and commitment to this job, not only over the course of the last year as the head coach, but the previous seven years with our organization.

"We're grateful for his contributions and have the utmost respect for him. From our standpoint, however, we feel it is in our best interest as we move forward as an organization and begin to focus and prepare for the future. At this time, we do not have a timetable for hiring a successor. We'll conduct our due diligence and make a good, sound decision when we've identified that individual."

The 46-year-old Smart kept the run-and-fun offense Nelson once perfected, leading to some dazzling outputs and upsets, including a three-game winning streak in April over the Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas and Portland. But the defensive effort was never there, and a six-game losing streak in late March that knocked the Warriors out of postseason contention spelled the end of Smart's tenure.

Smart was drafted by the Warriors 41st overall in 1988. He had been an NBA assistant for a decade before becoming Golden State's coach, although he had a brief stint as the Cleveland Cavaliers' interim head coach for the final 40 games in 2003 after taking over for John Lucas.

AP Sports Writer Janie McCauley contributed to this story.

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