One-on-One With Steve Kerr
Posted: Oct. 8, 2010
After taking over as Suns President of Basketball Operations and GM in 2007, Steve Kerr left the organization this past summer and is now serving as an analyst for TNT. Suns.com caught up with Kerr to see how his transition is going from the front office to the broadcast booth.
Suns.com: So how much of a struggle has it been going from the front office and into surfing?
Kerr: (Laughs) It’s been a real struggle. Let me tell you. It’s been great. I’m real happy to be on TNT. I do miss everybody in Phoenix and the organization. And I know I’ll miss the highs, but I won’t miss the lows. But all in all, I know it was a good decision.
Suns.com: Any second-guessing at all?
Kerr: No. None. The biggest thing for me was the family and being able to spend time with my kids before they're all off to college and running away from home. That part has been great.
Suns.com: That’s not in your character to second-guess, is it? Once you make a decision, don't you close the book on it?
Kerr: Yeah, there’s no point. There’s no point in looking back. I’ve just enjoyed my summer and now I’m ready to get to work with Turner. This is going to be a really exciting season. I’m excited for all of the different storylines and it’s going to be a lot of fun.
Suns.com: What were you champing at the bit to do once you stopped having a day job?
Kerr: I tried to do some things that I haven’t been able to do. I went to England to visit my sister and her family. I took my youngest son over there for a week and visited them. (Her husband is Dutch but teaches at Cambridge University). I traveled a little bit with my oldest son on the AAU circuit. He was playing all summer in Vegas, L.A. and Denver. I watched my daughter play volleyball.
Suns.com: What has been your experience with Lon Babby and what do you think of his decision to expand basketball operations in the area of analytics?
Kerr: I always loved working with Lon and we worked together on Grant Hill’s contracts. I really enjoyed getting to know him and he’s a first-class guy. It would’ve been fun to work with him actually because he’s going to add so much to the organization. That was a great choice. One of the things last year that we felt we needed to improve upon was in the analytics department. We did some of that but we knew that we were probably in a position where we could make some improvements. So I think that it’s the right thing for the organization to do and I know Lon has seen to that and Lance (Blanks), as well. So I think the organization is in good hands with those two.
Suns.com: A lot of people forget that it wasn’t your intention to become the GM of the Suns. Initially, wasn’t your sole involvement with the team just to help broker a deal between Robert Sarver’s group and the former management group?
Kerr: Right. Originally I brokered the deal between Robert and Jerry (Colangelo). I was busy with TNT and I didn’t want to move my family for the fifth time so I didn’t really think much about the general manager position. When Bryan (Colangelo) left and Mike (D’Antoni) was GM – and obviously having a dual role is difficult – Robert asked me to be the GM. At that point I felt ready to make a career change and really help Robert, so I’m glad I did it. It was an unbelievable experience with obviously a lot of ups and downs and I made my share of mistakes. But I also did some things that were positive and I think it was a great few years for me. I was able to get to know a lot of wonderful people within the organization and working with them and enjoying my time there.
Suns.com: Could you see yourself working with a team again someday?
Kerr: I could see myself getting back on the competitive side: either in management or in coaching. That part I really love. I loved the communication with the players and with Alvin (Gentry) and his staff. I thought we had great chemistry. And the camaraderie is something that you miss when you step aside. Once my kids have moved on, I could see myself jumping back in at some point.
Suns.com: Lute Olson once said something along the lines of you being “too smart” to be a coach. With the grind and the pressure of coaching, is there any truth to that?
Kerr: (Laughs) I know it’s a grind and there is a ton of pressure, but on the other hand, it’s a lot different from being a GM too. It’s more pure basketball and developing relationships with the players. With a general manager position, there’s a lot more on the business side of things. Organizationally, there are a lot more responsibilities. So they’re much different jobs.
Suns.com: If you had any regrets or a do-over from your time as GM, what would it be? Now that you’ve had time to reflect on your time with the Suns, is there anything you wish you knew when you started the job that you know now?
Kerr: Sure. Of course. I think that’s always the case. There are always going to be things that you look back on and wish you handled differently. I won’t go into detail because it’s not fair to people, but there were things...
Suns.com: More perks for Suns.com?
Kerr: (Laughs) Exactly. More spots on the plane for Suns.com.
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