Steve Kerr prepares for new challenges

NBA analyst and 15-year veteran Steve Kerr was a guest on Cat Tracks On the Air Monday night. During his conversation with John Schuster and Jim Donovan, Kerr talked about life after his playing days and his future with the new purchasing wing of the Phoenix Suns.

Jim Donovan: How is it watching all the Wildcats, especially Richard Jefferson who had a 30-point in the New Jersey game against Detroit?

Kerr: "I can't lie. I pull for all the UA guys, especially Richard. He's such a great guy, such a good guy to talk to, a nice person. It's been a lot of fun over the years seeing the different Wildcats in the League. We always get together before the games and wish each other well, for sure."

Donovan: It was just a year ago you were knocking the Dallas Mavericks out of the playoffs. Now that a year has passed, how does it feel watching the playoffs from the sidelines?

Kerr: "It's a lot different. Most of the season I really didn't miss the game a whole lot. I missed my buddies on the Spurs, and I missed the camaraderie and the routine, but I didn't miss the games that much. Of course, I didn't play a whole lot last year, so I didn't miss sitting on the bench. It know it was the right time to retire because physically I didn't have a whole lot left, but I have to admit during the playoffs I've been a little jealous of those guys out there. It's the best time of year, and I've had some flashbacks to last year's playoffs."

John Schuster: At the tail end of your NBA career, did you think you might want to pursue something basketball related?

Kerr: "I knew I was going to stay in the game in some capacity. I wasn't sure what, I'm still not. I wasn't sure whether I was going to be involved in coaching, or management, or in broadcasting. I'll be involved in this game for a long time."

Schuster: What was the timeline for the purchase of the Phoenix Suns?

"The ownership transition happens three years from now. I was introduced to (Robert Sarver) by Lute Olson. Until that, he has a say in matters, and veto powers over decisions made by Jerry and Brian Colangelo. I'll basically advise Robert on any basketball matters that come up. I'm still going to do my TNT (broadcasting) job, and I'm not going to be employed by the Suns, but I'll basically be a consultant. When we move forward, I'll have a better idea what my involvement will be. I think my role will evolve and we'll see where it all takes us. I will certainly throw my two cents into Robert, but I'm not the one making the decisions. That's Brian Colangelo. We'll see where everything goes, and hopefully this team does really well over the next couple years and the city of Phoenix gets excited about the team again. Hopefully we'll get it rolling."

Schuster: Is there a formula for success in the NBA?

Kerr: "I would tell him to trade for Tim Duncan if he can get him. I've been really lucky. I've been in some real strong organizations with the Bulls and Spurs. I've been lucky. I think the common thread is a strong foundation of character. You have to have good guys who are willing to play together, and play hard, and compete night in and night out. To win the whole thing you have to have a superstar or two. If you don't you're not going to be able to win at that level, but it's important to have a foundation of guys who care about the game and work at it. If you can get enough guys like that in place and add that superstar who also embodies that attitude, then you have a championship level squad."

Schuster: What is the importance of the role player?

Kerr: "I've always felt role players don't exist on bad teams. It's impossible to fill a role on a team that loses 60 games, because then nobody cares. It's important to get superstars in place and then add guys who might otherwise get overlooked, and they can certainly fill important roles."

Donovan: Is there any way to see a greater Suns presence in Tucson?

Kerr: "Well, the Suns have played some exhibition games down there when some former UA players were there, but the games did not draw that well. For whatever reason, Tucson has not had a major interest in the Phoenix Suns. Hopefully that will change, but nobody wants to watch an exhibition game. Hopefully we can get a regular season game down there, but that's probably not going to happen."

Schuster: Are the Suns always going to be a Phoenix-only phenomena?

Kerr: "I think we can get them involved, especially if we win. When you win, people get more excited about the team, and I think that would be the case for Tucson. We're undergoing some major changes at America West. It should be a much more desirable place to be, and I think the experience will be that much better. For fans to come up from Tucson, especially if the team is winning, will help to draw fans."

Donovan: There's a lot of cap room. Is there anybody catching your eyes the Suns might want to go after?

Kerr: "Without naming any names, that would be tampering, I think the Suns need some veteran leadership. They have a quality core, but need some leadership to tie it all together."

Schuster: The way the NBA moves, you can go from pretty bad to pretty good pretty fast.

Kerr: "Yeah, you can. Denver is certainly an indication of that. Last year, I think they won 17 games, and this year they were in the playoffs. You have to get a little lucky, and hopefully that will happen for us in the lottery. It would be nice to get a great player, but it doesn't look like there's someone like LeBron (James) or (Carmelo) Anthony out there. You can turn it around pretty quickly in this league with a couple good moves and a little bit of luck, so hopefully the Suns will be able to do that."

Donovan: Are you ready for the UA commencement speech this weekend?

Kerr: "I'm used to talking to people about basketball but standing in front of all the graduates and their families and offer the commencement address, that's a pretty intimidating task."

Cat Tracks on the Air is broadcast every Monday from 5-7 pm on FoxSports Radio 1290 AM. Jim Donovan is the host of the Big Show, noon to three weekdays on the same station.

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