Kerr says understanding the CBA is integral to a team’s success.
(Barry Gossage/NBAE/Getty Images)

Since the advent of fantasy basketball, everybody believes that they can be a GM. Most fans have visions of a man maniacally working deals on the phone and using a staff of MIT grads to crack stats. So in order to dispel all (most) the myths, Suns President of Basketball Operations and GM Steve Kerr told what his days are like.

Legal & Financial
Probably the most difficult thing when you get into this job is really understanding the collective bargaining agreement. It’s easy to know the guidelines, but it’s literally written in legalese so it can be tricky.

Fortunately we have a great staff in (CFO) Jim Pitman, David Griffin and (Sr. Vice President and General Counsel) Jason Rowley to help me. Those guys have a good background with the CBA and they help me to understand the nuances.

That’s the trick in this job. Obviously scouting is very important, but understanding the cap and the rules and trying to create leverage and advantage using the cap is crucial.

And for us, because we’ve had a very high payroll and have been a ‘tax team’ the last couple of years, it’s harder to maneuver through the cap. That’s why we’re anxious to get some of that flexibility; so it’s much easier to make moves.

The downtime comes when we’re winning and everybody is happy. That’s when you can enjoy it for a few minutes. When you’re winning, it’s a really, really fun job.

When you’re losing and your team is unhappy, it can be miserable. Pat Riley said it best, ‘There’s winning and then there’s misery.’ And that’s the truth.

Even though we won our share of games last year, there was a lot of misery. We didn’t make the playoffs and we had a lot of dysfunction and discord. And I’m sure our fans felt the same way.

This year, I’m sleeping a lot better and I feel good about our team and our future. It’s a much more enjoyable year.

Still, losing a close game that we should have won just drives me nuts. That’s where the exercise and stress release comes in. I don’t actually play basketball anymore, and I really miss it. My knees are arthritic after all the years of playing, so I can’t take the pounding on the hardwood any more. But I do play tennis about once a week with a good friend of mine. I play on clay, which helps take the pounding off the knees.

It’s a great diversion for me.

My job goes all-year long, but August is the month that is really quiet in the NBA. Hopefully we’re playing into May, if not June, but then there’s the draft in June, free agency in July and summer league at the end of July.

Once summer league ends and there’s that first week of August, there’s three or four weeks of calm. That’s the one time of year I can really get away, forget about things a bit and spend a lot of time at home.

  • Joel R

    Hello Kerr,

    I am a Die Hard and Avid Suns Fan. In all honesty, we all know the suns have a very small chance to win a championship, but through much tinkering I Have come up with a suggestion for you, which could in all honestly prove to be a fabulous move. Now at first this doesn’t sound very good but can have great future implications. We can trade Leandro Barbosa and Jason Richardson for Tracy Mcgrady. Leandro barbosa And jason richardson don’t appear to have alot of BB IQ and they are constantly making silly mistakes. Now Tracy is a very smart player but A bit of a Diva. Now even if the Mcgrady trade doesn’t work out, he is off the books at over $23 mil next year! Which means we can Sign 2 ELITE FREE AGENTS(if amare opts out) to play with Nash! Perhaps Amare stays and we can sign wade or Lebron, and set the team up for years to come! I know I do not work within the organization(although it would be my dream) but this is a potentially franchise changing decision, and The Rockets would absolutely jump on this deal.

  • Oscar

    Hi Steve,
    I am a Suns fan though I’m based here in the Philippines. I follow the team’s progress and wish for your team’s success this season. Keep playing in May and June!

    Happy 2010 :)


  • http://2010draft? chris

    dear Mr. Kerr,

    i know there are a great many questions being asked of you in regards to the decisions of the suns regarding the future,etc.

    my question to you is, is there a good possability that we still might acquire a draft pick somehow for the 2010 draft? My brother and I being lifelong fans have always looked forward to scouting potential prospects, and we understand the importance of getting younger through the draft, as an insurance policy of sorts,just in case the july free agency doesn’t quite pan out.are there any directions that you might be thinking of going in terms of strengthening our team at any available position? either through the draft or free agency possibly?I appreciate your thoughts and planning that you’ve put into the team.

    thanks again,Chris.

  • http://blog els

    since houston is shopping tracy,strike a deal for him and the B’s,shane and aaron,offer stat,jr,and maybe a pick or bench player.if not,work a deal-stat and kaman,we still need defense and size-look how the cavs worked us with athletic longs.whatever works,go suns.

  • Kevin Wilcox


    I was surfing the website and I Noticed that the Suns were interested in Shaun Livingston this time last year but didn’t sign him due to him signing with OKC. I was wondering if you are still looking at him as being an option? I know we normally only carry 13 players and thats where we are at now, but I think at he would be a good pick-up at a low cost and he gives us depth at both guard positions…

    And are you looking into signing Mikki Moore being that Golden State dropped the ball with that…

    I think both of them would come in and fit right in