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 Suns.com 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.