Suns President of Basketball Operations and GM Steve Kerr appeared on Sports 620 KTAR’s Doug & Wolf Show this morning to talk hoops with the renown radio duo. Beginning his second season as a front office executive, Kerr commented about his relationship with former head coach of the Arizona Wildcats Lute Olson, as well as the state of the team as they head into the season.
Kerr, who has an extremely close relationship with Olson, was aware of his former head coach’s health issues before he stepped down from coaching permanently this past week. Olson first took a leave of absence from the team last November for undisclosed reasons before stepping down last week after revealing that he had suffered a stroke over the last year.
Kerr believed that Olson’s pride kept him from admitting that anything was wrong with him physically or emotionally. In fact, none of Olson’s current players knew about the stroke.
“I’m just glad people understand what he’s been going through so they can understand why things have gone the way they have,” Kerr told KTAR. “It was important for him to let people know what’s been going on because he hasn’t been himself for the last year.”
Besides the condition of his former college coach Kerr chatted about other topics, such as the condition of the Suns’ organization. When asked if the Suns were rebuilding, Kerr responded by stating that they were “renovating.”
The former NBA Champion noted that an organization isn’t in the midst of rebuilding when it has its top seven players returning. He assured the Phoenix faithful that he is thinking mostly about the present, but preparing for the future by adding young players such as Robin Lopez and Goran Dragic.
Kerr is excited for the season to tip off against the Spurs, but doesn’t believe that fans should put too much stock in the outcome against the Suns’ nemesis. He then recounted a story about how the Lakers’ Kareem Abdul-Jabbar hit a game-winning shot the first game of the season and was tackled by then-rookie Magic Johnson in exhilaration. Kareem turned to the first-year phenom and said, “Don’t get carried away young fella, we’ve got 81 more.”
So instead of being caught up with wins or losses at the outset of the season, Kerr is going to be focused on how the coaching staff gets everyone on the same page in time for the playoffs. He is also looking closely at the defensive growth of Amar’e Stoudemire. Although he doesn’t necessarily believe that STAT will have the defensive impact on the game that someone like Kevin Garnett may have, he can still be very effective with the physical gifts that he possesses.
“I’m very confident, I think Amar’e wants to be great (in all areas),” Kerr said. “I think he wants to be a better defensive player and a better rebounder. I’ve never seen him happier than he has been in the last couple of weeks.”