Kerr says that his playing days help him keep an even keel as a GM.
(Scott Cunningham/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.

It helped me to play for 15 years and see the ups and downs of the season and understand over the course of time that you can’t be too up or too down. You have to keep an even keel.

I was much better at understanding than later in my career than I was earlier on as a young player. Earlier in my career, I’d have one bad game and I wouldn’t sleep that night.

Then I learned to deal with the rollercoaster a little better. I watched the coaches that I played for, and they were all generally very calm. Lenny Wilkins, Phil Jackson, Gregg Popovich and Cotton Fitzsimmons were all big-picture guys.

They understood that you can’t get too emotional over one game. You have to pick your spots and know when to really hit the players hard and when to back off.

The big picture was always: you have to keep the ship going forward. Just like it’s important in Alvin’s position, in my position it’s important to have that composure.

One of the things I really like about the job is the interaction with the people in the office and on our coaching staff. I really enjoy communicating.

Whether it’s with my staff or the coaches or the players, I like the communal aspect of it. I find the more I’m with everyone, the more fun it is and the easier it is to get through the difficult days.

The beauty of this job though is that if you’re a basketball junkie like I am, it doesn’t feel like work a lot of time. I love watching basketball, and when we’re playing well I love sitting in the stands and watching the game unfold and seeing our players perform. I don’t feel like I’m working at all.

When you’re making a trade, though, it is work. You’re you’re dealing with the players’ lives, and you’re dealing with the spiritual core of the team. I was traded five times as a player, and it isn’t fun to have to pack up your family and move on. So I feel for our players when we make a deal, but I also understand that it’s part of the business and we have to do what we feel is best for the team.

I attribute my laid-back nature to growing up in Southern California. My friends will tell you that when the games are happening and there’s competition involved, that laid-back demeanor goes away pretty quickly.
As a player I had a lot of outbursts and tantrums as a kid. I’m unbelievably hard on myself. In everyday life, I’m very laid-back, very tolerant and easy to get along with, but if there’s competition on the line and I’m not having success, I’ve got some fire in my belly that I have to temper.

  • jeff

    Suns fans are always talking about trades (myself included) but i have confidence that our bench can grow in the next couple of seasons and that will be integral to this team’s success in the future. The way i see it,we’re just two solid pieces away from being a real threat to the lakers in the west. We need a strong perimeter defender at shooting guard and one more big body that’s a very physical enforcer coming off the bench,someone with an “old school” demeanor reminiscent of charles oakley or a horace grant. I don’t really think we need to trade anyone currently on the team this season because that would erase any team chemistry we’ve been building to this point, and this team needs at least a couple more seasons to improve on that. Our best chance for this team to reach it’s full potential is to add those final two pieces in the upcoming draft by aquiring a late first to early second round pick that will complement our bench. The other piece should be added through free-agency. I see this suns team (especially it’s younger players)just going through similiar struggles as the young bulls teams that were frustrated by isiah’s pistons in the playoffs before they matured and put it all together. This team has similiar potential to grow their chemistry and become a title contender, we just have to add to the current roster and let them grow together over a couple more seasons. Please keep an eye on oklahoma state’s james anderson at shooting guard,he’s reminiscent of eddie jones as a perimeter defender and could be the 2010 draft’s version of sam young. Right now he’s a late first rounder and we could probably aquire him with little difficulty on draft day which could be the answer to our needing a strong perimeter defender with a pure and consistent shooting stroke,he’s also very athletic. In free-agency maybe we should consider a sheldon williams of the celtics or a johan petro of the nuggets. I’d also like to see if we can lure joe alexander from the bucks and maybe use his size and athleticism as a backup to richardson and maybe even some time at small-forward if we choose to make clark amare’s backup.

  • Chris Bushby

    Mr. Kerr, so glad you shared the one photo of you driving to the basket!

    Just kidding, you know you played with the world’s best. Thanks for sharing your perspective; I really enjoy it!

  • Marco B

    Well its nice to see that Steve Kerr is a laid back guy but is it enough to get the Suns over these difficult times? Yeah he has 5 or 6 rings but that was because of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Tim Duncan… He had nothing to do with those championships. Another question is how did he even get his job? The answer is politics and unfortunately that is a big reasons why the Suns are no longer title contenders. From the release of Shawn Marion to the addition of Shaq, just a lot of poor moves… thanks Steve

  • jeff

    joe alexander would be a great free agent aquisition for us at the end of this season, he could cause mismatches in our favor if we played him out of position as a 6-8 backup shooting guard.

  • chris

    i just want to say that with the shaq experiment
    you have dismantled a team that was a few games away
    from winning it all
    now we have a team that is built to get to the playoffs
    and nothing more steve nash is not getting any younger
    grant hill isnt either
    we need to add more players that can
    help us get to where we have to go
    we all know where we want to go
    tell sarver that if he wants to win a championship he
    needs to spend a lil more money
    we are not moving forward as a team
    we are not growing as a team we are actually taking steps back we need to get a player that can run with us
    one thing i feel is good though you guys brought back
    the run n gun suns and thats the way to go
    we can win it all with this we just need a few more pieces like a deeper bench a back up center thats not slow
    use our picks instead of selling them for cash

  • Sarah

    I agree with Chris about the shaq experiement. Dumbest move ever. Shaq has very limited skills, and he proved that to us. Hill and Nash might not be getting any younger but they just get better and better every year. The reality is they will be gone soon and we need someone to take their place. Dragic could potentially step into Nash’s shoes in a few years….if we don’t trade him and everyone else. Build a team not a business!

  • jeff

    Already mentioned oklahoma state’s james anderson,the shooting guard who reminds me of eddie jones both offensively and defensively. Now i have to mention mississipi’s terrico white,a 6-5 211 combo guard that if you watch him play a few games he’ll resemble dwayne wade athletically and with his isolation skills. Right now draft express has him ranked as the 21rst pick in the 2011 draft which means he should be available for us next year. If he does choose to come out in the 2010 draft can this suns organization really afford to not deal for the next dwayne wade? If you don’t believe what i’m saying about this young college guard is true, you’d be doing yourself and david griffin a huge favor in sending some suns scouts to watch him play for ole miss, he’s going to develop into a nba superstar down the road so why not for the suns?