Steve Kerr says he will step down as Team USA coach after Paris Olympics

Peter Dewey
5 Min Read
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr revealed to The Athletic that he will be stepping down from Team USA after the Paris Olympics.

Kerr is doing the same thing that his predecessor – San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich – did. Both coaches will have led Team USA at a World Cup and Olympics before stepping down from the position.

The 58-year-old believes that it is a cycle, which will also allow him to pass the spot on to another coach to get to lead Team USA.

“No,” Kerr told The Athletic when asked if he would still coach Team USA after the Paris Games. “To me, it’s a two-year; it’s a cycle. Pop coached a World Cup and the Olympics, now it’s my turn to pass the baton. I think that’s kind of how it should be. Frankly, it’s a huge commitment too. I guess I think it was different the last go-around with Coach K (Mike Krzyzewski) and Jerry (Colangelo), when they were really establishing this culture and this system where guys had to commit for a couple years. Made sense for Coach K to stay on. But I think where we are now, one cycle and you move on.”

Kerr is also in the last season of his contract with the Warriors, but it’s hard to see the veteran head coach landing anywhere else if Golden State has success this season. Kerr has led the Warriors to four NBA titles since taking over as the team’s head coach.

As for Team USA, there could be a ton of stars on the roster in the Paris Olympics. LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Jayson Tatum, Devin Booker and Joel Embiid have all publicly stated their desires to play for Team USA at the upcoming Olympics.

Just those players alone would help form one of the better teams for Team USA in international competition in recent memory. There are also a few players that were on the 2023 FIBA World Cup Team – such as Anthony Edwards and Tyrese Haliburton – that could find their way onto the roster as well.

Managing director Grant Hill and the rest of the decision-makers for Team USA may have to make some tough cuts to determine who ends up going to Paris.

“That conversation is coming over the next couple of months,” Kerr said. “We’d like to have a roster set sooner rather than later. We don’t have a date, but, you know, obviously, we don’t want to leave guys in limbo.

“You want everybody excited about the prospect (of playing for Team USA); that’s the first sign of, hey, we’re taking this really seriously. A lot of guys are dying to play. Obviously, Grant has to lead the way in terms of building our strategy, and we haven’t made any decisions. It’s highly likely that guys who want to play may not be…whether it’s established guys or guys who have been with us and guys who just played and played really well this last go-around, no matter how you slice it, you can only take 12, so it’s very, very difficult, and it’s a painful process because, you know, you get really attached to guys.

“This last group was so wonderful. In a lot of ways, I wanted to win the gold and just run it back.”

Team USA came up short at the 2023 FIBA World Cup, losing in the third-place game to Canada. Since the team didn’t earn a gold medal, it’s quite possible that more stars will be brought onto the roster in an attempt to guarantee gold at the Olympics.

With Kerr set to step down after the Olympics, it’s possible that Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra or Los Angeles Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue could end up succeeding him on Team USA.

Both coaches are currently on Kerr’s staff – along with Gonzaga University head coach Mark Few. All three coaches could be considered to take over for Kerr.

It’s great to see Kerr giving others the opportunity to experience leading Team USA, and the veteran coach certainly would love to leave his post on top by winning gold in Paris.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball, football and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.