Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr has emerged as a favorite to succeed San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich as head coach of the USA Basketball senior men’s national team, according to veteran NBA reporter Marc Stein. Kerr was one of Popovich’s assistants at the 2019 FIBA World Cup and at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, where Popovich guided Team USA to a fourth consecutive gold medal. The role is one that Kerr has previously expressed interest in.
“Of course I’d be interested,” Kerr said of becoming head coach of Team USA in August, via The Athletic. “I mean, who wouldn’t be? I’ll leave it at that. I have no idea how it will all transpire; there are a lot of great candidates out there. And if I were to be considered, that would be an honor.”
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In addition to Kerr, Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra is another candidate for the position, per Stein. However, Spolestra’s lack of prior experience on the national team coaching staff could work against him. Grant Hill is leading the search after succeeding Jerry Colangelo as USA Basketball executive director.
If Kerr is ultimately selected to replace Popovich, the question will become if he can entice Warriors star guard Stephen Curry to play for Team USA at the 2024 Olympics in Paris. Curry has previously played for the United States at the FIBA World Cup in 2010 and 2014, but he has never played on the Olympic stage.
“I don’t think I even need to advise Steph on any of that. Because he’s been through the World Cup experience at least once, I think twice, if I’m not mistaken. So he’s competed at the highest level internationally,” Kerr said of Curry. “The Olympics is probably the only thing left on his list of basketball accomplishments. He’s achieved everything else. I think that would be great if he was interested in ’24. I think that’d be a great thing for him to pursue if he wanted to do it.”
Hill has said that he hopes to name a new coach for Team USA prior to the start of the 2021-22 NBA season, so a final decision should be coming in the next few weeks.