Steve Kerr will coach Team USA as they compete at the 2024 Paris Olympics next summer, but that will be the end of his stint with USA Basketball.
The Golden State Warriors head coach recently told The Athletic that he's decided he will step down as Team USA head coach after the Olympics. He plans to follow in the footsteps of former Team USA head coach Gregg Popovich and leave after coaching one World Cup and one Olympics.
“No,” Kerr said bluntly when asked if he would 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's record as Team USA coach has been a little spotty. They came out strong in international play last summer, winning their first nine games. But at the World Cup, they lost three of their last four games as illness swept over the team. While Kerr was appropriately criticized for lineup and roster decisions (asking Jaren Jackson Jr. to play out of position was definitely a choice), there wasn't much he could do about a team-wide illness. They placed fourth at the World Cup.
It's way too early to speculate about who will end up replacing Kerr once the 2024 Olympics have passed, especially since the next international competition cycle doesn't start until the 2027 World Cup in Qatar. However, it's worth noting that Team USA's staff is stacked. Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra, Los Angeles Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue and Gonzaga men's basketball coach Mark Few all serve as assistants on Kerr's bench.
Last dance for Team USA?
Kerr isn't just following in Pop's footsteps. He's likely following some of Team USA's biggest stars out the door. LeBron James, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant have publicly committed to playing in next year's Olympics, but given their ages (Curry and Durant are both 35 and James is 38) it's likely to be their last.
For those players, it's simply time to move on. They're no longer the young bucks of the NBA; they're now established elder statesmen who recognize it's time to hand the reins of Team USA to the younger generation of NBA players. Joel Embiid, Jayson Tatum and Devin Booker have declared their intent to play in Paris, and Vardon reported that Damian Lillard, Kyrie Irving, Anthony Davis and Draymond Green have all expressed interest as well.
According to The Athletic, USA Basketball leadership has not yet had any serious conversations about which 12 players they'll bring to the Olympics, but those decisions will likely be tough. While a number of established stars want to return to the Olympics, there are players on last year's World Cup team who believe they deserve a shot.