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Steve Kerr claims that money wasn't the motivating factor in his departure

Jun 16, 2010, 1:03 PM EST

Steve Kerr’s departure from the Suns was a bit curious…until Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski chimed in with the punchline: Robert Sarver asked Kerr to take a 10% paycut. Typical Sarver, typical Suns.

There’s just one catch: publicly, both Saver and Kerr deny that the money played a significant part in Kerr and the Suns’ divorce. From Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic:

Kerr and Suns Managing Partner Robert Sarver negotiated through
Monday. Kerr was offered a one-year contract to stay at his current
salary or a three-year deal that would repeat his previous one except
for adding a third-year bonus. That meant Kerr’s first-year salary
would be a cut of about 10 percent from last season, when his salary
ranked in the upper one-third of West GMs.

“It (money) was a small part of it,” Sarver said. “I’m not sure it was a part of it at all.”

It was part of a picture that made leaving a better option. Kerr was
not expecting a raise, considering the club’s annual losses and $2.5
million still owed to Terry Porter, a coach he hired and fired. But
negotiations came at the same time that TNT’s lead-analyst job was
vacated by Doug Collins, who became Philadelphia’s coach.

Kerr, 44, has commuted from his San Diego home to work in Phoenix,
travel with the team and scout nationally. He said his wife, Margot,
and children (ages 12, 15 and 17) were a “big, big reason” for his
choice.

“This is not a contract issue,” Kerr said at a news conference that
Sarver did not attend Tuesday due to a prior commitment. “This is a
career and personal decision that I’ve made.”

That certainly puts a different spin on Kerr’s departure; rather than leaving the team due to Sarver denying him equal salary, Steve chose to leave because he either wanted to spend more time with his family or saw it as a bad career move. The former is nice but the latter is juicy. After all, if Kerr is jumping his own ship, what does that say about his approximation of the Suns’ future?

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