Team USA head coach Gregg Popovich has named friend and former player Steve Kerr as one of his assistants for the next two summers, an indication that the Golden State Warriors coach is emerging as an option to become head coach sometime in the future.
USA Basketball made the announcement Thursday. Popovich also named Indiana Pacers head coach Nate McMillan and Villanova head coach Jay Wright as assistants. Popovich and this coaching staff will work with the national team for the 2019 World Cup in China and the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
“This is an incredible opportunity and one I’m extremely grateful for,” Kerr said in a statement. “I had the good fortune to participate in our USA Basketball program as an amateur, and to have the chance to return to the world stage three decades later and work under Pop, one of my former coaches and a mentor, is a tremendous honor.”
Kerr played for Team USA in the 1986 World Championships in Madrid while he was a player at Arizona. He hasn’t been a part of Team USA since 1988 as he has focused on his NBA playing, front-office and coaching career. Popovich bringing him into the fold will give him experience with the international game that could be put to use later.
Wright is also emerging as a long-term candidate to be head coach. He was a part of Popovich’s Team USA minicamp in Las Vegas over the summer after working as Popovich’s assistant in 2016 when they coached the men’s select team that prepared the national team for the Olympics. He has a long career working with USA Basketball that dates back to 2000, coaching in the Young Men Qualifying Tournament, the World University Games and the Pan American Games.
“This will be the opportunity of a lifetime,” Wright said in a statement.
McMillan has a long association with USA Basketball. He was an assistant from 2006 to ’12, winning two Olympic gold medals and a World Championship under coach Mike Krzyzewski.