OAKLAND –- The question has been tossed his way practically every other day lately, and each time Steve Kerr hears it, he crinkles the corners of his pale blue eyes, grins and sighs and carefully waves it off.
Will the Warriors coach, who also will coach the Western Conference All-Stars, start his guy, Klay Thompson, in the game?
Kerr should start Thompson, for a variety of justifiable reasons, beginning with the historical component that comes with pairing him with Warriors teammate Stephen Curry. The duo already has been selected to participate in the 3-point shootout.
But Kerr has not made any such commitment. He waved it off again Wednesday, wouldn't even say when he'd make a decision.
"I'm going to start Steph," Kerr joked, referring to the point guard who became an automatic starter after receiving more fan votes than anyone in the NBA.
Kerr has the authority to start Thompson as the replacement for the injured Kobe Bryant. As Thompson's coach, Kerr surely sees the benefit of making such a move.
There are only two reasonable options to start alongside Curry on Feb. 15 at Madison Square Garden. There is Houston's James Harden, and there is Thompson. Thunder star Russell Westbrook might not agree, but he's not in this discussion.
"I have no idea," Kerr said. "I'll probably lean on (Warriors associate head coach) Alvin (Gentry). He's done this a couple times.
"I guess you go with the hot guys in the fourth quarter. But there have to be some difficult decisions. At the same time, I would hope nobody gets (his) feelings hurt too much. It's an exhibition. It’s the greatest players on earth and they're all incredibly talented."
If Kerr goes strictly by the numbers, he'd choose Harden, who finished third in the voting among guards, behind Curry and Kobe Bryant. Harden is headed for his third All-Star Game. He leads the league in scoring and is a legitimate MVP candidate, with a broad international fan base.
If Kerr goes with his heart –- and with the innate wishes of Warriors ownership and management, both of which surely visualize a marketing bonanza –- he'd choose Thompson, who is making his All-Star debut.
"It's not that hard, really, to be honest with you," Kerr said of the thought process. "It's an All-Star game. It's an exhibition. I also have to make the decision during the game on that Sunday. Do I sit (Kevin) Durant? Or Harden? Or Steph? I don’t know. How do you do that?
"Usually in an All-Star Game there's like four old guys who will just tell you, 'I only want to play 8 minutes.' Duncan's the only old guy I've been able to identify. Since I know him, I'm going to play him 38 minutes. I've already decided to do that, just to bother him."
Kerr, regarding his former teammate Duncan, clearly was kidding. That's what he tends to do when confronted with the Thompson-Harden decision.
By starting Thompson, Kerr would show an allegiance to his own guy. Though it wouldn't be the first time teammates started in the All-Star team backcourt, it would be a first for Warriors guards since the franchise moved to California in 1962.
Moreover, it would further enlarge the star that has replaced the speck that once represented the Warriors on the NBA landscape.
"Here's what I would do," said one league executive. "I'd pull Harden aside and tell him what I was thinking of doing. I'd explain my reasons. I'd listen to what he had to say. If he says he's OK with it, I'd start Thompson. If not, I still might start him."
Kerr isn't divulging his plan, or admitting he has a plan. He can wait until the afternoon of the game, though I doubt he'd let the suspense last that long.
"There isn't any protocol, so I will wait," Kerr said, still grinning. "I don't expect you to believe me for one second when I tell you I haven't thought about it. But I haven't thought about it."
Well, no, I don't believe Kerr. Neither should you. He hinted as much on Friday.
Though Kerr has a big job coaching a Warriors team sitting atop the Western Conference, he has to have considered his options, if for no reason other than being asked about it so often.