Phil, Melo and the Ten Dollar Carrot

[Editor’s note: This is guest post from friend-of-the-blog Dan Litvin.]

A photo posted to the Instagram account of one Josh Wolfe (username: wolfejosh) depicts what appears to be Phil Jackson and Carmelo Anthony dining at the restaurant American Cut. The photo is grainy, so the diners may actually be Alan Arkin and a unicorn, but if it is Phil and Melo, then it is Knicks-related, which means I can talk about it here, which means I can discuss the fact that American Cut has a carrot you can buy for $10!

Photo: Grub Street via Melissa Hom
Photo: Grub Street via Melissa Hom

The $10 carrot appears on the menu as a “Carrot Glazed Carrot” with mint and something called maldon. Yum! It’s a real thing, I assure you. I know because I have tried it.

Last year, the law firm where I toil, did enough business that it was able to distribute its regular bonus, which I used to treat myself and my wife to dinner at American Cut.

I asked our server for the $10 Carrot Glazed Carrot, sheepishly, because I expected him to laugh and tell me that that particular menu item is not a real menu item but a rather an arch, wry joke for the foodie/glitterati set that patronize an establishment such as this on the regular.

You know, the kind of folks that wouldn’t raise an eyebrow at the thought of a $10 Carrot Glazed Carrot. But he did not laugh, and I would soon receive my luxurious, overpriced taproot with taproot sauce.

Here is my review of the $10 Carrot Glazed Carrot: it was soft, probably steamed or baked, and then glazed with a carroty tasting sweet glaze of carroty richness. It also had mint and maldons. As far as $10 carrots go, it was probably as worth it as you can get, but I would have gladly paid another thousand or so dollars if it was drizzled rendered Wagyu fat and sprinkled with gold flakes. We truly live in a gilded age.

Money is no object to gentlemen in the tax bracket of Messrs. Jackson and Anthony, so I’m going assume they each ordered at least fourteen Carrot Glazed Carrots. And in that freewheeling spirit, I assume that his would-be star was deep in a food coma–his eyes practically lolling around in his head whilst he rubbed his sated belly in Rabelasian, gustatory excess–so Jackson saw the perfect opportunity to whisper a few sweet nothings in his ear about the possibility of accepting a tad fewer ducats if/when he does re-up in Gotham.

And perhaps Phil started scribbling plays on linen napkins as he is wont to do, gave Melo a customized pair of Google Glass that displayed his glorious, five-year plan to surround him with noble, selfless ‘mates; pristinely selected, form-fitting proper pieces that will only buttress Melo’s innate greatness in the near and long term, and flapped his silken tongue about Red and The Captain and Clyde and how he was the one true successor to the long-vacated ‘Bocker throne–a true New Yorker that would finally restore the franchise to contender/mythic-status.

Or maybe they just talked about what everyone else talks about when they eat $10 Carrot Glazed Carrots: their stock portfolios, their bond portfolios, monocles, top hats, capitalism, venture capital, mortgage backed securities, securities backed mortgages, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Mac Mae, Freddie Mae, Fannie Mac, Dodd-Frank, The Glass-Steagall Act and whatnot.

Personally, if I were Phil, I would  have picked another hash house with which to break bread, mainly because I’m suspicious of restaurants run by chefs that think they can rock a mohawk. (I did not know this before I dined there with the wife.)

marc-forgione-sobe-lgSeriously dude, you’re not a rebel or an outsider. You sell single-serving vegetables and charge ten freakin’ clams. You ARE the establishment, mang.

Come to think of it, it’s actually the perfect bôite. Phil probably used said menu choice(s) as a teachable moment; illustrating to Melo that paying him the max is just like that $10 Carrot Glazed Carrot, which is delicious and fun to have, but if one wants to have an impactful, nutritious, dining experience on a budget (you know, like the salary cap), maybe one shouldn’t spend ten bucks on ONE CARROT, no matter how sumptuous and carroty the glaze is.

That is, maybe Phil presented Melo with a pre-dinner budget, explained that the gilded Carrot Glazed Carrot would prevent them for enjoying “Dad’s Planked Salmon ($31)” or the “Tomahawk Veal ($59)”. “If we sacrifice the Carrot Glazed Carrot, you won’t have as much food. But I bet we can order a much nicer steak, and have an all around better experience.” Phil surely might have said all this because he’s a freaking genius.

But Phil. Lemme tells ya. If you want a REAL rock n’ roll chef with which to pitch Melo your radical plan to save the Knicks, go to Guy Fieri’s midtown joint. You know why?



Knicks Morning News (2014.04.30)

  • [New York Times] ‘We Are One!’, Clippers Ride Wave of Emotion to Victory (Wed, 30 Apr 2014 07:59:35 GMT)

    Preaching the mantra of unity, the Los Angeles Clippers got back to winning ways against the Golden State Warriors just hours after disgraced team owner Donald Sterling had been banned from the game for life on Tuesday.

  • [New York Times] Wizards Eliminate Bulls With 75-69 Victory (Wed, 30 Apr 2014 07:08:53 GMT)

    Making a rare visit to the postseason, the Washington Wizards made it look rather easy, dispatching the Bulls in the opening round.

  • [New York Times] Jordan, Paul Lead Clippers Over Warriors, 113-103 (Wed, 30 Apr 2014 06:35:43 GMT)

    On an exceptional, emotional night, the Los Angeles Clippers returned to their “safe haven” and moved to the brink of winning just their third playoff series since Donald Sterling bought the team in 1981.

  • [New York Times] Grizzlies Hold Off Thunder 100-99 in OT (Wed, 30 Apr 2014 05:47:54 GMT)

    It took a fraction of a second for the Memphis Grizzlies to take control of their first-round series with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

  • [New York Times] Wizards Eliminate Bulls With 75-69 Victory (Wed, 30 Apr 2014 04:41:43 GMT)

    Playoff appearances were rare enough for the Washington Wizards let alone series victories. Never mind all that now.

  • [New York Times] Wizards Oust Cold-Shooting Bulls (Wed, 30 Apr 2014 04:27:41 GMT)

    The Bulls had no answer for the young, talented Washington guards John Wall (24 points) and Bradley Beal (17) as they fell in five games to the Wizards in their first-round playoff series.

  • [New York Times] Sports Briefing | Pro Basketball: Pacer’s All-Star Ring Is Stolen (Wed, 30 Apr 2014 04:17:56 GMT)

    The Pacers star Paul George had his platinum All-Star ring, valued at $15,000, stolen from his home, the Indianapolis police said.

  • [New York Times] For Clippers, Transition in Decision Making Begins (Wed, 30 Apr 2014 02:25:30 GMT)

    The Clippers said: “We wholeheartedly support and embrace the decision by the NBA and Commissioner Adam Silver today. Now the healing process begins.”

  • [New York Times] Williams Once Again Shows That He Is His Toughest Critic (Wed, 30 Apr 2014 02:13:09 GMT)

    Backcourt play has been a focal point in the first four games of the series, and the Nets say they need Deron Williams, their starting point guard, to perform.

  • [New York Times] In Mavericks-Spurs Series, Past Is Present Once More (Wed, 30 Apr 2014 02:03:33 GMT)

    There are no secrets left between the Spurs and the Mavericks, two veteran teams engaged in yet another memorable playoff series.

  • [New York Times] Commissioner Sees Basis for Ousting Clippers’ Owner (Wed, 30 Apr 2014 01:19:14 GMT)

    If Commissioner Adam Silver’s ability to bar Donald Sterling and fine him $2.5 million is not much in question, he might not find it as simple to successfully terminate Sterling’s ownership of the Clippers.

  • [New York Times] No NBA Owners Saying They’ll Side With Sterling (Wed, 30 Apr 2014 01:11:43 GMT)

    A majority of NBA ownership groups reached Tuesday by The Associated Press say they will vote to force embattled Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling to sell his club.

  • [New York Daily News] Cartwright interviews with Phil and Knicks (Wed, 30 Apr 2014 02:05:43 GMT)

    In a move that suggests that Steve Kerr is close to taking the Knicks’ head coaching job, Bill Cartwright has emerged as Kerr’s first lieutenant after interviewing for an assistant coach’s position with the team, the Daily News has learned.

  • Knicks Finalizing a Deal to Hire Steve Kerr

    According to a new report today from ESPN’s NBA insider Marc Stein the New York Knicks are finalizing a deal to hire former Phoenix Suns General Manager and television analyst Steve Kerr to be their next head coach. The deal won’t reportedly be finalized until after the first round of the playoffs, but hey, progress!

    Earlier in the month, I wrote about how the Knicks have handled their head coaching situation in what can only be described as in a head-scratching way. Phil has clearly wanted Kerr all along, and he reportedly got his man before others could. That’s the most important takeaway out of this, I think, because the Knicks weren’t going to be the only ones courting Kerr this summer.

    It’s been reported by a number of insiders and analysts that Kerr was going to be a hot commodity this offseason for potential head coaching vacancies. Golden State, Houston and Oklahoma City were all potentially in play for Kerr if things went sour for any of these clubs in the first round. As of right now, the three teams are all in grave danger of getting ousted in the first round. All of these potential destinations are better jobs than the Knicks, but perhaps Phil sprinkled some zen herbs into Kerr’s latte over dinner in Brooklyn this past weekend to convince him to take the Knicks job before those other teams started pounding at his door.

    We don’t know what kind of head coach Kerr is going to be, but we do know Phil has potentially snagged the hottest potential head coaching commodity before anybody else could. Now comes the hardest part — fixing the Knicks’ roster.

    Let’s hope Phil is saving his best trick the best for last.


    On James Dolan’s Sterling Silence

    [Editor’s note: This is guest post from friend-of-the-blog Dan Litvin.]

    Almost 13 years ago, Chris Broussard, then of the New York Times, revealed that former Knicks Charlie Ward, Allan Houston and Kurt Thomas had made anti-Semitic comments to a fellow Gray Lady reporter that had been covering the Knicks that season. That reporter, Eric Koningsberg, enjoyed what seems today like unprecedented access to the organization’s players. During a Bible study, Ward told Koningsberg that “[Jews] had [Jesus’s] blood on their hands.” Houston followed, “Matthew 26, verse 67. Then they spit in Jesus’ face and hit him with their fists.” Upon this misguided foundation, Thomas reportedly pressured Koningsberg to convert to Christianity.

    Not long after, the Garden’s media policy changed. According to long-time beat writer Frank Isola, the players’ revelation of their Anti-Semitic beliefs was the impetus for Knicks owner James Dolan’s infamous and long-derided media policy. Today, players, coaches and executives must speak with the media only in the presence of a cadre of Garden apparachiks that are ready to snuff out a potentially damaging revelation at the slightest whiff of controversy.

    Still, MSG’s draconian policy did not prevent Garden employees from embarrassing themselves with insensitive (to say the least) comments. Perplexingly, Dolan preferred to litigate against former marketing executive Anucha Browne-Sanders rather than settle her discrimination suit; a decision that inevitably led to testimony that sent the shocking/disturbing-o-meter pinging deep into the red in a manner not dissimilar to the comments attributed to Donald Sterling this weekend.

    The NBA acted quickly. While it was never made public, it is widely understood that then NBA Commissioner David Stern forced Dolan to temporarily distance himself from the team’s day-to-day operations, remove President Steve Mills and GM Isiah Thomas, and install the respected and steady Pacers executive Donnie Walsh as team President to restore respectability. Walsh spoke freely to the media during his three-year tenure but when it ended, Dolan reinstated his media policy.

    The media policy does nothing to prevent his executives and other employees from harboring disgusting beliefs. Houston remains a high-level executive, and Larry Johnson, who works in community relations for the Knicks evinced a selective, paradoxical bias by calling for African-Americans to form their own league, after tweeting that homosexuals “don’t belong in a man’s locker room.”

    But the policy probably does mitigate (even if it cannot eliminate) the chance that those beliefs will threaten to disrupt Dolan’s fiefdom. It is a testament to Dolan’s paranoia that he – unlike many other owners – has not yet spoken publicly about Sterling, lest someone take his commentary the wrong way and seek to wrench his precious franchise/plaything from his hands once more.

    New Knicks President Phil Jackson has displayed a policy of openness with the media, but in light of what is sure to be swift and harsh punishment for Sterling, Dolan will surely consider whether his discomfort (or paranoia) regarding such openness will manifest again.

    A Few Thoughts on The Donald

    I want to offer a few thoughts on the L’Affair de Donald. I only just this morning got a chance to listen to the recorded conversation that apparently took place between L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling and his girlfriend V. Stiviano, as reported by TMZ. In the absence of any denials from Sterling’s representatives the veracity question seems to be resolved. The only remaining open question is whether Sterling could reasonably expect privacy over an argument with his girlfriend, which hinges on his complicity in the conversation’s recording. (TMZ is reporting that Sterling was fully complicit.) I cannot imagine that if one is aware of being recorded that even so-called “pillow talk” would come with an expectation of privacy. His expectations don’t and probably shouldn’t matter at a whit to the public, but likely matter a great deal to how the NBA and NBAPA will proceed.

    If you’ve not had a chance to listen to the conversation I would suggest you do so. If you begin with the premise that all lives feature contested social positions and contradictions, and that what’s interesting is how we manage those contradictions, then this is a fascinating listen. There is some serious contradiction management going on in this thing. Wow. Someday, an intersectionality scholar will conduct a close reading on these tapes and will simultaneously drown, burst into flame, while his or her head implodes. Hell, I may be that scholar.


    At the risk of burying the lede, allow me to start with my conclusion. The real crime here will be if the good people at Saturday Night Live and/or Drunk History simply sit back and allow this moment to go unparodied. If they fail to get the TMZ transcripts and give them the full-on Thomas Jefferson/Sallie Hemming treatment they so richly deserve then we the people will be impoverished for it.



    On a mildly more serious note, I do want to respond to some of the issues that have emerged in media coverage and public discussion over the past weekend.

    What Rights Do Owner Have to Say and Do As They Please? I have not heard anyone ask this question directly, but plenty have hinted at it. The question mostly comes up when powerful people are publicly shamed for a “let them eat cake” moment. A strict libertarian response to the question would be that as long as Sterling’s actions are lawful and ethical, his attitudes are a non-issue for the league. The league can and perhaps should do nothing, lest it institute an ideological litmus test that many other owners might also fail. In fact, Sterling’s rambling and barely coherent point is that his his desire for high social distance from Black masculinity–his desire for exotic Black femininity notwithstanding–represents the mainstream among those in his social milieu. (Hell, that’s why his friends told him about who was on Stiviano’s Instagram in the first place.) If the league throws Sterling out on those grounds, a whole lot of people might have to go with him if there is to be any consistency at all. Besides, the argument goes, people are free to choose. If they don’t care for Sterling’s attitudes they don’t have to go to the games–or they can go and boo to their throats are sore. Likewise, coaches and free agents can choose to sign with the Clippers of their own volition.

    Although I am purposefully stripping the argument of nuance, there isn’t much nuance to strip from a strict libertarian reading. It pits property rights (and speech as an extension of those rights) against other kinds of concerns. The argument is not without its merits. Owners have and do engage in their own business, civic, and personal interests outside the scope of league business. However, a strict libertarian reading is a difficult one in a joint venture like the NBA, where franchise owners agree to a covenantal relationship governed by league bylaws and a commissioner with wide latitude to act in the league’s best interests. The league’s members rightly have an expectation that owners’ private activities do not unduly impact the logo, whose value is derived interdependently from among the franchises. So, that the league can respond seems like “settled law”. What actions trigger a response, and then what response, seem more like the pertinent issues. Doing nothing is probably not an option now. A franchise owner cannot just dis a segment of the paying public, not to mention an NBA icon, and expect that the league will do nothing.

    To Protest or Not to Protest? Certainly, if the league proceeds (as it clearly intends to) it will treat this as a “best interests” matter. Many have also called for the players to take a public stand, regardless of what the league does. That includes players refusing to play. I am not here to say what any player should do, apart from what their respective consciences and politics dictate. I do however agree wholeheartedly with sentiment expressed by Jalen Rose (whose insights I have generally come to enjoy in the studio). This is a league-wide issue that calls for institutional rather than strictly personal responses from the league and from the Players Association. Clippers players should be free to do what conscience dictates, but It cannot only be about the Clippers.

    For the Players Association this moment is broadly about the quality of their respective work environments rather than simply chastising a bigoted owner. I hope and expect the NBAPA to make more than the national media of Sterling’s remarks about how he “gives players food, clothing, and cars.” Those are in many critical respects far more disturbing than his wholly unremarkable race prejudice, and who he deems appropriate company at “his” games. The remarks are substantively similar to Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert’s post-Decision how-dare-he-quit-me rant about LeBron James. This NBA franchise-as-charity metaphor is not a good look. NBA franchises are not charities. They work in partnership with the players, whose compensation they collectively bargain. And regardless, even if NBA franchises were charities, who has bilked the NBA out of more than Donald Sterling? He bilked luxury tax paying teams out of several million per annum for years. His history is that of a net taker. Not a net giver.

    What is to be Done? Jerry Colangelo said on Mike & Mike this morning that Sterling had a “rap sheet” that the owners find embarrassing. I think it is fairly safe to say that Colangelo is speaking on behalf of at least a significant subset of NBA owners, who presumably are expected to cede any public comments to the commissioner (and rightfully so). Colangelo’s appearance and candor suggest to me that important people have reached the, “Okay. You’re messing with my money now” breaking point with Donald Sterling.

    When someone like Colangelo comes on to do damage control for the owners and then throws salt that’s a strong suggestion that something will get done. Were I commissioner Silver, here’s what I’d look into doing.

    (1) Removal from any league committees indefinitely — Sterling should have no hand in setting policy or conducting the business of the league.

    (2) Forfeiture of league TV revenues for at least one season — I do not believe Sterling could be forced to sell the team, short of actions directly detrimental to the business interests of the franchise and/or league. Sports franchise ownership is a difficult club to join. I cannot imagine that it’s easy to be thrown out once inside. That kind of structure encourages palace coups, and no one wants that. I would think you’d have to be caught red-handed doing damage to the group. However, it also seems to me that punishments for bad behavior are likely less bound by precedent. The most effective should combine revenue forfeiture with isolation. For that reason I would consider direct forfeiture (or fines equal to) Sterling’s share of the funds from the national TV contract.



    Knicks Morning News (2014.04.29)

  • [New York Daily News] Kerr won’t give Knicks the OK yet (Tue, 29 Apr 2014 03:02:47 GMT)

    Steve Kerr is inching closer to becoming the next head coach of the Knicks but a source close to the TNT broadcaster says that a decision is not imminent.

  • [New York Times] Heat Will Have Time to Rest After Sweeping Bobcats (Tue, 29 Apr 2014 07:26:59 GMT)

    Dwyane Wade will have a chance to rest those sore knees and that tight hamstring.

  • [New York Times] Hawks Take Series Lead With 107-97 Win at Indiana (Tue, 29 Apr 2014 07:26:59 GMT)

    Mike Scott rediscovered his shooting touch when Atlanta needed it most.

  • [New York Times] Kevin Johnson Calls for Sterling to Be Suspended (Tue, 29 Apr 2014 07:05:46 GMT)

    Former NBA star and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson has called for the NBA to suspend Donald Sterling indefinitely, appoint an executive or family member to run the team, and levy “the maximum fine possible” as punishment for the racist remarks purportedly made by the Los Angeles Clippers’ owner.

  • [New York Times] Ginobili, Diaw Help Spurs Get Even With Mavs 93-89 (Tue, 29 Apr 2014 05:50:45 GMT)

    Boris Diaw’s big third quarter wasn’t enough to hold off a Dallas comeback.

  • [New York Times] Hawks Take Series Lead With 107-97 Win at Indiana (Tue, 29 Apr 2014 04:17:44 GMT)

    Atlanta’s Mike Scott hit Indiana with the first 3-point barrage Monday night.

  • [New York Times] Roundup: Heat Sweep the Bobcats as James Scores 31 Points (Tue, 29 Apr 2014 03:58:42 GMT)

    LeBron James heard the cheers from the opposing crowd as he lay on the court holding his right thigh and writhing in pain. It seemed only to awaken him.

  • [New York Times] James, Heat Complete Sweep of Bobcats, 109-98 (Tue, 29 Apr 2014 03:20:47 GMT)

    LeBron James heard the cheers from the crowd as he lay on the court holding his right thigh and writhing in pain.

  • [New York Times] Baseball Set Precedent for Disciplining an Owner (Tue, 29 Apr 2014 02:14:22 GMT)

    The case of the Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling recalls baseball’s handling of the Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott’s offensive behavior in the 1990s.

  • [New York Times] New Guard of Owners Could Be Key in Sterling’s Fate (Tue, 29 Apr 2014 01:38:22 GMT)

    Donald Sterling is part of the old guard of N.B.A. owners, a group of men who bought teams before the league became a global phenomenon worth billions of dollars.

  • [New York Times] Sports of The Times: After 33 Years of Sterling, a Boiling Point (Tue, 29 Apr 2014 01:11:10 GMT)

    The moment for dealing with Donald Sterling, the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, may finally be here.

  • [New York Times] Sponsors Flee Clippers as League Announcement Approaches (Tue, 29 Apr 2014 00:29:34 GMT)

    The National Basketball Association faced mounting pressure on Monday to impose a harsh punishment on Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for his alleged racist comments as several of the team’s sponsors pulled their backing.

  • Steve Kerr Would Be a Smart Hire

    Sunday afternoon, Peter Botte of the New York Daily News reported that Turner Sports analyst Steve Kerr met with Phil Jackson Friday night to discuss the Knicks head coaching vacancy. Of course, this is hardly a surprise. Kerr has long been thought of as the favorite for the job. Jackson has said that Kerr would’ve been his choice to coach, had he become the president of the new Seattle Supersonics. Now that he holds that title with the Knicks, Kerr is again his coach of choice.

    Kerr has expressed a desire to get into coaching and has a good relationship with the master of zen. He’s articulate, intelligent and spends lots of time around the game calling not only NBA games, but March Madness as well. He even writes from time to time. But while Kerr is generally regarded as a smart basketball man, his hire would not be met with universal applause among the fan base. The former sharpshooting guard is not unfamiliar with day-to-day operations of an NBA franchise, thanks to his three years in Phoenix, but he has no prior coaching experience.

    However, there is a recent precedent for coaches without any previous experience being successful. The Warriors took Mark Jackson off ESPN and gave him their head gig in 2011. While he’s come under scrutiny this year for his unimaginative offense and unwillingness to stagger his lineups, he’s also led the Warriors to their fifth 50-win campaign in franchise history and has a .526 winning percentage over three seasons. In Brooklyn, Jason Kidd has overcome a poor start to the season and led the Nets to the playoffs.

    Last year, super-smart friend-of-the-blog Jared Dubin noted at Grantland that first time head coaches are slightly more successful than retread coaches. Retreads do better initially, but over time the first year coaches on average have a higher winning percentage. Of course, each situation is different and no two coaches are the same, but it’s clear that the Knicks don’t need to bring an experienced coach in order to be successful.

    Kerr’s inexperience will also be less of a factor because of who works above him. Jackson spoke last week about him and Kerr sharing similar coaching philosophies. They have a good relationship and it can be anticipated that Jackson will be hands on in helping out his new coach. Jackson has said he won’t force his new coach to run the triangle, but he does believe in system basketball. Kerr’s experience playing under Jackson, Gregg Popovich, Cotton Fitzsimmons and Lute Olson won’t automatically make him a good coach, but it can’t hurt either. He is sure to have picked up a few things here and there that will be useful to him.

    As general manager in Phoenix, Kerr generally did a good job in talent evaluation. His Shaquille O’Neal experiment failed miserably, as did his drafting of Earl Clark 14th overall (Once a Knick, Always a Knick!), but he did draft Robin Lopez and Goran Dragic. He also traded Boris Diaw and Raja Bell for Jason Richardson and Jared Dudley. That move might seem insignificant now, but it worked out well for Phoenix. Both players were key contributors to the Suns improbable run to the Western Conference Finals in 2009. If hired by the Knicks, Kerr won’t have final say on personnel, but it’s encouraging to see that he’s had success in that department in the past.

    Because he’s never coached before, Kerr’s coaching style and schematic philosophies are relatively unknown. Listening to him call a game on TNT doesn’t tell you much. However, Kerr was on the Below the Rim podcast with Brian Windhorst in early-March and gave some insight into his coaching philosophies.

    When asked about Phoenix coach Jeff Hornacek, Kerr likened himself to his former teammate.

    “I think Jeff and I are a lot alike personality wise.” Kerr said. “I think I would have a similar demeanor to him on the sidelines and I think I see the game in a similar way.”

    Windhorst noted how the NBA has shifted to a more offensive game with a greater emphasis on up-tempo play. He asked Kerr whether he’d have his teams playing up-tempo.

    “I don’t think I would be seven seconds or less. I love watching the Pacers play. Maybe I’m in the minority.” Kerr said. “I like size. I like teams that can put two bigs on the floor and defend the paint and still stretch the floor offensively and put a good attack on the court at that end.”

    It’s not surprising that Kerr isn’t a SSOL guy. In 2008, he and Mike D’Antoni clashed over philosophical differences. Ultimately, the situation resulted in D’Antoni leaving and joining the Knicks.

    “I don’t believe in four guards and a big.” Kerr said. “I still believe in playing two bigs, but if you can have the type of versatility where you can accomplish both, I think everyone still wants to push the ball.”

    For Kerr, the most important part of any offense is ball movement.

    “But the biggest thing is ball movement on offense; forcing the defense to react and respond. I just hate isolation basketball. And so as a coach I would absolutely demand a lot of ball movement and spacing.” he said. “It’s why I love watching Dallas play and San Antonio and Portland. Those teams just flow and there’s a beauty to the game and that’s what I would aspire to as a coach.”

    In hearing Kerr talk like this, you see where him and Jackson agree philosophically. The triangle is a system based around ball movement and having multiple players who can play in the post. It’s also an offense that emphasizes pushing the tempo. Jackson’s Laker teams of the 2000s played at an average pace of 95.21 possessions a game. That’s not blistering fast, but it certainly isn’t slow. It’s encouraging to hear Kerr talk about floor spacing. With defenses evolving schematically and players more athletic than ever, spacing the floor is monumentally important to any successful NBA offense. Of course, being around the game as much as he is, Kerr should understand this as well as anyone.

    Even if Carmelo Anthony re-signs, the Knicks aren’t going to compete for a championship next season. In that regard, they’re well suited for a more inexperienced coach. Because Kerr has never coached before, there will be an adjustment period. That is especially true if he’s implementing the triangle; which is complex and takes a while to fully implement. However, assuming ownership doesn’t muck things up, Jackson will likely demonstrate patience with his new coach. He rebuilt the Lakers in the mid-2000s. He understands that building a championship team is a process. Jackson may be able to accelerate that process in the summer of 2015, but until then his hands are pretty much tied.

    If the Knicks were right on the cusp of contending, the conversation would be different. But as is, the Knicks are a team that can afford to, and probably should, bring in a younger, inexperienced coach. And as Brooklyn did with Kidd, Jackson will likely surround his new coach with experienced assistants.

    While Kerr was the general manager in Phoenix, Bill Cartwright was an assistant under both Terry Porter and Alvin Gentry. Cartrwright’s name is one that has been thrown out there in the Knicks coaching search. Of course, Cartwright was one of Jackson’s guys in Chicago. Whether Kerr and Cartwright have a close relationship is unknown, but the fact that they’ve at least been part of the same organization before is noteworthy. You get the feel that Kerr and Jackson just have great synergy, something that has obviously been missing in the Knick organization for a long time. There will be skepticism surrounding his hire, if it comes to fruition, but that’s true of nearly all coaches. He’s got a good relationship with Jackson and he’s a smart guy; he’s a good fit for the Knicks. And in Kerr’s own words, he “hates” isolation basketball. Even the biggest skeptics have to like that.