Yeah. After waiting for what seems like an eternity for the fair-haired Dane, Hamlet Kerr, to make up his noble mind, it seems as if he’s found a far prettier gal at the bar to go home with:
Steve Kerr has reached agreement on a five-year, $25 million contract to coach the Golden State Warriors, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Kerr passed on an opportunity to coach the New York Knicks and rejoin his former coach Phil Jackson, who is now running New York’s front office.
Honestly, we should’ve realized that if it was taking thiiiiiiiis long, something was up, and that perhaps he wasn’t as gung-ho to take the job as all the reports led us to believe. I’m sure we’ll get to spend the next few days soaking in scurrilous rumors as to why. I think the fact that the Warriors have a vastly superior roster is one, and the desire by Kerr to hang around the left coast, and (amazingly) more money. Someone (I’m assuming it wasn’t Phil Jackson) didn’t want to pony up some serious coin for a completely untested coach. That does make a ton of sense, in a vacuum. But once again, the only value Dolan had was an owner was his willingness to put a serious dent in MSG’s corporate ledger, and if he’s not going to do that, well…
(Yes, I’m assuming it was Dolan that refused to pay Kerr a King’s ransom.)
So yeah, this feels like yet another football straight to the groin, if only because Jackson’s stewardship of this wonky, so-called franchise was supposed to be a thing that’d convince people–coaches, free agents, good food vendors, whomever–that New York was a dandy place to call home.
To see him whiff this badly right out of the gate…well, it’s not good. If there is one silver lining in this fecal porridge (and don’t eat porridge that has heavy metals in them. Pro tip), it’s that maybe Phil will embark on an actual, honest-to-goodness coaching search with multiple interviews and whatnot. There are plenty of nifty candidates out there. College dudes like Kevin Ollie and Fred Hoiberg, a soon-to-be retiree like Derek Fisher, a really good, unheralded assistant like Tyronn Lue (really!) or David Fizdale, every ex-player that ever toiled under Jackson, and probably some folks we haven’t ever heard of.
I’d also like to state for the record that I am available and interested in the position. What I wrote in February 2012 is as true now as it was then:
More importantly, let’s get real, Jimbo. Unless Cablevision scientists have figured out a way to bring Red Holzman back from the dead, there isn’t a coach alive that would be able to pull this so-called team out of the gutter. I’ve got a much better solution. Why attempt the Sisyphean task of fixing the Knicks’ myriad, crippling flaws when it’s so much easier to simply change the narrative? This is America, after all. Here, we don’t sell the steak, we sell the sizzle! In place of the justly-deserved groans about Amar’e and Melo being unable to coexist and/or pinning all our hopes on the over-burdened back of Baron Davis, let’s just make the story about me, the deranged lunatic who will enter a pre-game press conference gnawing on an alley cat found outside the Sbarro’s next to the Garden bellowing, “To defeat Charlotte I must consume the beast’s life force! Bring me the still-beating, fat-clogged heart of Boris Diaw!!”
So, yeah. More Knicks sadz. Go Knicks.
UPDATE 9:37PM: Ian Begley has some sauces ‘splaining why the Kerr-Knicks marriage went south.
A source close to Kerr said the draw of working close to his San Diego home factored heavily into his decision. Another league source with knowledge of the negotiations said the Knicks preferred to sign Kerr to a four-year deal rather than the five-year pact he received from Golden State.
Multiple sources said Kerr told new Knicks president Phil Jackson he chose the Warriors for family reasons. Sources also said that Kerr preferred the Warriors’ job to the Knicks’ job all along, but it was a difficult decision because of his relationship with Jackson.
UPDATE 10:54PM: Some words from Steve himself, via David Aldridge, who originally broke the story. Pretty much everything we’ve said. I’m not entirely convinced it’s the whole story (when is it ever?), but this is Knickstown, Jake. You’re always asking yourself, “”Yes, I’m paranoid — but am I paranoid enough?”
It just felt like the right move on many levels,” Kerr said by phone Wednesday. “They have a good young team. The location is ideal. My daughter goes to Cal and plays volleyball. My oldest son is in college in San Diego and our youngest is a junior in high school. It’s just a short flight for them.”
Kerr said it was “agonizing” the last couple of weeks. Despite the speculation since before the end of the regular season that Kerr would take the New York job, his representatives have only been in talks with the Knicks the last two and a half weeks.
“It was so tantalizing on many levels,” Kerr said. “Number one, Phil Jackson. Number two, the Knicks are a flagship franchise, one of the great franchises in the league. The last two weeks have been agonizing, in talking with Phil and (general manager) Steve Mills. They’ve got really good people there and I do think they’re going to get it turned around there. The Knicks could not have been better in giving me the space to make a decision, especially when I had a game to do every other night.”
Three other teams tried to get in on discussions with Kerr about their teams, but Kerr was committed to seeing the talks with the Knicks through. But he couldn’t get the Warriors out of his mind.
“Ultimately, it was agonizing to say no to Phil because of what I think of him and what he’s done for my career,” said Kerr, who won three titles playing for Jackson in Chicago with the Bulls. “When Phil Jackson asks you to coach the Knicks, how do you say no? I think they’re going to turn it around, but going to be a big undertaking and it’s going to take time. The idea of doing that 3,000 miles from home, it just didn’t feel right.”
“I told Phil, ‘I think I have to pursue this other opportunity,’ Kerr said. “He gave me his blessing. He said go look at it, and do what was in my heart.”
“There’s no question that was one of the attraction points on New York, that’s an easier path,” Kerr said. “The biggest thing for me is, I want to be happy every day. I want to be in partnership with the people on the team. And the one thing that a lot of the coaches that I talked to said was, you have to have talent. And Golden State has talent.”