Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Losing Steve is a bad oKerrance (or, Steve throws Knicks a Kerrve)

Steve Kerr’s shocking decision to spurn the Knicks is bad mojo for Knicks fans. It’s not because the Knicks missed out on Kerr, necessarily. Indeed many have pointed out that the man has never coached a single game, so there’s no basis to conclude that he might be passable in that role (other than his reputation and the fact that several teams apparently coveted him over the last few weeks). But that rejoinder is far afield of the point. Losing out on Kerr could mean a couple of things which both portend badly.

First, as Robert touched upon, Kerr’s decision seriously tarnishes the sheen that had enveloped Phil, who the Knicks are paying $60,000,000 over 5 years because of his gravitational pull and charisma. The idea is that these characteristics should constitute enough persuasive authority to enable him to land his first target, in any context, every time. Well, it didn’t take long for that perception to implode (actually I guess it kind of took awhile for Kerr to play Phil like a fiddle). Quick: Who was the last coveted target to say no to Pat Riley?

Now the groundwork has been laid for players and executives to turn their back on Phil and echo Kerr by citing their families and vague “situations”. Of course, principally I am referring to Melo. But beyond that, LeBron, Kevin Love, Durant, whoever. Each can plausibly think “This guy couldn’t even land HIS OWN GUY, who, incidentally, hasn’t coached a day in his life, and I’m supposed to trust him to convince people to join me here?”

As an aside: We learned from Chris Herring that when Carmelo and Phil fine dined at American Cut, Phil focused on selling Kerr to Carmelo. How embarrassing. Does Phil need a second dinner now to sell Melo on someone else and to explain how, oops, he couldn’t get his initial plan off the ground?

The second reason Kerr’s decision to Heisman the ‘bockers is just as, if not more disconcerting:

I don’t think I need to spell out why Dolan’s meddling is a bad thing. We’ve all been through some terrible times as Knicks fans during his reign. And while it’s perfectly acceptable to take issue with Isola’s personality or tone (and I have a regrettable history in this regard), or the fact that he may have an ax to grind, or his body odor (dunno, never met him, but maybe), I generally don’t believe he makes things up out of whole cloth.

I’m going to sink down a terrible rabbit hole now, ugh. There have already been reports that Dolan stood in the way of Phil’s move to purge a medical staff that occupies the same space as the Mets on the effectiveness scale. These have now been followed up by reports that Dolan “sabotage[d]” Phil’s pursuit of his favored coach, piercing his aura of infallibility. And these events have transpired during what should be Phil and Dolan’s honeymoon. It makes me wonder, if true, why Phil would not just pack up his yoga mats and incense and head back to Santa Monica, and await other lucrative opportunities. I think that that is what I would do.

But even if Dolan isn’t actively undermining Jackson – and a few weeks ago, Phil insisted that Dolan has kept his promise – the specter of Dolan remains, and will potentially always remain. As Harvey Araton wrote this AM:

…While Jackson came calling with his 11 championship coaching rings and his illustrious past, he also brought the baggage of a new partner. Guarantees of autonomy notwithstanding, he works for James L. Dolan, the chairman of Madison Square Garden, whose record as the ultimate (and meddling) boss of the Knicks also speaks for itself….[Kerr] worried about Dolan’s patience, his willingness to allow Jackson the freedom to potentially let Anthony — Dolan’s signature acquisition and the Knicks’ only brand-name star — leave as a free agent this summer should they fail to agree on how much of a hometown discount, if any, Anthony should accept to give Jackson salary cap flexibility.

In doing his homework and speaking to many people about Dolan’s methodology, Kerr became concerned about an inevitable clash between ownership and the fiercely independent and occasionally iconoclastic Jackson.

The cautionary part of the story is that while Kerr did not believe Dolan obstructed Jackson in the pursuit, Dolan impacted the decision by merely being who he is. In planning his next play, the smart coach must always weigh the likelihood of past being prelude.

39 comments on “Losing Steve is a bad oKerrance (or, Steve throws Knicks a Kerrve)

  1. tastycakes

    So Kerr was the impatient one here and still it’s the Knicks organizational failure that he didn’t sign?

  2. Farfa

    As an aside: We learned from Chris Herring that when Carmelo and Phil fine dined at American Cut, Phil focused on selling Kerr to Carmelo. How embarrassing. Does Phil need a second dinner now to sell Melo on someone else and to explain how, oops, he couldn’t get his initial plan off the ground?

    I’m not worried about losing Kerr or about the scope of Dolan’s meddling, but if what Herring reports is true (and it seems to me that Herring is no Isola) this really hurts. It hurts because if Phil was true in his quest to land Kerr’s services, he failed on his first and likely easiest task. Quite a way to tarnish Jackson’s reputation.

  3. tastycakes

    I’m bummed that Kerr didn’t come because I think he’ll grow into a great coach and I’d like somebody with intelligence and patience to help establish a winning culture over time. For the love of Christ, aren’t we over quick fixes at this point?

    Scumsucking shitheels like Frank Isola feel the need to trumpet their agenda over reality, no matter how sober the reality might be.

    Sober reality:

    - Golden State is in a better position to win over the next 5 years.
    - It’s closer to Kerr’s home and family.
    - They offered a bit more money and security.
    - Unlike the Knicks, their best player is under contract.

    I fucking hate defending Jim Dolan because he’s a clown but spending money has never ever ever been a problem with him. Kerr might have been great, but he also might have failed, so who the hell knows? Maybe we hire Derek Fisher and Melo leaves and the guy we draft #1 overall in 2015 and Fisher combine to form the foundation for a 15 year Spurs-ian dynasty… who the hell knows? Sometimes it’s good to NOT over-reach.

  4. Z

    Well, this is too bad. Kerr is going to be a good coach, and he would have been a breath of fresh air for the tortured Knickerbloggers that have drowned in the buffoonery of their favorite franchise for too long now.

    But there’s not much mystery about Kerr’s decision. It was Dolan’s fault. Not directly, but Dolan put the Knicks in the ridiculous position they are in, and when given a choice between coaching Steph Curry or Ray Felton, it’s not really much of a choice at all.

    Steve Kerr put it best in 2012, when asked if he’d consider coaching the Charlotte Bobcats. He said: “If you’re gonna coach, you better have players, and they don’t have players.”

  5. johnno

    ‘It was Dolan’s fault.”
    This is only true if you think that Kerr is lying when he says that it was very important to him to be close to his kids and that he didn’t want to move 3,000 miles away from them. Believe it or not, some people — even pro athletes and coaches — do take family into consideration when making career decisions.

  6. george from brooklyn

    The posters on this site make more sense than the “working” press, thank goodness.

    As to the “Herring observation”, why would anyone, let alone, Phil, who has an excellent combination of common sense and “street smarts”, attempt to sell Anthony, or anyone else on an unproven coach, when he’s the guy with 13 rings ! and the main attraction.

    As to Isola, he’s been a captive in Dolan’s “informational gulag” for 11 years or so, so his patience with the Dolan machine is understandable.

    As to Dolan, all the cards are in Phil’s hands so why mess with anything now. Additionally, while no fan by any means, he’s shown a proclivity to both overpay and keep around people who make little to no contributions to the current Knicks/Rangers efforts, money doesn’t appear to be an object.

    Lastly, whoever coaches the Knicks will significantly better off, because Phil will be his mentor. I personally think Derek Fisher is a much better selection.

  7. JK47

    It’s not hard to understand Kerr’s motivation.

    There is more than a 0% chance that the James Dolan/Phil Jackson marriage goes up in flames, and ends up a complete embarrassment. Coaching the Knicks is a massive risk.

    Golden State may not be an ideal scenario, but it doesn’t have the same train wreck potential you’re dealing with when you’re talking about the Knicks. Ain’t nobody gonna come here for less money and fewer years when there is a non-James Dolan owned team offering him a job.

  8. DRed

    Just go get The Mayor. Great 3 point shooter. Played for the Bulls. But this one actually has coaching experience.

  9. domiknick

    Just go get The Mayor. Great 3 point shooter. Played for the Bulls. But this one actually has coaching experience.

    “‘The Mayor’ of Gotham” does have a cool ring to it.

  10. d-mar

    I see Kerr possibly having a Doug Collins type of coaching career – very smart guy, great color analyst but never seemed to connect with his players and enjoyed limited success.

    Or maybe that’s just wishful thinking now that he’s not our coach

  11. bickerbockers

    Steve Kerr put it best in 2012, when asked if he’d consider coaching the Charlotte Bobcats. He said: “If you’re gonna coach, you better have players, and they don’t have players.”

    I think this is what it ultimately comes down to. I originally thought that Phil’s mystique would be enough to woo Kerr (because if he can’t woo his own protege who can he woo???), but that GS job is just too good to pass up. Near his home, a fantastic roster, and I can’t believe I’m saying this but, more money. I was pretty shocked when I heard the news, but then as I thought about the fact that we really don’t know how Kerr will do as a coach, I started to calm down. And that last part really got to me. The Knicks were reluctant to spend money. Are they actually trying to make smart decisions now?

  12. BigBlueAL

    I just saw Isiah Thomas on 1st Take and of course they asked him who Phil should hire as head coach for the Knicks now that Kerr said no. No joke, Isiah mentioned Mike Woodson and Bill Laimbeer. Woodson apparently wouldve been the perfect coach to work for Phil Jackson according to Isiah.

  13. Unreason

    The posts in the earlier thread about Kevin Ollie are interesting. Didn’t know any of that. Hoiberg has the CV, but I don’t know enough about him to guess how well he’d lead in such a player-dominated league.

    I’m curious about Chris Mullins for his potential Ollie-type impact. As a player he was famous for inspiring others to work extra hard. So he seems promising from a personnel development angle. He also seems pragmatic, humble and smart enough that he might learn and mature quickly as a coach under Jackson. And of course there’s the accent.

  14. KnickfaninNJ

    Suggesting Mike Woodson makes no sense to me. But Bill Laimbeer, as I recall, is a successful coach in the WNBA. It’s an interesting suggestion.

    To quote from Wikipedia

    “In the middle of the 2002 WNBA season, Laimbeer took over the head coaching position for the Detroit Shock. A year later, he led the franchise to its first WNBA championship and was named Coach of the Year that year. It marked the first time in WNBA history that a team other than Los Angeles or Houston won the title. On September 9, 2006 Laimbeer led the Shock to their second WNBA championship against the Sacramento Monarchs in five games. Two years later, on October 5, 2008, Laimbeer led the team to its third league championship in six years by defeating San Antonio.”

  15. DRed

    No joke, Isiah mentioned Mike Woodson

    The Mike Woodson we just fired, or is there another one?

  16. Ibai

    This thing about Phil losing reputation because a guy opted to coach in a better personal and profesional situation is ridiculous. Phils presence alone has made people take the Knicks more seriously but he can’t change the current situation, which is pretty bad. Pat Riley didn’t convince Lebron with his aura, he sold him Bosh and Wade.

  17. thenamestsam

    The Mike Woodson we just fired, or is there another one?

    This had me cracking up.

    I don’t hate the Laimbeer idea honestly. Seems like he’d be a good coach. What I don’t understand is why seemingly every name that’s being floated in the media is someone Phil has a personal connection with. I like the idea of Hoiberg or Ollie, or even the Miami assistant Fizdale, but supposedly we’re looking at Luke Walton, Tyronn Lue and Derek Fisher? I hope Phil is prepared to be a little more open minded about this than just looking in the pool of guys who were scrubs on his championship teams.

  18. lavor postell

    Lue I think also was the head of player development when he was in Boston. He also has experience on Alving Gentry’s staff in Phoenix.

  19. dtrickey

    I am a little bummed we missed on Kerr, but I don’t really think it was that big of a failure on Phils part. Given family, GSW roster and his relationship with GSW front office, New York was potentially going to be a hard sell once they became an option.

    Lue seems like an interesting option and Fisher if he retires. I think at this stage there’s definite guys that already have a line through them, but also plenty of decent options. In summation, burritos are delicious and I have no idea what we’ll go with as plan B.

  20. Kahnzy

    Once again Washington is panicking down the stretch.

    Overall, I didn’t think Wittman did that bad a job, but this panic mode the Wizards get into late in games is very telling. Everyone keeps saying they’re a young and inexperienced team, but other than Wall and Beal that is simply not true. I like this team and I hope to see them in the playoffs again, but they need to get a grip.

  21. Z-man

    So despite the naysayers, the Pacers are in the ECF with home court, in no small part due to Prance Stephenson. Hope they snuff LeBron and then get whacked by whoever comes out of the west.

  22. d-mar

    I feel like the Heat should take out the Pacers in 5, but they like to make things difficult on themselves, so it might go 6. But there’s no way they let it get to a game 7 in Indiana.

  23. hoolahoop

    Got to give the knicks credit for knowing how to entertain without winning games.
    They give a mega-contract to a GM/President with zero front office experience, who fails to hire his only choice for coach, a protoge with zero coaching experience.

    Now, Luke Walton’s name is being floated by the media. I’d rather have Bill Walton. At least we’d have a couple of Deadheads running the show.

    And this just started.
    This blog is more entertaining than actual knicks games, and it looks like we’re going to have plenty of material to rant about this season.
    If you can take a step back, it’s truly hilarious.

  24. Cock Jowles Has Predicted the Last Three Knicks Seasons

    I gave up when they signed Amar’e. Join the party.

  25. Mars

    The refs have been making some good calls but overall the officiating in this years playoffs have been extremely questionable

  26. Donnie Walsh

    if you think that Kerr is lying when he says that it was very important to him to be close to his kids

    The Bay Area is 500 miles from San Diego– about as far as New York is from Charlotte NC, Columbus OH, or Quebec City. It’s not exactly close to home for him.

  27. Kahnzy

    The Bay Area is 500 miles from San Diego– about as far as New York is from Charlotte NC, Columbus OH, or Quebec City. It’s not exactly close to home for him.

    3,000>500

  28. domiknick

    The Bay Area is 500 miles from San Diego– about as far as New York is from Charlotte NC, Columbus OH, or Quebec City. It’s not exactly close to home for him.

    As a fellow San Diegan, I can assure you that for someone of Kerr’s financial stature, FLYING from SD to SF will be easier and quicker than DRIVING from SD to LA. If he wants, he can have dinner with his daughter in the bay and be in San Diego in time to check his high school aged son’s homework.

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