- Ian Begley, ESPN Staff Writer
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A source with knowledge of the Warriors' thinking told ESPN New York on Wednesday evening that the team believes it has a "legit shot" to land Kerr as its next head coach. The organization is hoping that Kerr's ties to president Rick Welts will "bring [Kerr] over since they are so close."
Kerr has several ties to the Warriors organization, including strong relationships with owner Joe Lacob, son Kirk Lacob (who works in Golden State's front office) and Welts, with whom Kerr worked closely while general manager of the Phoenix Suns.
Despite the full-court press applied by Golden State, the Knicks are still the favorite to land Kerr as the next head coach, a league source told ESPNNewYork.com's Ian O'Connor on Wednesday evening. The source cited Kerr's respect for Phil Jackson and said those feelings outweigh the lure of taking a Golden State job that would leave him closer to his California-based family.
"Unless something changes," the source said, "the relationship with Jackson is a very big part of this, and that's the way it looks like it will go."
The Warriors are well aware the Knicks have an advantage over them in their pursuit of Kerr due to his ties to Jackson. According to Yahoo! Sports, the team has also reached out to Stan Van Gundy to talk about its coaching vacancy.
As far as Kerr goes, the Warriors, according to a source, will try to sell him on the benefits of coaching a team coming off a 51-win season and one that boasts one of the best young backcourts in the NBA with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.
"They're selling the situation more than the money because they know they can't outbid [Knicks owner] James Dolan," the source said.
The Warriors, according to the source, will point out that other Knicks coaches who have worked under Dolan, including Larry Brown, Lenny Wilkens and Mike D'Antoni, have been fired or resigned. The thought process behind pointing that out is this: If that happened to experienced coaches, then what will happen to Kerr, who has never coached before?
But Kerr's ties to Jackson might outweigh that factor.
The Warriors are also a bit wary Kerr might be using his talks with them as leverage for his potential deal with the Knicks, the source said.
In addition to the Warriors and Knicks, the Utah Jazz are the latest team trying to barge into the race for Kerr, a source told ESPN.com's Marc Stein.
The Los Angeles Lakers also have a head-coaching vacancy, but, as of last week, Kerr wasn't giving Los Angeles strong consideration, according to a source with knowledge of Kerr's thinking.
Kerr and Jackson met to discuss the Knicks' coaching vacancy late last month. Kerr won three titles with the Chicago Bulls while playing for Jackson and said last month the Knicks wouldn't have any interest in him were it not for Jackson's presence.
Kerr called Game 2 of the Oklahoma City Thunder-Los Angeles Clippers game on Tuesday night. He was expected to head home to discuss the job openings with his family, so a decision could come as early as Thursday.
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4dSteve Ilardi and Jeremias Engelmann