- Ian Begley, ESPN New York Writer
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Marv Albert has no doubt that Steve Kerr can coach in the NBA.
"He would make a tremendous coach, whatever he decides to do," Albert, Kerr's broadcast partner on TNT, said in a phone interview earlier this week. "He has all the qualities, in terms of like-ability, and what he knows about the game. He's been a general manager (and) he was a player who also knows Xs and Os. I think he'd be terrific."
One thing that worries Albert, the former voice of the Knicks, is team owner James Dolan.
Albert says that Dolan needs to leave president Phil Jackson and whomever he hires as his head coach “alone.”
“Dolan has to let them, leave them alone. That's No. 1. And it hasn't happened in the past,” Albert said.
Dolan has a reputation -- deserved or not -- of meddling in his basketball executive’s decisions. One of the most well-known examples is Dolan's role in the Carmelo Anthony trade. Dolan reportedly took over negotiations from then-president and GM Donnie Walsh and executed a trade for Anthony that Walsh didn’t support.
On the day Jackson was hired, Dolan said he’d give Jackson full autonomy over basketball decisions, ceding power “willingly and gratefully.”
"I am by no means an expert in basketball," Dolan said at Jackson’s introductory press conference. "I'm a fan, but my expertise lies in managing companies and new businesses…. I'm happy now that we have the team of Phil and [general manager] Steve [Mills] to do that, and my whole job here now is supporting them to win a championship."
According to various reports, Dolan and Jackson have had disagreements over some personnel decisions, leading to speculation that Dolan hasn’t given Jackson the full autonomy that he promised.
The Daily News, citing an unnamed team source, reported last month that Jackson was looking to remove several staff members from the organization but ran into opposition from Dolan.
ESPN's Stephen A. Smith said last month on SportsCenter that there was a "discrepancy" between Jackson and Dolan over the team's medical staff. Jackson, according to Smith, was looking to cut ties with the team's medical staff and Dolan said the team's medical personnel were "untouchable."
In response to the Daily News report, Jackson said, “As far as Jim Dolan's promise or his premise when I took this job that's he's going to leave basketball decisions up to me, really, he's been loyal to that promise.”
Albert worked for decades as the voice of the Knicks but was reportedly fired by Dolan because the owner didn’t like that he was critical of the team. He hopes that Dolan keeps his promise to Jackson.
“Hopefully in this case it will [work] because he should have respect of Phil,” Albert said of Dolan.
Albert, like many others close to Kerr, believes the former Phoenix Suns GM will succeed on the bench in part because of his ability to communicate.
“From his work on TV, you can tell he can communicate. he's extremely well-liked by everybody,” Albert said. “...[Communication] is probably the most important quality that a coach can have. That's No. 1. To be able to get the attention and respect of the players.”
Kerr is believed to be mulling over opportunities to coach the Knicks and Warriors. ESPN.com reported on Saturday night, though, that the Warriors were increasingly pessimistic about their chances of landing Kerr.
So Kerr may be choosing between the Knicks’ offer and returning to TNT to work with Albert.
"We'd obviously hate to lose him," Albert said.
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Marv Albert has no doubt that Steve Kerr can coach in the NBA. "He would make a tremendous coach, whatever he decides to do," Albert, Kerr's broadcast partner on TNT, said in a phone interview earlier this week.