“Both Golden State and the Knicks were terrific to deal with, and they both made very generous offers. This wasn't a decision about money, or trying to get the last dollar. In the end, for Steve, this was based on lifestyle and family,” Kerr’s agent, Mike Tannenbaum, told ESPN New York’s Ian O’Connor. “That was a huge, huge factor in choosing Golden State. Now his family is a short flight away, and that was an extremely important thing for Steve.”
The Warriors signed Kerr to a five-year, $25 million contract. The Knicks’ highest offer was four years, $20 million, including incentives, a league source told O'Connor. So it’s fair to assume that money at least played some role in Kerr’s decision.
But, as Tannenbaum notes, there were other factors involved as well.
Coaching Golden State allows Kerr to stay close to his San Diego-based family and his daughter, who plays volleyball at Cal-Berkley.
The Warriors also give Kerr an opportunity to compete at a high level more immediately than the Knicks.
Golden State is coming off of a 51-win season and boasts one of the top back courts in the NBA in Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. The Knicks won 37 games last season, missed the playoffs for the first time in four years and their top player, Carmelo Anthony, will test free agency this season.
Tannenbaum told O’Connor that Kerr is “excited” about the “organization” and “his chance to win at Golden State.”
“It was a long process, and Steve went through a lot of different feelings, and there wasn’t any magical moment where he made the decision,” Tannenbaum, the ex-Jets GM, said. “The more he thought about it, the more he just felt that everything about Golden State felt right to him.”
But it was more than just “fit” for Kerr.
A league source familiar with the team's thinking told ESPN New York that Golden State emphasized to Kerr that established coaches such as Larry Brown and Mike D'Antoni didn't fare well under the Knicks and owner James Dolan.
One source familiar with the process said this also factored into Kerr's decision.