Friday, May 30, 2014
Phil: Kerr had accepted Knicks job
By Ian Begley
Phil Jackson said Steve Kerr agreed to take the Knicks job ... before the Warriors called.
GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Another day, another interesting twist in the Knicks' coaching search.
Phil Jackson revealed Friday that he and his first choice for the Knicks' head-coaching job, Steve Kerr, had reached an agreement. Things fell through for Kerr and the Knicks, though, when the former TNT broadcaster started talking to the Golden State Warriors.
"Unfortunately for him, he committed to me the day before the job opened with Golden State. So I had to kind of release him to actually go to [the Warriors] job and say, 'You have to do what's right for yourself,'" Jackson said. "I understood entirely the process he was going through to have that job open up."
Kerr ultimately turned the Knicks down and signed with Golden State. The Knicks' offer to Kerr was for four years and $20 million. Kerr inked a five-year, $25 million deal with the Warriors.
Jackson on Friday said he didn't think the difference between the Knicks' and Warriors' offers was a deciding factor for Kerr. Jackson acknowledged Golden State was "a better job" for Kerr.
"There was plenty of things in the contract where he could have come here and been very satisfied. So that really wasn't the issue," Jackson said. "The issue was about California, and the issue was about -- to be perfectly honest, it’s a better job for him. He’s a California guy. [The Warriors are] a group of guys that are for him, been in the playoffs, been there, they have a really good operating team right now. We're still a team that didn't make the playoffs, have to put together a roster. I'm not saying we have to rebuild, per se, but we have to build a competitive team, whereas that team -- what did they get, to the semifinals last year? -- and this year they got bumped in the first round. But that’s -- playoff experience is important."
Jackson had no problem with Kerr's decision.
"I'm a person that believes that things happen for the best in people’s lives," the Knicks' president said. "That was something he kind of thought would be a good fit for him. So that's good, we're happy for him."
With Kerr out of the picture, Jackson will turn to other candidates. Derek Fisher is believed to be his top candidate at this point.
On Friday, Jackson referred to the Thunder guard as "a person that's on my list of guys that could be very good candidates for this job."
He hopes to have the coaching search wrapped up by July.