Steve Kerr again in Warriors' sights
The Golden State Warriors plan to re-engage Steve Kerr in negotiations for their head-coaching job, a source familiar with management's thinking said, but the New York Knicks remain the favorites to land the TNT broadcaster, according to a separate source with knowledge of the Kerr negotiations.
There is no timetable for the Knicks to finalize his hire, but a source with knowledge of the situation told ESPN.com that they would be "shocked" if he ended up anywhere but New York.
The negotiations between Kerr and the Knicks have been in "the final stages" for at least a week. Both Kerr and Knicks president Phil Jackson are busy with other matters at the moment, which is the reason for the delay in finalizing a deal.
The Warriors initially reached out to Kerr shortly after firing Mark Jackson last week.
ESPN.com reported Saturday that the Warriors had cooled on their pursuit of Kerr because they became convinced he was too deep into negotiations with the Knicks.
The Warriors instead focused their efforts on Stan Van Gundy. But the former Orlando Magic coach has reached an agreement in principle with the Detroit Pistons to become their coach and president of basketball operations, sources told ESPN.com's Marc Stein on Tuesday.
That's what led the Warriors to re-engage with Kerr, according to a source familiar with management's plan.
"Given what's happened with Van Gundy, they're going to make another run at him," the source said prior to news of Van Gundy's imminent signing with the Pistons.
Kerr is in Oklahoma City to call Game 5 of the Clippers-Thunder series Tuesday night. Yahoo! Sports, which earlier reported the Warriors' renewed interest in Kerr, said Golden State management would travel to Oklahoma City to make another push for him.
A source told ESPNNewYork.com on Tuesday that Golden State remains aware the Knicks have an advantage in the pursuit of Kerr because of Phil Jackson's relationship with him. Kerr, who has never coached before, won three titles playing for Jackson in Chicago, and the two men remain close.
Kerr's agent, Mike Tannenbaum, has been in direct negotiations with the Knicks, according to a league source.
The Warriors initially tried to sell Kerr on the idea that coaching Golden State, a team coming off a 51-win season and one that boasted one of the top backcourts in the NBA, was preferable to coaching a Knicks team coming off a 37-win season, according to a league source familiar with the team's thinking.
Another factor in Golden State's favor is its proximity to Kerr's hometown of San Diego. Kerr's family resides in San Diego, and the opportunity to stay close to home is a factor in the ex-Phoenix Suns GM's decision.
But a league source told ESPNNewYork.com's Ian O'Connor last week that Kerr's respect for Jackson outweighed the lure of taking the Golden State job.
"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."