Update from Tuesday, April 29, by Adam Fromal
Meetings move quickly in New York.
Steve Kerr and Phil Jackson have spoken with one another, and now the Knicks are already attempting to move forward with the negotiations that would have the TNT analyst swap his microphone for a clipboard.
Sources told ESPN.com on Tuesday that the intention of new Knicks president Phil Jackson is try to secure Kerr as his first coaching hire by early next month. Which would theoretically soften the blow for the announcer's current employer to withstand losing its No. 1 analyst in the midst of the playoffs.
Kerr is considered one of the bigger names available to join the coaching ranks this offseason, and the possibility of a few more jobs opening up may be forcing New York's hand. The franchise can't afford to lose its top candidate to the Oklahoma City Thunder or Indiana Pacers if Scott Brooks and Frank Vogel are unceremoniously fired after first-round exits. Just hypothetically, of course.
Apparently we might not have to wait until the playoffs are over to get a sneak preview of the 2014 offseason.
--End of update--
With Phil Jackson in, Mike Woodson out and the New York Knicks in search of a cultural reformation, the team appears to be inching closer toward a solution on the bench.
For weeks, speculation has run rampant regarding Steve Kerr taking over as head coach of the Knicks, and according to the New York Post's Peter Botte, Jackson and the current TNT analyst recently met to discuss the latter's potential future with the club:
"We talked about the coaching position and we'll keep talking," Kerr told the Daily News on Sunday on his way into Barclays Center, where he called Game 4 of the Nets-Raptors series for TNT. "I've made it pretty clear the past couple of years that I'd like to get into coaching, and now it's sort of out there. It's like anything else, you have to explore it and that's what we're doing."
Per Botte, Kerr added that he's always had his eye on a head-coaching position, although that vision is just now coming into focus: “I’ve known for a while, since I’ve left Phoenix as general manager (in 2007) that I wanted to get into coaching," Kerr said.
After a five-year run with the Chicago Bulls from 1993 to 1998, Kerr's intimately familiar with the principles of the triangle offense Jackson would undoubtedly love to install in New York, a sentiment Bleacher Report's Dan Favale relayed after news broke that the two sides were "deep into discussions," according to USA Today's Jeff Zillgitt:
At this point, Kerr's hire seems like a formality. He's been linked to Woodson's job for a while, he won three NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls while playing under Jackson and he knows the triangle offense, a system the Zen Master is expected to have the Knicks implement now that he's in charge.
However, it's worth noting that the Knicks may have a number of names in mind for the job, as Bleacher Report's Howard Beck explained just last week. One intriguing figure, according to Beck, is Iowa State's Fred Hoiberg, whose preexisting knowledge of the triangle could be a nice fit with Jackson's systemic preferences.
Following a 37-45 showing during Woodson's second full season at the helm, Jackson moved quickly and decisively, providing fans with hope that a philosophical renaissance could take place under the new boss.
What remains to be seen, though, is whether Kerr—or whoever emerges as Jackson's choice to lead the revolution—is able to do so with the roster as currently constructed.
Financially hamstrung by the burdensome contracts of Amar'e Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani and with few young assets or draft picks at its disposal, New York will need to get creative in its pursuit of a playoff spot after a one-year hiatus from the postseason party.
And although the potential hire of a rookie head coach could be a major risk for the organization, there's no doubt that letting Kerr take the reins with Jackson's guidance and complete support bodes well for a team that's shown a propensity for seeking out retreads in the past.
Call it bold, but Jackson's vision is becoming increasingly clear with each passing day. The franchise needs a culture change in the worst kind of way, and Kerr can help create the 180-degree shift necessary to help one of the Association's most illustrious franchises flourish once again.
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