The culture change has officially begun for the New York Knicks. Hiring Phil Jackson was a game-changing move for the storied franchise as owner James Dolan finally decided to move aside and let a proven winner lead the Knicks.
Jackson's first move as the new president of the Knicks was parting ways with head coach Mike Woodson and his entire coaching staff. After signing an epic five-year deal worth $60 million, it was clear that the Knicks were serious about making a drastic change with Woodson expected to be the first sent packing.
Although Jackson has proven his worth as the head coach of the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers, this would be the first time the Hall of Famer would take on duties in the front office. Most people expect Jackson to succeed considering his track record of 11 NBA titles as a head coach, but the future remains uncertain for the man considered to be NBA royalty dealing with an extremely difficult situation in New York.
Fortunately, it didn't take long for Jackson to narrow his head coaching search after parting ways with Woodson. Jackson wants to completely change the culture in New York and for good reason and hiring the right leader on the sidelines will be crucial to his success in the immediate future.
According to Marc Stein of ESPN, the Knicks are working toward a deal with current NBA analyst Steve Kerr:
The New York Knicks are trying to complete a deal with TNT's Steve Kerr that would install him as their new coach after the first round of the playoffs, according to sources with knowledge of the talks.
An interesting choice for Jackson as Kerr will be in the same position as the 11-time NBA champion in terms of having no experience with the new job title. All signs point to Kerr being Jackson's guy with an announcement on the hiring likely to happen within the coming weeks.
The real question moving forward is whether Kerr is the right man for the job. There seems to be no doubt in Jackson's mind that his former point guard with the Bulls is exactly what is needed in New York, but with so many viable candidates available like George Karl, Lionel Hollins and Jeff Van Gundy, some remain skeptical.
Despite doubts surrounding the potential hiring of Kerr, the Knicks seem to be on the right track here. The culture change must take place with a drastic overhaul and bringing in Kerr is the right move. Kerr will likely implement Jackson's triangle offense in an attempt to replicate the success it had in Los Angeles and Chicago.
Along with Kerr, expect other Jackson disciples like Jim Cleamons, Frank Hamblen and possible even Kurt Rambis to join the coaching staff over the summer. Kerr's former teammates Ron Harper and Scottie Pippen might also peak the interest of Jackson to fill out the coaching staff.
Needless to say, the Knicks are in the midst of turning things around in New York with Jackson quickly becoming the new face of the franchise. If ultimately hired, Kerr will have a mammoth task ahead of him dealing with the egos and personalities of Carmelo Anthony and JR Smith while trying to implement an offense which has shown great success elsewhere, but isn't for everyone.
Anthony's return or departure will also play a major part in the direction of the team moving forward. The superstar forward seems intent on testing the free agent market, but has hinted at taking a pay cut to stay in New York. Jackson said publicly that he hopes Anthony will stay "true to his word" about being willing to take less money. It remains to be seen if Anthony will do just that if teams like the Bulls and Lakers come calling with lucrative deals this summer.
If Jackson has proven anything over the course of his career, it is that he's been a success everywhere he's been. Kerr will help cement the fact that Jackson's success in the NBA will continue as he's the perfect choice to right the ship in New York after a forgettable season left so much uncertainty heading into the offseason.