Team president Phil Jackson's search for a new coaching staff has led him to Jerry Stackhouse and Bill Cartwright.
Stackhouse made an appearance on The Anthony Donahue Show Monday night and revealed that he expected to meet with Jackson about a possible position this week. Though he was unsure if the Zen Master would offer him a job, he expressed a strong interest in returning to the NBA as a coach, per ESPN New York's Ian Begley.
"I'd love to coach," he said. "The pro level is where I think I'd be best. I know what I didn't want to play against so I think I'm a better defensive coach than an offensive coach."
Careful, Jerry. The last "defensive specialist" New York hired was Mike Woodson, who, by the time he left, ran the Knicks' defense aground using incontestably simplistic, decidedly ineffective networks of switching and superfluous double-teams.
Perhaps Stackhouse will be more in tune with modern-day defensive tactics. He spent last season with the Brooklyn Nets, and he is only one year removed from his playing career.
Cartwright, meanwhile, also confirmed that he has been speaking with Jackson.
"I've been in contact with Phil and hopefully that works out the right way," Cartwright said on SiriusXM NBA Radio (via Begley). "I'm a big believer. In my life I'm kind of guided to where I'm supposed to be and if I'm supposed to be there, I'll be there."
Contact with Cartwright is considered a forerunner for the hiring of Steve Kerr, who remains the favorite to replace Woodson. As the New York Daily News' Mitch Lawrence noted previously, Cartwright and Kerr have an extensive history:
They were in Chicago in the late 1990s, with Cartwright serving under Jackson as an assistant coach, and Kerr playing for the final two Bulls title teams of the late 1990s with Michael Jordan.
When Kerr took over the general manager duties in Phoenix, he hired Cartwright to be on the Suns' coaching staff.
Cartwright worked for the Suns for four seasons. All told, he has spent 13 seasons as an assistant coach in Chicago, New Jersey and Phoenix.
If he joins the Knicks, Cartwright is expected to become their "first lieutenant" under Kerr, a job Bleacher Report's Joe Flynn believes he is fully capable of undertaking:
If the Knicks do indeed hire Kerr, Cartwright would make an ideal lieutenant. Unlike Kerr, who has never been a head coach at any level, Cartwright has more than two seasons of experience coaching the Bulls from 2001 to 2004. He wasn't successful (lifetime 51-100 record), but he can at least provide Kerr with experienced counsel.
Every coaching decision—from Cartwright to Stackhouse—likely rides on Kerr accepting the job New York is dangling in front of him. All indications are that he will inevitably leave his post with TNT, but the location of his next gig remains in doubt.
After canning head coach Mark Jackson, the Golden State Warriors are expected to make a play for Kerr, according to Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski. Kerr apparently has ties to Warriors owner Joe Lacob, per Marc Berman of the New York Post, and may be attracted to the idea of coaching on the West Coast.
Golden State also has a more championship-ready team than New York. When healthy, the Warriors are one of the Western Conference's most dangerous clubs.
But the Warriors don't have the Zen Master.
Kerr won three titles playing within Jackson's triangle offense, and while the Warriors roster is younger and more talented, the Western Conference remains a maze of powerhouses. The feeble Eastern Conference is more open, which arguably gives the Knicks a higher conference ceiling than the Warriors, barring any significant roster changes and assuming Carmelo Anthony remains in New York.
Expect Kerr to make his decision now that the first round is over, and his options are more clear. Once he picks which team he'll coach, dominoes will start to fall, beginning with the sideline fates of Cartwright and Stackhouse, among many others.
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