Mark Jackson's office may not yet be cleared of all his soapboxes and motivational posters, but the Golden State Warriors don't care. They already have eyes for someone else.
According to a league source, Warriors owner Joe Lacob wants to hire Kerr to replace Mark Jackson, who was fired on Tuesday following three successful seasons as Golden State’s head coach. In fact, the Warriors wasted no time reaching out to Kerr, contacting him less than three hours after Jackson was dismissed. And a source maintains that the Warriors’ job is Kerr’s if he wants it.
Three hours. Wow.
Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski first reported that the Warriors relieved Jackson of his coaching duties Tuesday. He also wrote that they planned to target a number of high-profile candidates, including Kerr, Stan Van Gundy and even Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau.
The Warriors' aggressive interest in Kerr is vexing.
To start, Kerr is a favorite to succeed Mike Woodson as head coach of the New York Knicks. Accepting their longstanding offer would reunite him with team president Phil Jackson, with whom he won three NBA championships during his time as a player with the Chicago Bulls.
Marc Berman of the New York Post portrayed Kerr's New York arrival as a virtual certainty just days ago. But he, like many others, left the door open for Kerr to entertain any Golden State pitch, citing the TV personality's ties to those within the organization:
Kerr has close ties to Golden State owner Joe Lacob and team executive Rick Welts, a former Suns president when Kerr was the Phoenix general manager.
Kerr was set to hire Lacob’s son, Kirk, four years ago as a front-office intern, but Kerr left for TNT. Kirk Lacob now is the Warriors assistant GM. One report out the Bay area stated Kerr will be approached, but “there was debate about his candidacy’’ among front-office types. It wasn’t clear if it meant Kerr already was too far along in talks with the Knicks.
Because recent reports haven't been overly conflicting, Berman also notes that the "pull of running the Triangle with Phil Jackson as his mentor likely is going to be stronger than the pull of the West Coast, where Kerr’s family lives, in San Diego."
You're not alone.
Kerr's stance has become unnecessarily complicated. He's interested in haunting the sidelines, has plenty of options and wants to explore all of them before strapping his future coaching debut to one team. The end.
There's also not much to grapple with on the Knicks' behalf. Jackson reportedly made it clear to Carmelo Anthony he intends to hire Kerr, according to The Wall Street Journal's Chris Herring. So the Knicks want Kerr more than anyone else. The end, again.
This business with the Warriors is a bit more baffling.
The circumstances surrounding Jackson's dismissal have already raised red flags. Off-court politics reached new levels of unnerving, but Jackson led the Warriors to back-to-back playoff berths for the first time in over two decades (1991 and 1992). Most of his players—specifically Stephen Curry—also seem prepared to follow him into hell if that's what it takes to win.
Now, on top of firing a stubborn yet undeniably effective coach, the Warriors are looking at another first-timer to lead their supposed title contender?
Though Kerr has been lauded as an acute basketball mind whose knowledge should generate results within the coaching ranks, hiring a neophyte makes little sense for a non-rebuilding team. The Warriors are already gambling by canning Jackson, and placing stock in a rookie head coach who isn't guaranteed to connect with his players to the extent of his predecessor seems superfluous.
As Bleacher Report's Grant Hughes so eloquently put it:
The potential exists for the Warriors' underachieving offense to look even worse if it has to go through the pains of learning a new and complicated system. And with a team trying to win right now, there might simply not be time to suffer through a long learning curve. Perhaps it makes more sense to stick with [Mark] Jackson and hope he makes adjustments to the system already in place.
Overall, it seems dangerous to toss out a guy who has won almost 100 games over the past two seasons. That's a decision you make only if you're firmly convinced the next man can do better.
Thinking that's true of Kerr involves a pretty significant leap of faith.
Despite the obvious risk involved for both parties, Grantland's Zach Lowe says mutual interest exists between the Warriors and Kerr, so things are bound to get interesting on this front.
"I know Phil last week said we shared the same space, which is well-said,’’ Kerr previously told reporters, via Berman. “We share the same philosophies."
Will he bring those philosophies with him to New York, or will the Warriors successfully encroach on the Knicks' territory and poach their top coaching prospect?
Let the Steve Kerr coaching games continue.
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