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Golden State Warriors Reportedly Believe Steve Kerr Won't Coach for Them

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Grant HughesNational NBA Featured ColumnistMay 11, 2014

The Golden State Warriors' head coaching search hasn't been going on for very long, but it may already be time for them to scratch Steve Kerr's name off the list of candidates.

According to Marc Stein and Ian Begley of ESPN.com:

The Golden State Warriors are increasingly pessimistic about their chances of convincing Steve Kerr to turn down the New York Knicks in favor of Golden State's coaching job, according to sources close to the process.

Though the Warriors could offer Kerr a ready-made roster with loads of talent and a location far closer to his family in Southern California, it seems Phil Jackson's presence in New York will be too much to resist. That's somewhat understandable, given Kerr's loyalty to (and faith in) the Zen Master as a leader.

Though Golden State's head coaching search is young, it doesn't lack for options. Stein and Begley also reported the Dubs have eyes for Stan Van Gundy, a man with Bay Area ties and at least a passing interest in the position.

Van Gundy said on the Amani and Eytan Show on NBC Sports Radio (h/t Pro Basketball Talk's Dan Feldman):

I think there are some positives with Golden State. As you say the talent level is there. Of the jobs that are open now they are clearly the most talented team out there. No. 2 you have a great, great fan base there, one of the best in the NBA . Number three, and I grew up there so I can speak to it, there aren’t many better places to live in the United States than the Bay Area in California. There are some positives and they are going to have a lot of people interested.

Kerr slipping away from the Warriors might not seem like a big deal, especially with Van Gundy and a host of other potential coaches—Lionel Hollins and Mike D'Antoni, to name two—still available. But the Dubs made a bold move in cutting loose Jackson, who won 51 games this past season and took Golden State to the playoffs for the second year in a row.

It seems the working environment and Jackson's standoffish demeanor forced the Warriors' hand to some degree, but the point is this: Golden State must make a splash with its next head coaching hire. 

So while the Dubs don't necessarily have to nab Kerr to appease the restless section of their pro-Jackson fanbase, seeing him drift toward Jackson and the Knicks removes one of the few suitably splashy options from the market.

If Van Gundy decides he'd rather hang around in Central Florida doing some radio work, that could leave the Warriors in an even tougher position.

ORLANDO, FL - MAY 5: Stan Van Gundy, head coach of the Orlando Magic, directs his team against the Indiana Pacers in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NBA Playoffs on May 5, 2012 at Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO
Fernando Medina/Getty Images

Hollins is in the mix, but he's hardly a marked upgrade from Jackson, and his exit from the Memphis Grizzlies last season bore eerie similarities to Jackson's ouster in Golden State.

And D'Antoni comes with more baggage than any coach on the planet.

Golden State shouldn't feel distraught over potentially losing Kerr, but it should feel a little extra pressure to hire Van Gundy. The Warriors will say they've got options, but in a very real sense, Van Gundy is the last of their good ones.

The pressure's on now, and the only thing standing between the Warriors and a very difficult offseason is a mustachioed, outspoken coach who might not even want to return to the sidelines at all.

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