Steve Kerr is about to find out if he looks good in orange and blue.
Steve Kerr is inching closer to finalizing a deal to become the next head coach of the Knicks, according to a source close to the TNT broadcaster.
Kerr’s agent, former Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum, is still negotiating with the Knicks but the two sides are optimistic that a deal would be in place early this week. The plan is to have Kerr accompany Knicks president Phil Jackson to Chicago for the NBA draft combine that begins Thursday.
Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com confirmed Isola's report, adding that talks between Kerr and the Knicks are "pretty far down the road." Negotiations are expected to progress even further through Monday.
UPDATE: Tuesday, May 13, at 4:00 p.m ET by Joel C Cordes
The Knicks still seem to be the front runners for Steve Kerr, but the Golden State Warriors—once in the mix for Kerr just this past week and now seemingly smarting from a Stan Van Gundy rebuff—are also potentially back in play, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
Golden State's management group is headed to Oklahoma City to make a final push for Steve Kerr, sources tell Yahoo. Kerr has TNT game there.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) May 13, 2014
As Knicks-Steve Kerr lock in staredown over deal terms, Golden State will go hard at Kerr again if Van Gundy takes Detroit, sources say.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) May 13, 2014
Let the bidding war continue.
UPDATE: Monday, May 12, at 11:55 a.m. ET by Dan Favale
Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski says talks between the Knicks and Kerr haven't progressed as quickly as initially anticipated:
Knicks have been slow to overpay Steve Kerr in deal length or salary, sources say. Tried treating him closer to 1st-time coach than a star.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) May 12, 2014
It's almost like Kerr, the Knicks' only legitimate coaching option, knows they have no leverage or something.
Team president Phil Jackson has been after Kerr for months. Before Mike Woodson was even fired, before the Knicks' disappointing regular season even mercifully ended, Kerr was the name you kept hearing. He was the guy you expected them to hire.
Interest from other teams threatened to derail the Knicks' aggressive pursuit, but they proved to be nothing more than stepping stones.
But as Begley and colleague Marc Stein revealed, it didn't take long for the Warriors to give up hope of poaching the Knicks' only legitimate coaching candidate.
Once Kerr finally puts pen to paper on his deal with New York, he, along with the rest of us, can focus on more important things—like how he's going to fare as a rookie head coach with no assistant head coaching experience.
Everyone in the NBA who knows Kerr—which is to say, most of the NBA—views him as engaging, intelligent, affable and a skilled communicator. As a TV analyst, he ranks among the best.
A great coach? We don't know yet. Kerr doesn't know yet. But we're going to find out pretty soon.
Knowing what's at stake, Kerr must be confident that he can transform the Knicks into a respectable basketball product again.
Other teams have better rosters. The Warriors are one of those clubs. There were likely plenty of additional squads with comparable or better personnel that reached out to Kerr as well. He chose the Knicks, despite their recent failure and penchant for off-court, behind-the-scenes theatrics.
Is Steve Kerr the best coaching fit for the Knicks?
Working with Jackson had to seal the deal. The two won three championships together with the Chicago Bulls. The Knicks also dwell in the wide-open Eastern Conference. If they're able to retain Carmelo Anthony in free agency, it shouldn't take long for them to vault back into contention.
It doesn't hurt that he has the support of Amar'e Stoudemire either. The Knicks forward told Colin Cowherd on ESPN Radio's The Herd (via Begley) that he was all for playing under Kerr.
"I like Steve Kerr," he said. "For one, when he was a GM (in Phoenix, when Stoudemire was with the Suns) he was always preaching about winning and winning a title and that's something that I adored about him. And then also, secondly, he has a formula to win; he's been a winner in this league before."
Whatever Kerr's formula to win is—probably an extension of Jackson's methodology—he better implement it fast. The Knicks are waiting.
People, once he officially joins New York, will be watching.