So how much of a role did TNT analyst (and Steve Kerr cohort) Marv Albert have in dissuading Kerr from taking the New York Knicks head coaching position? Only Kerr can answer that definitively, but Albert opened up to the New York Daily News' Bob Raissman in a phone conversation on Thursday:
Well, I told him it never ends well there. Just look at recent history. It’s because of one man (Dolan). There is no happiness there. I say this with all kinds of friends I have there and (the ones) at the MSG Network. Everybody hates being there. For coaches it’s very difficult. Steve couldn’t accept anyone (from MSG’s PR staff) following him around with a tape recorder. Like Phil, Steve is a guy who wants to say what he wants to say. He’s very opinionated, which doesn’t always work when you are at the Garden.
Per Raissman, Albert further clarified that he wasn't especially responsible for Kerr's decision, saying "That's not true" when posed the possibility that he "was the guy who talked Kerr out of taking the Knicks job."
Even the most charitable imaginations should have some difficulty believing Albert was anything more than friend and sounding board throughout the process. By all accounts, Kerr is pretty capable of making his own decisions.
Much of his decision ostensibly had more to do with the Warriors than it did the Knicks organization.
Golden State offered a lucrative five-year deal worth $25 million, signaling a very serious interest in making Kerr the new face of the franchise and leader of the Stephen Curry era. The San Jose Mercury News' Marcus Thompson spells out the Warriors' logic:
They wanted an advanced offensive mind, someone to usher them into the new era of basketball and metrics. Kerr has been identified in executive circles as such a mind. They wanted a coach who could mesh into the chemistry of the front office and embrace their management style. Kerr is reputed for being an amiable personality, and he already has a relationship with the Lacobs as a foundation. They wanted a credible hire to signify they still meant business about winning, they were still relevant and an ascending franchise. Kerr was regarded as arguably the hottest commodity on the market.
And in turn, Kerr probably wanted an established roster that already had some postseason potential. That can do worlds for job security.
As Sports Illustrated's Rob Mahoney notes:
Kerr’s choice, while surprising, makes plenty of basketball sense. A lot goes into an arrangement like this one, from personal relationships to job security to the sheer weight of financial compensation...Yet when it came to choosing which of these two rosters he would rather coach, I see no reasonable argument in New York’s favor.
Kerr's family also resides in San Diego, and he has a daughter at Cal Berkeley.
The notion that Albert was the straw that broke the camel's back is almost laughable, considering the weightiness of $25 million, proximity to Kerr's home and the opportunity to actually win right away. All the same, there's little doubt that Albert's advice helped. As a former commentator for MSG, Albert knows a thing or two about the internal workings of the organization.
In any event, Kerr can look forward to big things with the Warriors. He could quickly emerge as one of the league's better young coaches thanks to his handle on the game and experience as a player and general manager.
Though fans will no doubt miss Kerr's game analysis, they can look forward to a new, undiscovered side of the once great three-point shooter. Now we'll get to find out what his huddles sound like.
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