Report: NY Knicks Working to Hire Steve Kerr After 1st Round of NBA Playoffs

Dan Favale@@danfavaleFeatured ColumnistApril 29, 2014

Gary Dineen/Getty Images

Step into the New York Knicks' web, Steve Kerr.

Sources tell ESPN.com's Marc Stein that the Knicks are working feverishly to install Kerr as Mike Woodson's successor:

Stein provided additional details on the potential hire:

Sources told ESPN.com on Tuesday that the intention of new Knicks president Phil Jackson is try to secure Kerr as his first coaching hire by early next month, which would theoretically soften the blow for the announcer's current employer to withstand losing its No. 1 analyst in the midst of the playoffs.

It remains to be seen whether Kerr is willing to make the jump so quickly.

But sources say Jackson has made significant progress in his longstanding plan to convincing Kerr that the time is right to make the jump from broadcasting to accept one of the league's most high-profile coaching jobs without any prior bench experience.

Update: Wednesday, April 30 at 10:10 a.m. ET by Ethan Norof

The New York Post confirms that the job is Kerr's if he wants it, but a source told the paper that Kerr is doing his "research on the organization" to make sure there are "no red flags" if he does walk through that door.

We'll see if Kerr winds up taking the gig, but it's abundantly clear the Knicks are all-in on Phil Jackson's former player as their next head coach.

--End of update--


Kerr had been linked to the Knicks' coaching job long before the team fired Woodson. Once owner James Dolan granted Jackson autonomy as team president, it was only a matter of time before he brought in his own people to help reinvent this embattled franchise.

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Possible hangups still exist, though. Stein says that Kerr could decide to wait this out as he explores other coaching options around the league.

Upon Woodson's dismissal, Bleacher Report's Howard Beck also intimated that Kerr would prefer to remain on the West Coast if possible:

Kerr is eying several potential openings around the league, according to sources, and he would prefer to stay on (or near) the West Coast. Kerr lives in San Diego, and he has a daughter attending college at Cal, in Berkeley. Contrary to a New York Post report, Kerr has not asked TNT for schedule flexibility in order to take the Knicks job, according to two sources with Turner Sports. (Disclosure: Turner also owns Bleacher Report.)

There are currently no head coach openings within the Western Conference that afford Kerr the opportunity to work in a top market alongside his former coach—with whom he won three championships—but if the TNT analyst remains patient, more prominent jobs may surface.

Mike D'Antoni's future with the Los Angeles Lakers is unclear. The latest, according to USA Today's Sam Amick, has Magic Mike pushing for the Lakers to pick up his club option for 2015-16, a move that would guarantee he returns to the sidelines next season.

Mark Jackson
Mark JacksonUSA TODAY Sports

Depending on how the Golden State Warriors' postseason push shakes out, head coach Mark Jackson could be on the chopping block as well.

Rampant rumors have sullied the reputation of him and his coaching staff. Assistants have been dismissed left and right. Most recently, ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard revealed that assistant Darren Erman was fired for "secretly recording conversations between the team's coaches and players."

Barring a deep playoff run, Grantland's Zach Lowe is hearing Jackson could be on his way out of Oakland:

Other opportunities in mind, the Knicks are still considered favorites to land Kerr. They actually have a coaching vacancy to fill, and the prospect of being mentored by the 11-time coaching champion is something Kerr isn't likely to pass on.

"Oh yeah, how could it not?" Kerr told reporters of coaching in New York, per Stein. "It's the Knicks and Phil Jackson, my coach. I would be crazy not to look into it."

Assuming Jackson wants to implement system basketball in New York, the Knicks would be crazy to hire someone else.

There are bigger names out there—former Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy, for instance—but Kerr is a blank slate on which Jackson can impart his decades of basketball wisdom. It's become clear early on that the Zen Master wants to have his hands in everything. Kerr can be seen as an extension of himself.

Kerr seems to fit what Jackson is looking for.
Kerr seems to fit what Jackson is looking for.Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

In addition to spending nine seasons with the Chicago Bulls and San Antonio Spurs—two teams touted for their tactical structure—Kerr has the mind of a coach. His in-game analysis is thorough, and he knows how to work the media and answer questions.

"New York, I think, demands a personality, a person that fans can believe in, a person who has charismatic appeal and has a forward-looking idea about the game," Jackson said, via ESPNNewYork.com's Ian Begley.

Kerr, while new to the coaching game, fulfills that (tall) order. And the Knicks obviously want him.

All that's left to see is whether he's prepared to join a Knicks franchise gearing up for a massive overhaul and intricate image cleanse.


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