Kerr Reportedly Scared Off From Knicks Over Possible Dolan-Jackson Power Struggle
When considering whether he wanted to become Knicks coach, the Warriors' Steve Kerr "became concerned about an inevitable clash" between Knicks Owner James Dolan and the "fiercely independent and occasionally iconoclastic" President Phil Jackson, according to Harvey Araton of the N.Y. TIMES. Kerr "worried about Dolan’s patience and his willingness to allow Jackson the freedom" to potentially let F Carmelo Anthony "leave as a free agent this summer should they fail to agree on how much of a hometown discount, if any, Anthony should accept to give Jackson salary-cap flexibility." The truth is the "loss of Kerr is softened by the presence of Jackson." The "cautionary part of the story for future Jackson recruits, however, is that while Kerr did not believe Dolan obstructed Jackson in the pursuit, Dolan had an impact on the decision by merely being who he is." Kerr had been "on the verge of accepting his first head coaching position" with the Knicks, but in late-game negotiations, he "played it calculatingly cool." Even to Jackson, a "renowned sideline stoic and the man considered to be his mentor, Kerr never showed his true hand." The "ability to misdirect should serve Kerr well as he begins the next phase of his professional life" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/16).
BIG, BAD JIMMY? In New Jersey, Steve Popper writes Kerr "heard the nightmarish stories, not just about Dolan, but about some of the corporate yes men and henchmen around him -- and heard that some weren’t thrilled to have Jackson attempting to flex his muscle inside the organization in areas that Dolan felt were beyond the basketball operations" (Bergen RECORD, 5/16). ESPN's Max Kellerman said Kerr choosing the Warriors over the Knicks is "not a knock" on Jackson but it is "yet another knock against that big dummy," Dolan ("SportsNation," ESPN2, 5/15). ESPN's Tony Kornheiser: "This is a humiliation for Phil Jackson. There is nobody in New York who thought that Phil Jackson could not get his first choice." Kornheiser said Kerr is a "smart guy and he did his homework that Jim Dolan is one of the worst owners in sports and he probably doesn’t believe that Jim Dolan will honor all of his commitments to Phil and so then Phil will leave and Steve Kerr will be with a bad team" ("PTI," ESPN, 5/15).
ALBERT'S ADVICE: In N.Y., Bob Raissman notes in the aftermath of Kerr's decision to join the Warriors, several reasons "were given as to why Kerr selected" the team that he did, such as: A five-year, $25M contract, a "talented roster, a better situation for his family (they live in San Diego) and Marv Albert telling him 'everybody hates being there (MSG).'" Albert on Thursday said, "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 at the MSG Network. Everybody hates being there. For coaches it’s very difficult" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/16).
RISING WARRIORS: Kerr on Thursday said the Warriors "are very forward-thinking." Kerr: "Their improvement on the court, as well as the business side -- season tickets, sponsorship, a TV deal -- has mirrored the success of the team. This is not just a young team that is exciting to watch, but it is an organization that is constantly moving forward" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 5/16). In San Jose, Tim Kawakami writes Warriors co-Owner Joe Lacob "went for pizzazz the last time (and got Mark Jackson) and he was going to make sure he got pizzazz this time." He is "going to win this press conference, because Kerr was the guy the Knicks wanted and the Warriors got him." The Warriors' front office "might have some reputation issues around the league after the Jackson fiasco, but it clearly doesn't have as many known problems as the Knicks." Lacob "beat out Larry Ellison for the Warriors and he just beat out Phil Jackson and the Knicks Industrial Complex for Kerr, the most pursued coaching commodity in the NBA" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 5/16).
ACE AGENT: In N.Y., Kevin Armstrong notes one season removed from his old job as Jets GM, Priority Sports & Entertainment's Mike Tannenbaum "is now an agent representing coaches in basketball and football, and he found gold beneath a far-off rock" for Kerr. Tannenbaum on Thursday "downplayed the idea of the Knicks’ dysfunction as a contributing factor" to Kerr's decision (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/16). Meanwhile, Warriors Advisor Jerry West said that execs and others in Chicago this week for the NBA Draft Combine have been giving Kerr's move "universally positive reviews." West: "It’s been very well received so far, I can tell you that" (MERCURYNEWS.com, 5/15).