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Rumor: Phil Jackson could hire Steve Kerr to coach New York Knicks

Mar 11, 2014, 9:30 AM EDT

Virginia v Maryland

Phil Jackson, while keeping his name fresh for various opening or non-openings around the NBA, offered a few names in response to a question about coaches who shouldn’t be unemployed:

  • Larry Brown
  • George Karl
  • Avery Johnson
  • Byron Scott

But if Jackson becomes the New York Knicks’ president, another name has popped up for whom he’d hire as head coach.

Bill Simmons, speaking on television Sunday:

My guess would be Steve Kerr, because they’re close. Steve Kerr wants to get into coaching. He’s said publicly that this season would be the year.

Steve Kerr, I think, would be a great coach. He’s one of the only guys who’s spent a lot of time under Popovich and Phil Jackson.

Now, another reporter backs up that theory. Frank Isola of the New York Daily News:

This seems like more than a coincidence.

There’s no question Jackson knows Kerr well, coaching him for five seasons with the Chicago Bulls in 90s. But is a close relationship with Jackson enough to justify Kerr getting the Knicks head-coaching job?

Kerr spent three seasons as the Phoenix Suns’ general manager, and he seems to possess a bright basketball mind. However, he has no coaching experience, and there questions remain whether he has the temperament for the position.

One advantage the Knicks should have is James Dolan’s deep pockets. Unlike spending money on players, which can restrict the team due to salary-cap rules, offering a big contract to a coach carries no additional cost beyond his salary. The Knicks should have an extremely high budget for coaches.

If Jackson takes the job, and he believes Kerr is the best option money can buy, the Knicks should hire Kerr. But if money is no object, wouldn’t a proven commodity like Karl be a better option for the Knicks?

Kerr strikes me as the type of coaching talent a lesser team should have to take a chance on first. Jackson and the Knicks could always poach him with a large offer later if he proves himself.

But first, Jackson would have to accept the presidency, which hardly seems like a given.

  1. denverhoopdreams - Mar 11, 2014 at 9:38 AM

    Would Knicks be able to lock Karl even if they kept Melo though? I doubt that. But who knows, Melo is probably going to jump ship again. lol.

    • unxpexted1 - Mar 11, 2014 at 10:20 AM

      Can the Lakers get some George Karl please?

      • philliampenn - Mar 11, 2014 at 10:28 AM

        Karl to the Lakers would be a great fit IMO. Kerr, while lacking experience, would be a good fit if he had the GOAT as his president. Jackson would no doubt lend a helping hand to him and guide him.

  2. csbanter - Mar 11, 2014 at 10:00 AM

    Steve Kerr the same Steve Kerr that couldn’t cut it as President of Basketball ops for Phoenix. Yeah that’ll be a smart move.

    • alongthegulf - Mar 11, 2014 at 12:00 PM

      I sincerely doubt that you are a follower of the Phoenix Suns basketball team. Kerr quit the Suns because of the owner. Not long after Kerr was hired, Sarver’s real estate empire started crumbling, and he refused to spend money on the Suns. Then he told Kerr to dump salary. If your hire someone to run your organization under and tell him you hand have a free hand to do what’s necessary to win, then tell him not to spend any money and dump salary, you are not going to be able to keep your employee. Kerr wanted to build a winning organization, Sarver wanted to keep his empire at the expense of the Suns basketball team. That’s what Kerr was facing, so he quit. I commend Steve Kerr for keeping his principles. He could have just go along with Sarver and kept drawing a salary.

      • adoombray - Mar 12, 2014 at 12:16 AM

        You leave out the part where Kerr helped Sarver buy the time and had access to all the pertinent financials. Robert Sarver was a known slimeball to people in Arizona, and Kerr helped him buy the team from one of the most respected owners in the game -specifically so that he could get the job as the president of the team-.

        I lived in Phoenix the entire time it happened, so stop wagging your finger. Whatever problems Kerr had with Sarver, he should have seen coming a mile away, and he doesn’t get to duck that. If he’s a puppet for PJ, fine, but let’s call it what it is, not a hire based on merit, but based on being an underling.

    • 1coachtravis - Mar 11, 2014 at 1:47 PM

      Listen Phil truly believes in the Guru system him being the Guru, Kerr would be a great choice for Phil maybe starting as an assistant to Karl

  3. mp4philly - Mar 11, 2014 at 10:07 AM

    ‘Kerr strikes me as the type of coaching talent a lesser team should have to take a chance on first.’

    Exactly, because the Knicks are obviously the cream of the crop……..

  4. sportsfan18 - Mar 11, 2014 at 10:10 AM

    Steve to Phil… “Gee, thanks Phil. We’re gonna suck for three to four years due to salary cap hell and not having many draft picks in the coming yrs. Then, when we begin to turn it around in like 4 yrs, you’ll can me cause I have a losing record…”

  5. unxpexted1 - Mar 11, 2014 at 10:17 AM

    Hey at least you know management and the coach will be on the same page. Kind of like Pat and Eric, bringing in one of your disciples to kind of instill your philosophies on. That’s not a bad move for continuity purposes alone.

  6. 00maltliquor - Mar 11, 2014 at 10:30 AM

    *Stan Van Gundy
    *Stan Van Gundy
    *Lionel Hollins
    *Jeff Van Gundy
    *Stan Van Gundy

    There, I finished the list for you^.

    Does anyone else think that hiring George Karl wouldn’t be the wisest choice if the game plan is to keep Melo?

    And call me nuts but I have a hunch Steve Kerr might make a decent coach.

  7. alongthegulf - Mar 11, 2014 at 12:10 PM

    Hiring Phil would give Kinck fans some real hope. However Dolan likes to meddle to much. It’s hard to see this ‘marriage’ working in the long run because of that fact. Phil won’t put up with a meddling owner for long. Phil want total control of the basketball team. That’s his asking price.

  8. cantonbound13 - Mar 11, 2014 at 12:59 PM

    Kerr would be a great hire, played pg for Phil & Popovich. As I said yesterday he’s the next Rivers.

  9. antistratfordian - Mar 11, 2014 at 3:00 PM

    I hope he’s a better coach than GM

    • money2long - Mar 11, 2014 at 7:35 PM

      Nice of u to hope for good things for a potential Knicks hire.

      • antistratfordian - Mar 11, 2014 at 8:42 PM

        Why wouldn’t I? I like the Knicks. I mean, I’m not a fan of them or anything, but I’ve never thought negatively of them. I was also a big Latrell Sprewell fan at one point too, more so when he was on the Warriors, but also when he was on the Knicks – so I’ve kept tabs on them since then.

      • bjswoosh805 - Mar 12, 2014 at 12:31 AM

        What about Latrell Sprewell looks like Samuel L. Jackson lol
        oh and i too like Spree w/ the Wolves tho.

      • money2long - Mar 12, 2014 at 1:15 AM

        Why so defensive?
        I just said it was nice

  10. ashoreinhawaii - Mar 11, 2014 at 3:27 PM

    He should coach a “lesser team,’ first to prove himself?
    How much “lesser” can you get than the Knicks?
    I know NYC is the big city, but its NBA team is an embarrassment, and has been a lesser team for all of this century, and most of the last.

    • money2long - Mar 11, 2014 at 7:39 PM

      Underperforming is much diff than a team that’s low profile. Ny is a team and a city with high expectations. Which is why the media here is insane. The fans are wolves. The Knicks are too much in the spotlight hence even she. They r losing, they are one of the teams in the forefront. A lot of u need to open your eyes to what the article was addressing as far as Kerr being tested on a lesser team instead of looking for a reason to throw stones. Open your eyes are be more logical and you’ll gain a better understanding.

      • money2long - Mar 11, 2014 at 7:41 PM

        The fans are wolves. The Knicks are too much in the spotlight hence even when They r losing, they are one of the teams in the forefront. ***

        I really hate auto correct

      • money2long - Mar 11, 2014 at 7:43 PM

        Open your eyes and be more logical **

  11. rebelcat13 - Mar 11, 2014 at 4:03 PM

    Anything thing that would take him out of commentating. I can’t stand listening his whiny voice and bashing my Heat every chance he gets.

  12. adoombray - Mar 12, 2014 at 12:20 AM

    The sources are Bill Simmons, who is baselessly speculating, and some guy from some New York Media Outlet nobody has ever heard of.

    Source better please, I know nobody cares in 2014, but this is baseless.

  13. Jeff - Mar 12, 2014 at 5:49 AM

    I agree with adoombray.
    Relying on Bill Simmons as a source, or any ESPN “reporter” for that matter, is sketchy at best.

  14. bigmeechy74 - Mar 12, 2014 at 12:26 PM

    that sucks because I like his commentating

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