May 2, 2014, 1:11 PM EST
Why is Phil Jackson so excited about Steve Kerr, someone with no experience, coaching the Knicks?
And more importantly, why should Carmelo Anthony be?
When Jackson and Melo sat down for dinner, the Knicks president explained.
Knicks president Phil Jackson told free-agent-to-be Carmelo Anthony that he is fully expecting to hire Steve Kerr as the team’s next coach when Jackson and Anthony sat down for dinner in Manhattan last week, according to two people familiar with the matter.
In sitting down with Anthony, who has made it abundantly clear that he wants to play for a winning team next season, Jackson wanted to allay any concerns Anthony might have about Kerr’s inexperience as a coach. (Kerr, who played under Jackson with the Chicago Bulls, has never coached at any level.) Jackson tried to do that, the sources said, by telling Anthony that he’d be both visible and available on the sidelines while the team takes part in training camp.
“Phil wanted [Anthony] to know that Kerr and his thinking will simply be an extension of himself,” one of the sources said. “He wanted Carmelo to know he’ll still be able to coach him by extension.”
Jackson probably can no longer physically withstand the rigors of coaching, but everyone knows he’d be the best man for the job if he could. James Dolan tried to hire Jackson as head coach before settling for a front-office role, and Jackson himself entertained the idea before ruling it out.
Still, to pursue this path, Jackson must be very confident in himself. Rather than using all the Knicks’ money to hire a proven coach, he’s planning to hire Kerr – or another relatively low-stature former player – and coach through him.
The Knicks getting 100 percent of Jackson’s coaching would be great for them. Fifty percent or less? I’m not sold on that.
Plus, if Jackson is concentrated on coaching vicariously, how much time and energy will that leave for his other roles as team president?
This plan could work, but there will be a lot of hurdles. I guess that’s why the Knicks are paying Jackson $12 million per year.
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