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Steve Kerr’s response to Phil Jackson saying he had a commitment from him to coach Knicks: ‘It’s not inaccurate’

Jun 1, 2014, 8:00 PM EDT

Steve Kerr AP

Steve Kerr only became a head coaching candidate because Phil Jackson was interested in hiring him to revitalize the Knicks. But Kerr ended up spurning New York for the better roster and bigger contract offered by the Warriors, sending Jackson and the Knicks back to square one in their ongoing search.

Jackson believed that Kerr was already on board, and told free agent to be Carmelo Anthony as much. But when the deal fell through, possibly due to a lowball offer from the Knicks, Jackson was as surprised as anyone, and told reporters recently that he had a commitment from Kerr before the job with the Warriors had even become available.

Kerr didn’t refute the allegation, and admitted he was very close to taking the job with the Knicks.

From Marc Berman of the New York Post:

Steve Kerr, in response to Phil Jackson’s remark that he had “a commitment” from him to coach the Knicks, didn’t dispute the Zen Master, saying “we were very, very close’’ and “I thought I was coming there.”

Nevertheless, Kerr said there was not a deal done when he jumped at the Warriors offer of five years and $22 million. …

“It’s not inaccurate,’’ Kerr said before broadcasting possibly his final game for TNT Saturday night in Game 6 of the Oklahoma City-San Antonio Western Conference finals. “We were very, very close. We never agreed to a deal. But we were very close. Things kind of went back and forth a bit. I thought I was coming there. Phil couldn’t have handled it any better. As I said last week, he knew I had to be 100 percent sure and he gave me the space I needed. It was just a better fit — Golden State.’’

There are a couple of interesting points to this story. One, Kerr clearly weaseled out of a deal to coach the Knicks, but ultimately made a better long-term decision. And two, good on Jackson for not trying too hard to twist Kerr’s arm into signing in New York if in fact he was going to do so with trepidation about his new situation.

  1. cantonbound13 - Jun 1, 2014 at 8:23 PM


    • cavreconscout - Jun 2, 2014 at 4:34 AM

      Yes agreed but i dont think phil has a contingency plan.which,as always,will give the knicks bad karma.which is nothing new

  2. scottster63 - Jun 1, 2014 at 8:48 PM

    hard to weasel out of deal when there is no contract signed

    • antistratfordian - Jun 1, 2014 at 9:29 PM

      It was a verbal commitment and a man is only as good as his word. Phil Jackson actually had to “release” Kerr so he could become the Warriors head coach – that’s how far along they were.

  3. onlyavoice - Jun 1, 2014 at 9:30 PM

    Jackson is a BUFFOON.
    His only plan when he signed with the Knicks was to sign with the Knicks.
    The Lakers wanted nothing to do with him (We can all obviously see why) & his over inflated
    ego was hurt.
    Now the “We signed Phil Jackson” is all over & Phil has NO CLUE.
    I’m sure that as soon as he told Melo he was hiring DOGGIE HOWSER (Kerr) to coach him to a
    championship, Melo packed his bags.
    Phil now has a washed up crack head as his big move.
    Stan Van Gundy will have the Pistons competing before the Knicks.

    • cousinrk - Jun 1, 2014 at 10:04 PM

      There is only one buffoon here and its you onlyanitwit. So you know what Phil’s plan was when he signed with the Knicks? You know he had no plan at all in fact? Its amazing I had no idea you were in the inner circle like that. The lakers want nothing to do with him because the boy genius son of Dr. Buss has a giant ego and wants to make a name for himself without bringing on a former great coach. That always works when the son of an owner takes over and decides lets not hire the best guy out there because I want all the credit. Yeah that’ll work well.

      Who’s the washed up crackhead? Please enlighten me oh wise one?

      • duhwighthoward - Jun 1, 2014 at 11:52 PM

        What’s a washed up crackhead? It sounds like a rusty screw.

      • blueintown - Jun 2, 2014 at 12:29 AM

        The Knicks signed Whitney Houston? How is that even possible?

      • unxpexted1 - Jun 2, 2014 at 11:54 AM

        Think he’s referring to Lamar Odom

  4. eoyguy - Jun 1, 2014 at 9:39 PM

    Sounds like he was so confused he didn’t know if he was “coming (there)” or going (here?)”. Very confusing…

  5. canadatude - Jun 1, 2014 at 10:01 PM

    NY media and fans are trying to twist the knife into Kerr’s ribs here. Jackson (actually Dolan), gave him a smug low-ball offer and got burned. Not that the Knicks train wreck is an enticing situation for any coach. Good luck with that.

    • marcusfitzhugh - Jun 1, 2014 at 10:47 PM

      Lowball? Really? So the Knicks should have offered an unproven rookie coach the same five million dollars a year for the same guaranteed five years as GS? Popovich earns six million a year, Doc Rivers earns seven, and Stan Van Gundy just signed for seven to do TWO jobs, so that somehow makes Kerr worth $5M? In your mind, Kerr is the fourth best coach in the NBA? Despite the fact that he’s never been a head coach? Do you really think he’s worth more than Thibs at $4.4M, Spoelstra at less than $4M, Carlisle at $4.6M, and every other NBA coach whose team went to the playoffs and whose name isn’t Rivers or Popovich?

      • duhwighthoward - Jun 1, 2014 at 11:56 PM

        I don’t take out the trash when my mom tell me for less than $4.7, so I don’t know what you’re talking about.

  6. mzim2756 - Jun 1, 2014 at 10:28 PM

    Konica didn’t make a lowball offer, it was reasonable based on experience, golden state greatly overpaid and good for Kerr to get that contract

  7. campcouch - Jun 1, 2014 at 10:28 PM

    I wish I’d get that low-ball offer. Me and my cat would have no problem moving to New York.

  8. nykfanwakemeupin2015 - Jun 1, 2014 at 10:37 PM

    Showing how sensitive he is. He cannot take a little blow back about making a verbal commitment and turning on it.

  9. eugenesaxe1 - Jun 1, 2014 at 11:30 PM

    1-“It’s not inaccurate”…Just say “It’s accurate”, don’t be all fancy-pants. You’re a rookie NBA coach, not a Nobel Prize winner.
    2-“Weaseled”?? Way to be objective Mr. Sports blogger.

  10. hartdaddy - Jun 1, 2014 at 11:35 PM

    It’s simple, Kerr agreed to the Knick deal, sat on it, waited for Warriors job to open, went to warriors with the Knick deal, they upped their offer, Kerr sat on it & went back to NY to see if they would match, they didn’t, he took the warriors job… simple, moving on.

  11. abchome - Jun 1, 2014 at 11:41 PM

    No big deal. It’s not like Popvich or Phil Jackson the coach spurned them.

  12. Robert - Jun 2, 2014 at 2:50 AM

    San Francisco Missions 2017. Can’t wait.

  13. lenbias34pt - Jun 2, 2014 at 8:14 AM

    “Kerr clearly weaseled out of a deal ”

    That is not known, and thus shouldn’t be written.

    Kerr is following in some huge shoes (opinion). And he has very little experience (fact). So i’d GUESS (supported by a few facts) he will be fired in 2 or 3 years.

    When your best player comes off the floor for a defensive replacement you have an issue.
    I’m of the opinion , thou Jackson has a lot to learn, he coached that team up as high as they will go without series additions.

    As odd as it may seem, Kerr took the wrong job.
    The Knicks were (arguably) under coached the last few years. Look at the rosters yourself, who has more talent?
    No matter what side of the question you fall, i do believe any NBA fan would agree the answer isn’t easy……………and now the clincher, The knicks play in the East.

  14. AZ Dem - Jun 2, 2014 at 9:19 AM

    Hey, I took a broad out to dinner, paid the tab, took her home, banged her, said a lot of complimentary things. She thinks that’s a marriage proposal.

    If Kerr was completely sold on NYK, he would have signed a contract. It ain’t a marriage till you say “I do” at the altar.

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