The New York Knicks must now regroup after focusing their initial search for their next head coach on Steve Kerr, who turned down president Phil Jackson on Wednesday to accept a five-year, $25 million offer with the Golden State Warriors.
Jackson, who built a relationship with Kerr while the Chicago Bulls were winning championships, was expected to have the inside track to give Kerr his first NBA coaching job and bring him to New York to implement Jackson’s triangle scheme.
ESPN.com sources with knowledge of the situation said that Oklahoma City guard Derek Fisher and Lakers assistant coach Kurt Rambis, both of whom are close to Jackson, are likely to be considered.
Mark Jackson, who is the recently fired head coach of the Warriors, could also be a candidate.
Sources with knowledge of the negotiations told ESPN.com that the Knicks — preferring to sign Kerr to a four-year deal rather than the five-year pact he received from Golden State — had offered him about $20 million with incentives.
Kerr apparently preferred the Warriors’ job to the Knicks’ job all along, but it was a difficult decision because of his relationship with Jackson.
“Ultimately, it was agonizing to say no to Phil because of what I think of him and what he’s done for my career,” Kerr said, according to NBA.com. “When Phil Jackson asks you to coach the Knicks, how do you say no? I think they’re going to turn it around, but going to be a big undertaking and it’s going to take time. The idea of doing that 3,000 miles from home, it just didn’t feel right.”
Kerr won three titles playing for Jackson in Chicago.
“I told Phil, ‘I think I have to pursue this other opportunity,'” Kerr said. “He gave me his blessing. He said go look at it, and do what was in my heart.”
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