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It has to feel nice to be Kerr right now. It’s not often that someone with no head coaching experience at all is being courted by two different teams to take their top spot on the sidelines, let alone one of the most storied franchises in the league and a current contender.
It may be hard for some to wonder why Kerr prefers the Knicks over the Warriors, who are much closer to winning a title than the Knicks are, even if they re-sign Carmelo Anthony. That is part of what makes the Knicks more attractive from a coaching standpoint, though. There’s going to be more patience there and for a first year head coach like himself, that’s really important.
Jackson got run off this season after winning 51 games and losing a tough seven game, first round series to the Los Angeles Clippers. The expectations there are far higher and if Kerr doesn’t meet expectations quickly, he could find himself on the hot seat in no time. The honeymoon period will last a lot longer in New York, especially with a Hall of Fame president in Phil Jackson who will likely hold himself somewhat accountable for Kerr’s success.
Kerr is expected to begin contract negotiations with the Knicks soon. The Warriors will likely get to talk to him beforehand, though. They commented on him publicly today and while they declined to admit they plan to interview him, they did have high praise:
“All I will say is it’s known that all of us know him,” Lacob said to the San Jose Mercury News. “I’ve known him for 20 years. I think very highly of him as an individual-a great human being as well as a great basketball mind, I believer, and a great pedigree. Having said that, we haven’t spoken with him yet. We haven’t interviewed anybody and we’re going to take our time and we’re going to interview people. He might be one of them.”
As true as this may be, Curry is the Warriors star player and the fact that they were willing to let go of a coach that the vouched for so strongly does say a little bit about the amount of say he has within the organization. It would be a wise move for the Warriors to keep him a part of the search for Jackson’s replacement and make sure that he feels like his voice matters in the process. It’s not just important for the sake of next year’s team’s success, but also for his security with the team long-term. Curry is under contract through 2017, but if he’s unhappy he could put pressure on the franchise to trade him as soon as the 2015-16 by refusing to partake in contract extension negotiations. That may seem a long way off and unlikely, but with the wrong coaching hire it could become reality before they know it.
Things have been fairly quiet on the T-Wolves coaching front. The only names that have really surfaced are hard-to-land collegiate coaches like Billy Donovan, Fred Hoiberg and Tom Izzo. Jackson does seem like a good fit for the Timberwolves current roster, especially as a player’s coach with Kevin Love headed toward free agency. However, there’s a lot of speculation right now that if they can’t land any of the above three candidates, Flip Saunders would simply re-take his old position and hold both roles similar to how Doc Rivers does with the Los Angeles Clippers.
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