Steve Kerr originally turned down an interview request from the Warriors because he already had begun discussions with the Knicks. But ultimately, Kerr went back to Golden State to see if there was still interest.
Naturally there was, and Kerr passed on his friend and mentor Phil Jackson's offer to coach the Knicks. He signed a five-year deal worth $25 million with incentives with the Warriors.
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"We called Steve and asked him to meet and we couldn't get a meeting because Steve, true to his character, said I've begun the process with the Knicks and I'd like to see that through," Warriors general manager Bob Myers said during Kerr's introductory news conference. "He rebuffed us in his own polite way. Until about a week into the process when he reached out with his representative and said I think I'd like to talk to you."
Kerr said it was difficult to turn down Jackson, but he did what was right for him and his family. The California product has two children in college in California and one is a senior in high school. Something continued pulling him home.
"The balance between my family and my career has always been of the utmost importance because for me to do a good job with my work, I have to be happy on my personal side, as well," Kerr said. "All of that came together.
"To Phil Jackson's credit, he told me the day I sat down with the Warriors he said you have to feel whatever you need to feel in your heart. If that's to come to New York, great. If that means you're going to go there, then that's important. But you have to make the decision based on your gut and your heart. I felt it immediately with the Warriors."
Another of Jackson's former guards, Derek Fisher, has emerged as the leading candidate to be the Knicks coach. Other candidates include Kurt Rambis, Jim Cleamons, Luke Walton, Tyronn Lue and Bill Cartwright.
Kerr said part of the reason things stalled with the Knicks was because of his schedule with TNT. He was on the road for 19 straight days and didn't have the time to sit down and discuss things with his family.
"I think the process with New York probably was stunted a little bit by my workload," Kerr said. "In the end, I felt like I was choosing between two unbelievable opportunities.
"The Knicks, the brand speaks for itself. It's Phil Jackson, he's been one of my mentors, the thought of him guiding me through my young coaching career was enticing. There were a lot of great things about the Knicks and he laid out a great plan. I talked to Steve Mills, several people in the organization. I'm convinced Phil is going to make it work in New York.
"But when I sat down with the Warriors, it just clicked on a lot of fronts. I think it's a better fit for me."
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