The Knicks are moving closer to making Steve Kerr their coach. Despite the Golden State Warriors' interest in Kerr, all indications are that he will be Phil Jackson's first coaching hire.
A league source said the Knicks and Kerr are confident a deal will get done. Two other sources indicated that something could happen this week.
Contract details and Kerr's broadcasting schedule need to be worked out. The TNT analyst's plan is to work through the Western Conference finals, but according to a report, Jackson wants Kerr to go with him to the NBA draft combine, which begins Thursday in Chicago.
Kerr played for Bulls coach Jackson in the mid-1990s and they remain close. People close to Kerr have referred to his "allegiance to Phil" as what ultimately is luring him to New York.
Kerr lives in San Diego and has a daughter who goes to college at Cal-Berkeley. There are jobs available on the West Coast, including the Lakers and Warriors, and Golden State was believed to be in competition for his services. Kerr, who never has coached before, is friends with owner Joe Lacob and president Rick Welts. The latter hired Kerr to be the Suns' general manager in 2007. The Warriors reportedly have set up interviews with Stan Van Gundy and Lionel Hollins. Kerr is thought to be the Knicks' only candidate.
Jackson met with Kerr in New York two weeks ago and has given him the time he's needed to make his decision. Kerr has been on the road working the playoffs for TNT. He returned home from Oklahoma City on Thursday and discussed his future with his wife and children.
Kerr had a short but successful stint as the Suns' general manager and is part of TNT's top broadcast team, but he has made it clear that he wants to try coaching. He played for some great coaches, including Jackson and the Spurs' Gregg Popovich, and was a part of five championship teams in his 15-year career.
Jackson said he and Kerr share "a strong connection philosophically." Jackson plans to implement his triangle offense, and Kerr knows the ins and outs of it.
Onetime Knick and former Bull Bill Cartwright, who also has spoken to Jackson, is a candidate to be an assistant coach. Other possibilities to join the Knicks in some capacity include Jim Cleamons, Frank Hamblen, Ron Harper and Derek Fisher.
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