Phil Jackson is running a basketball department for the first time and he could hire a first-time coach in Steve Kerr. But someone who played for Jackson and with Kerr believes their experiences would make them a good team.
"Their history together and just the way they work together and have worked together in the past with the offense and everything is a good combination," former Chicago Bull Bill Wennington said Tuesday. "To me it's a no-brainer."
Jackson will address the media Wednesday for the first time since firing Mike Woodson Monday, and Kerr said he's "interested" in the Knicks' vacancy. Kerr is considered the leading candidate to replace Woodson.
Wennington, who played at Long Island Lutheran and then St. John's, played five seasons with Kerr. They were a part of three championship teams together with Chicago. Wennington said he could see Kerr transitioning to coach someday.
"Steve has always had a basketball mind, saw the floor well, understands the spacing of the triangle offense, has already had the experience of the front office," Wennington said. "I think he'd be great. Having played for Phil and running the triangle offense and knowing that, I think it's a natural fit.
"He understands the game. I think he'll be a players' coach and his temperament will be excellent, also."
Wennington is a Bulls radio analyst and has an interest in coaching. But he said he hasn't spoken to Jackson about joining the Knicks. Jackson is looking for an entire staff after dismissing Woodson's six assistants, too.Among those who could work the Knicks in some capacity are Ron Harper, Frank Hamblen, Jim Cleamons, Bill Cartwright, Scottie Pippen, Kurt Rambis and Derek Fisher. Wennington expects Jackson to bring in guys he's worked with previously.
"He'll bring in people that he trusts, know what the triangle is about, the spacing of it, and the options that you have in the triangle," Wennington said. "When you have a system like the Triangle to run you want to have people to understand how it works and the options out of it."
That's why Kerr was linked to the Knicks immediately after Jackson was hired as president in March. Kerr wants to get into coaching and has remained close with Jackson. Kerr attended the wedding of Jackson's daughter.
There is speculation, though, that Kerr may want to wait to see if there are openings with the Lakers or Warriors. He's a West Coast guy and may prefer to be closer to home.
Wennington acknowledged that. But he also thinks having Jackson as president will be a draw for any of his disciples.
"I really believe that he'll get the right staff under him, one that he trusts and that he knows will do the job that he wants done," Wennington said. "He's a big proponent of the triangle offense and he'll have people that will do that for him because it works. What better way for any coach [to succeed] than to have him in the front office to help you out and guide you in running that."