Steve Kerr has no prior head coaching experience, and wasn’t even believed to be a viable candidate for one of the open positions until he became the frontrunner for the job with the Knicks, mainly due to his prior relationship with Phil Jackson.
Jackson wanted to get someone he trusts into that role because that will go a long way in helping him succeed, and Kerr is well-versed in both Jackson’s philosophies and the Triangle offense.
But his hesitance to pay top dollar for Kerr’s services, at least initially, may have been a key factor in opening the door that allowed the Warriors to swoop in.
No, Phil Jackson didn’t exactly throw money Steve Kerr’s way early on in the process of seeking a new Knicks head coach. By the time Jackson’s offer improved, it was too late.
The Post has learned Jackson’s initial offer to Kerr was a lowball of three years, $13.2 million. That offer stuck for more than a week before the Warriors got involved Tuesday. Kerr wound up agreeing to terms with Golden State on a five-year, $22 million contract — not the $25 million that was widely reported.
Had the Knicks originally offered Kerr five years, $22 million — $4.4 million a year — he probably would have closed the deal before Golden State could reenter the fray. Jackson only bumped the offer to four years in response to Golden State’s offer.
It’s understandable to a certain extent to not want to give an unproven candidate like Kerr a five-year deal, because not only do we have no idea how Kerr will do in motivating players, but the roster will undergo so many changes that it’s impossible to predict where New York may be that far down the road, and whether a new voice might be better-suited to guide the team when that time arrives.
Jackson clearly underestimated just how strong Kerr’s desire was to remain on the West Coast, and overestimated the weight his relationship would carry at the same time. The money may or may not have ultimately been the deciding factor, but it appears as though the extended negotiating process didn’t do anything to help the Knicks’ chances.