You’re old enough to know what they say about a ‘sure thing.’ Chances are, it isn’t a sure thing at all and that’s almost how I’m feeling about this whole ‘Steve Kerr to the Knicks thing.’
Ever since the idea of Phil Jackson returning to his beloved Knicks was mentioned, the corresponding thought was that his former player and good friend Steve Kerr would join him in NYC. With Jackson’ tutelage, Kerr would thrive in reviving the old ‘triangle offense’ of his mentor and in turn would bring the New York Knickerbockers back to playoff relevance once again.
Over the days that have passed since Jackson formally took over the basketball operations, I’ve started to feel less and less positive about Kerr ultimately coaching the Knicks. It’s by no means rocket science as to why either but let me explain…
First of all, what experience does Kerr have that makes Jackson or anyone else think he is up to this task? He has not coached a single basketball game at any level despite having a very intense knowledge of the game.
As the general manager of the Phoenix Suns, very little that Kerr did went well. He oversaw almost a complete roster change that resulted in the Suns becoming a worse and worse team. He would eventually “retire” in 2010.
Another concern I have for Kerr in terms of heading to New York is that he doesn’t mince words. You’d think this is something that most Knicks’ fans could and would appreciate but how would his blunt commentary play with the New York media?
A third consideration is the future of Carmelo Anthony. Let’s take him out of the equation for just a second; without him, the Knicks are still in salary cap hell. Amare Stoudemire has an option for over $23 million next season and there are several other players who contribute little who are scheduled to make big money as well.
Should Anthony choose to stay in New York and take the highest guaranteed salary, how would he feel about Kerr being the coach? ‘Melo wants to win a title sooner rather than later and can he do that in New York with a new head coach and handful of overpaid role players?
That leads me to my next point… If I’m Carmelo, I’m going to Phil Jackson before I sign any contract and I ask him if he’ll ever return to the bench. If Jackson unequivocally says “no,” then I have to assume that Anthony will head for a place like Chicago or Houston where he has a significantly better chance at winning a title.
This of course is merely speculation on the part of myself and many others but I wouldn’t blame Anthony and neither should you. What Jackson will sell him on is not 2015 but 2016 when more money becomes available. I just don’t think Anthony is willing to give up a year though unless he knows Jackson will eventually return to the court as the coach.
For Kerr, I can’t help but wonder if he shouldn’t look at other opportunities. Minnesota and Utah both have openings right now and of those two, the T-Wolves’ job would be very enticing. Should the Warriors, Thunder or Pacers exit early from the playoffs I have to believe those openings would bring some attention as well.
Of course the question there is would those franchises even be interested in Kerr? I say probably not and that tells you just how unique the situation is in New York.