Steve Kerr to coach Warriors, turns down Knicks

The Vertical
Yahoo Sports
Steve Kerr to coach Warriors, turns down Knicks
Steve Kerr to coach Warriors, turns down Knicks

Steve Kerr has reached agreement on a five-year, $25 million contract to coach the Golden State Warriors, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Kerr passed on an opportunity to coach the New York Knicks and rejoin his former coach Phil Jackson, who is now running New York's front office.

The Warriors management group lost out on Stan Van Gundy when he accepted a $35 million deal Tuesday to run the Detroit Pistons, and flew to Oklahoma City the same day to meet with Kerr. The Warriors left more convinced of Kerr's readiness to coach the franchise, league sources said, and Kerr had a chance to further familiarize himself with the entire Warriors front office.

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After the Warriors resumed their pursuit of Kerr, Jackson and the Knicks made a concession in negotiations, agreeing to guarantee the fourth year of their offer. The Knicks had resisted guaranteeing the fourth year for weeks, holding firm on three guaranteed years and a team option for a fourth year until consenting to Kerr's wishes late Tuesday, league sources said.

Within the Knicks organization, there was a sense a deal with Kerr wouldn't get done until the team met that concession. For a franchise that has long shown little inhibition in delivering lucrative management and coaching contracts, the Knicks' negotiations with Kerr seemed to be far more restrained.

Kerr has a strong relationship with Jackson, and New York had a significant head start in recruiting him to Madison Square Garden. New York wanted Kerr to implement Jackson's famed triangle offense with the Knicks and construct a roster through a shared vision with his old coach. One of his first responsibilities would have been to help persuade Carmelo Anthony to re-sign with the Knicks this summer.

Executives involved in the process insisted there wasn't a bidding war, and that Kerr simply weighed the two stark differences in the job: a contender in his California home; and a rebuilding project with his old coach.

Kerr, 48, replaces Mark Jackson as the Warriors' coach. Mark Jackson was fired on May 6 after the Warriors lost a seven-game series to the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of the playoffs. Mark Jackson went 121-109 in three seasons as coach of the Warriors while helping guide them to the postseason the past two years, including a second-round appearance in 2013.

Like Mark Jackson, Kerr comes to the Warriors without any previous coaching experience. He worked as general manager of the Phoenix Suns for three years before returning to television in 2011. In addition to playing under Jackson with the Bulls, where he won three NBA championships, Kerr also won two titles with the San Antonio Spurs under coach Gregg Popovich.

Warriors owner Joe Lacob, who has known Kerr for a while, described him as "very bright, very personable, very, very prepared," in a text message Wednesday night to Yahoo Sports' Marc Spears. Lacob thinks Kerr will be a good fit with Warriors general manager Bob Myers and team adviser Jerry West.

"I have always liked him, but he sold our group," Lacob said in a text message.

TNT first reported Kerr had accepted the Warriors job.

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