Steve Kerr says he has 'stayed close' with Phil Jackson, sees coaching as 'intriguing'
TNT commentator Steve Kerr wants to try his hand at coaching someday and he continues to enjoy a good relationship with Knicks president-to-be Phil Jackson, but he would prefer to let you connect the dots from there.
"I've been talking about [coaching] the last couple of years," Kerr told the Dan Patrick Show on Monday. "I left Phoenix when I was a general manager knowing that I didn't want to get back into management, but feeling like coaching would be a possibility at some point. I love being on the floor with the players. As a GM, that was one percent of the time. I love the game. I have probably one of the best jobs in the world ... I'm perfectly happy doing what I'm doing, trust me. At some point in my life, if there's a [coaching] opportunity that intrigues me, I might take it."
The 48-year-old Kerr won five championships during a playing career that stretched from 1988 until 2003. Known as one of the best three-point shooters in NBA history, Kerr transitioned into broadcasting following his retirement. He then served as a front-office executive for the Suns from 2007 until 2010, leaving the organization shortly after they were defeated in the 2010 Western Conference finals. Upon Kerr's departure, reports and rumors indicated that Kerr and Suns owner Robert Sarver didn't necessarily see eye-to-eye, possibly as it related to the Suns' willingness to spend and Kerr's salary, but Kerr tamped down that talk, called his resignation "a career and a personal decision."
So what career decision is coming next? Kerr's name has been floated as a possible candidate to coach the Knicks under Jackson, who coached Kerr in Chicago from 1993 until 1998. That stretch with the Michael Jordan-led Bulls produced a three-peat, and it forged a relationship that endures almost 20 years later.
"We've stayed close over the years," Kerr said of Jackson. "He's in Los Angeles and I'm in San Diego. I see him occasionally ... we email quite a bit. We stay in touch. I played for him for five years. We share that bond and the love for the game. We talk basketball when we get together."
The Knicks are holding a press conference on Tuesday to announce Jackson's hiring. The Hall of Fame coach reportedly agreed to a five-year, $60 million deal to head up basketball operations for the franchise that drafted him in 1967. The 68-year-old Jackson retired as coach of the Lakers in 2011, and he's been linked to a number of organizations in rumors regarding a possible move to the front-office.
"This is kind of a natural evolution for Phil," Kerr said. "He loves the game. He's been talking about this for a couple of years. ... This doesn't surprise me at all. This is the direction that he's been going. I think all of his experience will suit him, but there will be an adjustment period, just because it's a new job, same as anyone else."
Jackson, who won two titles as a player and 11 as a coach, will inherit a Knicks team that has been one of the league's biggest disappointments this season. New York (27-40) sits 3.5 games out of the playoffs with 15 games left to play after advancing to the Eastern Conference semifinals for the first time since 2000 last year. The Knicks will need to re-sign franchise forward Carmelo Anthony this summer and a collection of big dollars contracts limits the organization's flexibility until the summer of 2015. In other words, a retooling is almost certainly in order under Jackson, and that could include coach Mike Woodson, who has been on the hot seat for much of the season.
"You bring a great basketball mind into your organization and eventually it will be reshaped," Woodson said on Saturday, according to ESPNNY.com. So how and who and when, only time will tell."
Kerr told Patrick that he doesn't want to discuss the Knicks' coaching job in particular, out of respect to Woodson, whose contract option for 2014-15 was picked up by the Knicks last fall.
"It is just speculation, but more than anything, you're talking about somebody else's job," he said. "This is not something I really want to go into because it sounds like I'm campaigning for the job."
Still, he left little doubt that he was seriously interested in a move to the sidelines. "In general terms, what's intriguing, for me, I've been broadcasting for eight years," Kerr told Patrick. "I love visiting with the coaches beforehand, hearing what they are trying to do that night, the strategy, how they are trying to attack the other team. It's fascinating to me. That's the intriguing part of it for me. If I ever end up going down that path, it's because of what I've been able to experience as a broadcaster and a player."