Steve Kerr spurns Knicks, reaches five-year deal to coach Warriors
The Golden State Warriors announced Wednesday that they've reached an agreement in principle for Steve Kerr to become the team's next head coach.
NBA.com and Yahoo Sports first reported that Kerr had decided to coach Golden State rather than heading to New York, where Knicks president Phil Jackson had reportedly offered him the head coaching job. Yahoo Sports and USA Today Sports both peg Kerr's deal with the Warriors at $25 million over five years with no option years.
"We love Kerr," Warriors owner Joe Lacob told Yahoo Sports. "Incredibly prepared. We got him because of our players. The Golden State Warriors' future is bright."
Once an agreement is finalized with Kerr, the Warriors will schedule a press conference to introduce the 48-year-old California native.
"It just felt like the right move on many levels," Kerr told NBA.com by phone Wednesday. "They have a good young team. The location is ideal. My daughter goes to Cal and plays volleyball. My oldest son is in college in San Diego and our youngest is a junior in high school. It's just a short flight for them."
A five-time champion with the Bulls and Spurs, Kerr enjoyed a 15-year playing career from 1989 to 2003, where he established himself as one of the best three-point shooters in league history. Upon retirement, Kerr transitioned into a broadcasting role with TNT and then served as GM of the Suns from 2007 until 2010. After leaving Phoenix, he abruptly went back to the booth. This will be Kerr's first NBA head coaching position.
The Warriors recently fired coach Mark Jackson following a 51-win campaign and a first-round exit. Jackson had coached Golden State for three seasons, making the playoffs twice, but his final season became embroiled in some strange developments when two of his assistants were forced off the bench in the weeks prior to the 2014 playoffs.
Reports indicated this week that Phil Jackson and Kerr had been closing in an on agreement, but a final deal failed to materialize.
"Ultimately, it was agonizing to say no to Phil because of what I think of him and what he's done for my career," Kerr told NBA.com. "When Phil Jackson asks you to coach the Knicks, how do you say no? I think they're going to turn it around, but going to be a big undertaking and it's going to take time. The idea of doing that 3,000 miles from home, it just didn't feel right."
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In Golden State, Kerr will be greeted by a talented, veteran roster -- headlined by All-Star guard Stephen Curry -- that is in win now mode. Most of the Warriors' key pieces -- Curry, Andre Iguodala, David Lee and Andrew Bogut -- are under contract through at least 2015-16, with contributors Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes still on their rookie deals. Although Warriors ownership has developed a reputation for being demanding, the franchise has aggressively spent money in pursuit of a roster that can contend for a title.
Although teaming up with Jackson, who coached Kerr in Chicago, was surely appealing, the Knicks are in the midst of a retooling saga following a disastrous 37-win season. All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony is headed to unrestricted free agency this summer; Even if he re-signs, there are numerous deadweight contracts on the books that will slow New York's ability to improve its standing.