Mike Woodson’s days in New York appear to be numbered, and according to the NY Post, Steve Kerr is the top candidate for the high-profile coaching gig. Knicks president Phil Jackson is reportedly expected to reach out to Kerr soon as Woodson is canned, and the TNT analyst is said to be interested:
Kerr’s name emerged as a top candidate based on his ties with Jackson. He was part of the Bulls’ three straight championship teams from 1996 to 1998 and the two have remained close. His knowledge of the triangle offense is said to be an asset.
Kerr might seem an unlikely choice considering he has no coaching experience. But that is becoming more common in the NBA. Mark Jackson went from broadcaster to first-time coach at Golden State, where the Warriors have made two straight playoff appearances. Go back a few years and Doc Rivers made a successful transition from analyst to coaching. Jason Kidd, who had no previous coaching experience, led the Nets to the playoffs in his first season.
Fellow TNT analyst Charles Barkley, though, didn’t exactly give Kerr a ringing endorsement and questioned what impact he could have.
“I just feel bad the way they treated Mike Woodson,” Barkley said. “The Kerr thing could be interesting, but I don’t know what the player situation is. This league is about players, so it’s going to depend on what he has to work with. He’s not going to do anything better with this team.”
Woodson is expected to be fired with one year left on his contract after the Knicks failed to make the playoffs following a 54-win season last year. Everyone knows 37-45 wasn’t all his fault. The injuries and subpar performances have been well-chronicled.
Woodson’s departure seemed inevitable until Carmelo Anthony spoke passionately on Thursday about his coach, saying: “I’ll back him if he needs my recommendation. I have nothing bad to say about Mike Woodson. I support him. I as a player had some of my best years under Mike Woodson.”
Jackson spent part of Thursday giving the Knicks one-on-one pep talks to soothe their bruised egos and encourage them to get better in preparation for next season. The next order of business should be naming his coach.