With Mike Woodson out of the picture, TNT analyst Steve Kerr is considered the top candidate for the coaching gig in New York. Kerr says he’s ready to chat with Knicks president Phil Jackson about the opportunity. Per the NY Post:
“I do anticipate talking with Phil Jackson at some point,” Kerr said on his weekly radio show on SiriusXM. “But when that time comes, it will come. But for now there’s really not a whole lot to talk about. This is the NBA. Coaches basically know when they go in that they are likely to be fired. It’s a brutal business, it’s a brutal profession.
“I think back to a year ago when the Knicks were one of the best stories in the league, they won 54 games, I thought Mike Woodson was one of the top coaches in the league. He did a fantastic job. And then everything fell apart this year for a number of reasons.”
Kerr acknowledged he’s still tight with the Zen Master after winning three titles with him in Chicago in the 1990s, and even attended Jackson’s daughter’s wedding.
“We’ve remained close over the years, since he retired from coaching,” Kerr said. “Even while he was coaching the Lakers, I would often have dinner with him on the road if I was playing for another team even, just to catch up. I went to his daughter’s wedding a few years ago in Montana. We’ve been very close. And so I’ve known for years that Phil wanted to do this — not necessarily in New York, I thought he was going to end up in Seattle last year if the Kings had moved to Seattle to become the Sonics — but I knew that he was done with coaching [and] that he was more interested in being a team president and building a franchise.
“And I think he’ll be very good at it. It’s going to be very interesting, and obviously my name is being thrown around. I do anticipate at least being part of the conversation, and we’ll see where it all goes.”
Kerr specified why he thought the Knicks went into free fall, finishing 37-45 after last season’s 54-28 campaign.
“Tyson Chandler’s injury was a major factor,” Kerr said. “I thought the J.R. Smith suspension early in the season threw the team off right from the start. And then some personnel moves that didn’t work out. They lost a lot of veteran leadership from last year’s team – guys like Jason Kidd and Kurt Thomas – and they were replaced by younger players who probably weren’t as equipped to handle the adversity that the team faced this year. So I think this was largely circumstantial, but this is the way the NBA works: The coach is usually the first one to pay.
“I feel bad for Mike, I think he’s done an excellent job in New York, but between the struggles of the team this year and the new regime with Phil Jackson I think this was – and I don’t think I’m the only one saying this – I think the writing was sort of on the wall the last couple of months. And now here we are.”