Report: Phil Jackson to Coach the Knicks Through Steve Kerr

by May 02, 2014

It appears to only be a matter of time before New York Knicks president Phil Jackson hires Steve Kerr as his new head coach. According to the Wall St. Journal, Jackson dined with soon-to-be free agent Carmelo Anthony last week, and tried to sell Melo on the idea of the Zen Master being a coaching extension through Kerr. Or something to that effect:

The meeting suggested a couple of things: First, that Jackson, in his new role as an executive, won’t necessarily make his decisions—like firing Mike Woodson, or hiring Kerr—based on his star player’s opinions. On the other hand, the sit-down with Anthony was a strong sign that, despite Jackson’s recent comments suggesting that he’d like Anthony to take a pay cut, he’ll likely still put on a full-court press to retain the 29-year-old star forward this summer.

In sitting down with Anthony, who has made it abundantly clear that he wants to play for a winning team next season, Jackson wanted to allay any concerns Anthony might have about Kerr’s inexperience as a coach. (Kerr, who played under Jackson with the Chicago Bulls, has never coached at any level.) Jackson tried to do that, the sources said, by telling Anthony that he’d be both visible and available on the sidelines while the team takes part in training camp.

“Phil wanted [Anthony] to know that Kerr and his thinking will simply be an extension of himself,” one of the sources said. “He wanted Carmelo to know he’ll still be able to coach him by extension.”

The two never discussed the idea of someone other than Kerr coaching the team.

Separately, according to one of the people familiar with the meeting, Anthony wasn’t distressed by Jackson’s comments about it being necessary for Anthony to take a smaller salary to stay in New York.