Steve Kerr agreed in principle to be the head coach of the Warriors on Wednesday, a decision that stunned an NBA community convinced the five-time NBA champion would reunite with Phil Jackson in New York.
Kerr, 48, is expected to work out the final details of his contract with the Warriors in the next couple of days and then be introduced to Bay Area media Friday or Monday, depending on his schedule covering the playoff series between the Clippers and Thunder for TNT.
After Warriors executives met with Stan Van Gundy in Florida on Monday and then lost him to a bigger contract and bigger responsibilities in Detroit on Tuesday, they flew to Oklahoma City. That’s where Kerr was preparing to call Game 5 of the series between the Clippers and Thunder, and where the Warriors made a last-ditch appeal that managed to outweigh his meaningful relationship with Jackson, his former coach with the Bulls.
Though Kerr won three NBA titles with Jackson – and two more with San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich – and was deep into negotiations with the Knicks, he decided that location, roster, ownership and contract were ultimately more important…
They agreed on a five-year, $25 million deal that puts Kerr, a first-time coach, among the league’s highest paid. Van Gundy and the Clippers’ Doc Rivers make $7 million a season for personnel-deciding and coaching positions, and Popovich makes $6 million a season to coach the Spurs.
When Mark Jackson was hired to coach the Warriors in June 2011, he signed a three-year deal worth $6 million. Last summer the Warriors picked up a $2.5 million, fourth-year option for 2014-15, which Jackson will receive after being fired last week. SF Gate
Steve Kerr just taught me that I have to work on my networking game.
Think about this: Mark Jackson was also hired for the head coaching position despite no previous experience as a professional coach. Jackson signed a three year deal at $2 million per season, with a fourth year option at $2.5 million. Kerr just signed a five-year contract, all years guaranteed, at $5 million per season because Phil Jackson wanted him to coach the New York Knicks although no one showed interest beforehand. That is ridiculous.
Some people claimed that Kerr’s ascent to the top of potential coaching hires as racially motivated. That is also ridiculous. Kerr knew people and they took care of him. Black people are not always in those circles. That happens but this is just about connections. Phil Jackson hooked up Kerr without hiring him with the Knicks simply by showing an interest in his basketball acumen. It was a win-win for Kerr no matter what and now he owes the don even more than ever before. Plus, Kerr’s a smoother operator on the mic and look at all that bling from playing under Phil Jackson and Greg Popovich.
Championship rings are like the master keys to getting the NBA gig of your choice and Kerr has five master keys. For now, let’s bow down to the man who played everybody by allowing enough information to be leaked to the media that the Warriors obliged his desires to be one of the highest paid coaches in the league for half a decade.
Good job, sir. – AL