Steve Kerr says he spoke with Knicks’ Phil Jackson over weekend
NEW YORK — Steve Kerr said Sunday he spoke with Phil Jackson twice over the weekend and that they will continue discussing his potential of becoming coach of the New York Knicks.
Kerr said he had dinner with Jackson, his former coach and the new Knicks team president, on Friday night and they talked again Saturday. Kerr is in New York to work the game between the Brooklyn Nets and Toronto Raptors for TNT.
”There’s a lot to cover on both sides and this was the first time we’ve talked about the job. It just opened up last week and so we’ve got a lot of things to discuss,” Kerr said.
Jackson fired Mike Woodson and the rest of the Knicks coaching staff after a 37-45 season, and again said he wasn’t interested in returning to coaching.
Though Kerr has never been a coach, he has been mentioned as a candidate for the job since Jackson was hired in March. Jackson said last week he hoped to speak with Kerr soon to see gauge his desire to do the job, and it definitely interests Kerr.
”How could it not?” Kerr said. ”I mean, it’s the Knicks and it’s Phil Jackson, my coach. So I’d be crazy not to look into it.”
Kerr said he has wanted to coach since stepping down as Phoenix Suns general manager in 2010. He won three titles playing for Jackson in Chicago, and agreed with his former coach that they have similar views of the game.
”I know Phil last week said we share the same space, which I think is well said,” Kerr said. ”We share a lot of the same philosophies. I learned a lot of my basketball from him and Tex Winter, and so I think it’s safe to say that we have a lot of the same ideas.”
Winter taught the triangle offense and was a longtime Jackson assistant when he used the system to win an NBA-record 11 championships as a coach. Jackson said he won’t insist the Knicks coach run it, but has made clear his belief in it.
Woodson went 109-79 with the Knicks, leading them last season to their first division championship since 1994, but was fired with a year left on his contract. He said Sunday on NBA TV that coaching the team that drafted him out of college was like a ”dream come true.”
”And the last two years, prior to coming into this season, was a good two seasons for our ballclub and our fans. And this year things just didn’t work out,” Woodson said. ”Sometimes in life things just don’t work out according to plan. But I look at it, overall, it was a good run.”
Jackson said he doesn’t have a timetable, though he hoped to have a coach in place by the July summer league. Kerr said it was tough to do things quickly because he’s on the road so much of the spring working games.
He’s been going to training camps and meeting with coaches, and wants to work with players instead of another role in a front office.
”I’ve been preparing for this and if it’s something that feels like the right fit, it’s something I’m going to do,” Kerr said.