By Sekou Smith, NBA.com
HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Steve Kerr doesn’t need professional advice from me or anyone else.
But as a concerned colleague, I’m going to give it anyway.
STAY OUT OF NEW YORK!
Listen to everything they have to say. Soak it all up. But no matter how much they sweeten the offer, no matter how intoxicating the idea of joining force with Phil Jackson sounds, you need to resist that urge. Don’t make this an emotional thing. Keep it about business. Strictly business.
If you’re going to dive into these nasty coaching waters, where guys get fired with winning records, after 51-win seasons that include playing in Game 7s of playoff series, do it somewhere other than New York.
The Knicks are not yet ready for the sort of success that can be attained with the core group the Golden State Warriors have assembled. And if you are indeed atop their wish list as well, that’s an opportunity you cannot let pass.
The Warriors fired Mark Jackson this afternoon, surprising no one with the decision to part ways with their coach of three seasons after three straight years of improvement.
The Warriors made the playoffs in two of the past three seasons after making it just once in the 17 seasons before Jackson arrived. They made it in back-to-back years for the first time since 1991 under Jackson, whose 51-win season this year wasn’t enough to save him from Tuesday’s chopping block.
That first round exit against the Los Angeles Clippers, a Game 7 for the No. 6 seed Warriors against the No. 3 seed Clippers, was again, not enough to save Jackson. Neither was candid and extremely public endorsements from the Warriors’ most high-profile players, including the face of the franchise, All-Star point guard Steph Curry.
But sometimes a fresh perspective is warranted.
Kerr brings that, the same way Jackson did when he was hired.
The window for most coaches to keep a team locked in on their vision is roughly three to four seasons anyway. Walking into that Warriors situation now is the ideal time for someone who has been crafting their own vision of the game and how he’d want his team to play in this era, could be a dream scenario for the right coach.
With a ton of experienced coaches, guys like George Karl, Stan Van Gundy, Byron Scott, Jeff Van Gundy, Lionel Hollins, Mike Woodson and others all available, the Warriors should have no shortage of candidates interested in coaching a team capable of doing what we’ve seen out of the Warriors under Jackson?
In short, the Warriors have plenty of options. And since they didn’t worry about Curry’s feelings regarding Mark Jackson’s future with the franchise, they probably won’t bother consulting with their franchise player in the selection of Jackson’s replacement.
In years past I’d have worried about a franchise making a move like that. But not now. Not in this day and age of players and coaches making moves of their own in free agency and trades (Doc Rivers from the Celtics to the Clippers seems to have worked out well in LA).
If the Warriors’ front office feels as strongly about Kerr as most insiders believe they do, hence their quick decision on Jackson while the Knicks were trying to negotiate a deal with Kerr, the only thing left to do is make it official.
I’m going to miss Kerr’s sharp analysis on TNT and during March Madness, like plenty of others.
But if he’s hell-bent on coaching, on doing it to win and win big, then it’s pretty obvious to me where that needs to happen. And as much as I love the mystique and intrigue of what could be in New York, the better spot right now has to be in Oakland.