Steve Kerr turned down the Knicks for the Golden State Warriors. Can you blame him?
So what are the Knicks going to do about it? The smart thing to do, if Jim Dolan was inclined to make the smart move, would be to issue a statement wishing Kerr luck in his first career coaching job. And make sure to mention that it is his first coaching job.
Kerr is a nice guy and everything, but he isn’t the creme de la creme of available coaching candidates.
And Dolan should strike like a viper and hire the best available guy, the guy out of Bishop Loughlin, St. John’s and the Rick Pitino/Stu Jackson/Pat Riley eras at Madison Square Garden. The guy who got fired last week.
This Kerr moment — the news coming at halftime of the Brooklyn-Miami playoff game, making the Knicks seem even tinier by comparison — screams for a reaction from the Knicks. But don’t expect one. Dolan’s policy is always to say as little as possible. As in nothing. If he was smart, he’d call Harvey Araton and give the New York Times an exclusive. But Dolan is not that kind of smart.
Just my opinion, and Mr. Dolan is welcome to take the advice, but this is the time — and there has to be a first time sometime — for Dolan to change the game.
The Knicks job remains one of the marquee jobs in the NBA, and the challenge for Dolan is to find someone who might not be able to match Kerr in likability, but who knows how to coach. You know, a track record? A guy with one of those.
Like Mark Jackson.
The guy whose team just won 51 games. The guy whose team might have made it to the second round, or farther, if Andrew Bogut had been healthy.
You want to stick it to Joe Jacob and Jerry West and Bob Myers and Rick Welts, Mr. Dolan? Go hire their old coach. He’s a New Yorker. He served two stints as a player with the Knicks, and he was beloved. He also ran alongside Reggie Miller, and was hated.
He’s a lightning rod, and he’s the perfect candidate to start a rebuilding process that, in all reality, will truly begin a year from now in the summer of 2015 when the Knicks will have cap room as the contracts of Amare Stoudemire, Andrea Bargnani and Tyson Chandler come off the cap. Until then, they’re going to stink. And even if they don’t stink, they’ll never get past the Heat. And everyone knows it. They don’t even have a draft pick next month. First round or second round.
With one bold and decisive move, the Knicks could be run by not by one Jackson, but by two, with Mark giving Phil an assist in convincing Carmelo Anthony to stay.
Everything begins with that move, and until the ‘Bockers find out what Anthony will do, they are in an organizational holding pattern. And until they hire a coach, they will get shown up every time a Stan Van Gundy or a Steve Kerr or a Jeff Van Gundy or a Byron Scott lands elsewhere.
Kerr made Dolan look bad Wednesday night.
Dolan can make Kerr look like an afterthought with a quick countermove.
Hire Mark Jackson, and nobody really cares why Kerr chose Oakland over Manhattan (the upcoming move to San Francisco probably didn’t hurt the Warriors’ pitch). Hire Mark Jackson, and you get a guy who can go metaphor to metaphor with one of the NBA’s most eloquent and intelligent commentators. Hire Mark Jackson, and you get a point guard directing the team in a city of point guards, which New York basketball fans like to consider themselves. Kerr? He was a shooting guard. New York’s playgrounds don’t produce shooters, they produce point guards.
Get this thing done in 24 hours, Mr. Dolan, and you seize the day. It’s real Carpe Diem stuff this time. Phil just got here. You can’t let Steve Kerr show him up. The Nets just got knocked out by the Heat. So see if you can get on the same page with Phil, and go get your second Jackson, Mr. Dolan. You’ll definitely hit the ground running in Year #1 of the Phil Jackson administration.
Chris Sheridan is publisher and editor-in-chief of SheridanHoops.com. Follow him on Twitter.