Steve Kerr On Warriors, Knicks, Jackson

Steve Kerr is stepping out from behind the microphone as an announcer and venturing into new territory as an NBA rookie head coach with the Warriors this season. Golden State wasn’t his only suitor this summer, and Kerr was the heavy favorite to land the Knicks coaching position before deciding to pick up the clipboard in Oakland. Kerr sat down with Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com for an interview, and here are some of the highlights…

On why he doesn’t want to return to a front office role:

I like being on the court. I enjoyed the job, but you’re never on the court as a GM. You’re always upstairs and talking to agents. It’s a more-corporate position. I’d rather dress like this (T-shirt, shorts) every day to practice, to be honest with you. I like working with players and I like the game itself.”

On what the Knicks-Warriors decision came down to for him:

New York was very intriguing, especially my relationship with Phil [Jackson] and the opportunity he was presenting me, and the Knicks, the franchise itself and the history. But it would have been a really, really difficult situation in terms of the family and being all the way across the country. I just felt better suited to work with these guys here, this younger roster with a more established core. It just felt more comfortable.

On the differences between Golden State’s and New York’s rosters:

The fact that the Knicks were in the East and were a year away from cap room was really intriguing. I think the Knicks are a playoff team right now and I think they’re going to get better and I think a year from now they’ll have a chance to make a real splash in free agency. The basketball situation, particularly being aligned with Phil, was very intriguing actually. It much more came down to lifestyle and family and the established roster here. On the flip side, we’re in the West. (He laughs) That was a negative. But can’t do much about that.”

On how close he was to coaching the Knicks:

I came close. It was very difficult to turn down. Agonizing. I actually at one point told Phil I was going to come, without knowing anything about contracts and without really talking in detail about certain circumstances. At one point I told him, “I’m coming,” but the caveat that we need to hash the rest of this out. And that’s when the Golden State job opened up and that’s when they were able to contact me and I was able to explore it. The timing was weird.”

On if Phil Jackson was disappointed in Kerr heading to the Warriors:

He [Jackson] understood. In fact, he said, ‘If you had come here and regretted it, it would have been the worst thing for both of us.’ That’s why Phil’s Phil. He understands people. In hindsight, it probably would have been best not committing, not saying anything, just saying, Look, I need to talk to Golden State. But the timing was an issue on both ends. It was very tricky. Anyway, it all worked out. I think the Knicks ended up with a great coach and Derek (Fisher) and Phil will do well together and I’m happy to be here with (general manager) Bob (Myers) and the team.”

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