NEW YORK (WFAN) — The Knicks managed to convince Phil Jackson to move east. Jackson couldn’t do the same with Steve Kerr, who spurned New York on Wednesday for a five-year deal to coach the Golden State Warriors.
The move drew comparisons Thursday to Bill Belichick snubbing the Jets for New England from WFAN co-host Boomer Esiason.
“I’m sure this isn’t the most popular decision with everybody in our market,” Kerr’s agent, former Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum, said on WFAN’s “Boomer & Carton” show. “You guys love New York. I do. It’s a unique place, we all know it, it’s special. It’s the reason it’s the biggest and the best. But let’s face it, it’s not for everybody.”
Tannenbaum, who was lower on the totem pole when Belichick handed in his infamously scribbled resignation letter, said Kerr chose Golden State for family reasons — plain and simple. With his kids attending school in California, it was the ideal situation to transition from broadcasting to coaching.
That could have been the deciding factor. But various reports stated that Kerr also weighed the fact that established coaches — Lenny Wilkens, Larry Brown and Mike D’Antoni — have a way of failing miserably under Knicks owner James Dolan.
“This was not an anti-Knick thing as much as it was just a perfect fit,” Tannenbaum said, later adding that Jackson’s arrival in March was “the ultimate endorsement” of Dolan’s franchise. “And look, if Golden State wasn’t available, yeah, I think it’s fair to say that’s probably where things would have wound up. But things change.”
It’s no secret that he was Jackson’s Plan A. Kerr admitted to NBA.com that it was “agonizing” to reject his mentor.
Tannenbaum was asked if Kerr would have signed with the Knicks had they matched Golden State’s $25 million offer.
“There were a couple other teams that we didn’t even get a chance to sit down with,” he said. “Economics were not a role. He was in an unbelievably fortuitous position, so that did not drive this decision.”
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