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Kerr chooses Warriors over Knicks

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: May 14 2014 10:34:20 PM CDT
Updated On: May 15 2014 09:56:41 AM CDT
Steve Kerr, April 2014

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Steve Kerr accepted an NBA head coaching job on Wednesday night, but it was not with the team that courted him for a month.

The Golden State Warriors announced that they reached an agreement in principle with Kerr to become their next coach. The team did not disclose financial details, but reports indicated that it was a five-year, $25 million contract.

In the end, Kerr was swayed by Golden State being closer to his home in San Diego.

"They have a good young team. The location is ideal," Kerr told NBA.com. "My daughter goes to Cal and plays volleyball. My oldest son is in college in San Diego and our youngest is a junior in high school. It's just a short flight for them."

All signs had pointed to Kerr going to the New York Knicks. He was pursued by new Knicks president Phil Jackson, but the two sides never were able to come to an agreement. The Knicks reportedly wanted to to sign Kerr to a four-year deal and he ultimately received a five-year contract from the Warriors.

"Ultimately, it was agonizing to say no to Phil because of what I think of him and what he's done for my career," Kerr told NBA.com. "When Phil Jackson asks you to coach the Knicks, how do you say no? I think they're going to turn it around, but going to be a big undertaking and it's going to take time. The idea of doing that 3,000 miles from home, it just didn't feel right."

According to a Yahoo Sports! report on Tuesday night, the Knicks decided to up their three-year offer to Kerr to a four-year guaranteed contract. Previous reports indicated that the Knicks balked at paying Kerr "superstar money" of more than $5 million per season.

"I told Phil, 'I think I have to pursue this other opportunity,' " Kerr said. "He gave me his blessing. He said go look at it, and do what was in my heart."

There were strong indications that the Warriors' first choice was Stan Van Gundy, but he was hired Tuesday by the Detroit Pistons. The San Jose Mercury News reported Wednesday that that the Warriors also had interest in Lionel Hollins, the former Memphis Grizzlies coach.

The Warriors met Tuesday with Kerr while he was in Oklahoma City for the TNT broadcast of the Thunder-Los Angeles Clippers game.

Golden State, which parted ways with coach Mark Jackson after the season, is considered a better situation for Kerr than the Knicks. The Warriors won 51 games during the regular season before they were ousted in a seven-game, first-round playoff series by the Clippers. The roster, led by guard Stephen Curry, is stocked with more talent than the Knicks.

Kerr has not been a head coach in the NBA, but he had a long playing career and served as general manager of the Phoenix Suns before going into broadcasting.

"Look, at the end of the day I know he knows a lot about basketball," Warriors owner Joe Lacob told USA Today. "We're taking a little bit of a risk on his coaching ability, but we did that with Mark and it worked. So it's just about finding the right fit for the organization and a guy who has extremely high potential, is a hard worker and is very prepared. That's what we have got."

With Kerr out of the picture in New York, it is uncertain where the Knicks will turn next in their search for a coach to replace Mike Woodson, who was jettisoned after the season.

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