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New York Knicks’ Phil Jackson Told Carmelo Anthony He’d Help Steve Kerr Coach

May 2nd, 2014 at 7:44 PM
By Matt Agne

Before he ever fired Mike Woodson, Phil Jackson knew he wanted to hire Steve Kerr to coach the New York Knicks. Kerr knew it. So did the rest of the world. Carmelo Anthony knew it too but it wasn't till now that Jackson formally told Anthony about his intent to hire Kerr as the next Knicks head coach.

'Carmelo Anthony' photo (c) 2013, Keith Allison - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

By now most people know that not only does Phil Jackson want to hire Steve Kerr as the next head coach of the New York Knicks but that he's hoping to finish the deal before the second round of the NBA playoffs. 

At this point, Jackson is hoping to finalize the deal sometime early this month. That would keep Kerr from flirting with west coast teams like the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors. It would also allow him to bow out gracefully from his job as TNT analyst job.

Anthony and Jackson had a private dinner and conversation at the American Cut TriBeCa. It was there that Jackson told Anthony he was expecting to hire Kerr to replace Mike Woodson.

However, while talking to Anthony about his intent to hire Kerr it was also made clear that Jackson would be involved in the coaching as well. From the sounds of things, Jackson intends to use Kerr as an extension of himself.

Chris Herring of The Wall Street Journal reports Jackson eased potential concerns Anthony could have over playing for a rookie head coach by ensuring Anthony he'd be available on the sidelines during training camp.

Knicks president Phil Jackson told free-agent-to-be Carmelo Anthony that he is fully expecting to hire Steve Kerr as the team's next coach when Jackson and Anthony sat down for dinner in Manhattan last week, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The meeting suggested a couple of things: First, that Jackson, in his new role as an executive, won't necessarily make his decisions—like firing Mike Woodson, or hiring Kerr—based on his star player's opinions. On the other hand, the sit-down with Anthony was a strong sign that, despite Jackson's recent comments suggesting that he'd like Anthony to take a pay cut, he'll likely still put on a full-court press to retain the 29-year-old star forward this summer.

In sitting down with Anthony, who has made it abundantly clear that he wants to play for a winning team next season, Jackson wanted to allay any concerns Anthony might have about Kerr's inexperience as a coach. (Kerr, who played under Jackson with the Chicago Bulls, has never coached at any level.) Jackson tried to do that, the sources said, by telling Anthony that he'd be both visible and available on the sidelines while the team takes part in training camp.

"Phil wanted [Anthony] to know that Kerr and his thinking will simply be an extension of himself," one of the sources said. "He wanted Carmelo to know he'll still be able to coach him by extension."

This is interesting but not entirely surprising. Many have speculated that Jackson could return to the sidelines. However, he's claimed that his age and health have caught up to him and that his coaching days are over.

Don't expect Jackson to name himself head coach. His back just won't allow him to stand an entire season as a head coach. That being said, joining Kerr on the sideline during training camp to help get the triangle offense properly installed. 

Clearly Jackson is trying to convince Anthony that the Knicks don't need to perform as poorly next season as they did this season. That's good because Anthony likely won't stick around for that. He may, however, be willing to stick around for a winning system like the triangle offense being installed by Jackson himself. At least that's what Jackson is hoping.

'Carmelo Anthony' photo (c) 2013, Keith Allison - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Tags: Basketball, Carmelo Anthony, NBA, New York, New York Knicks, Phil Jackson, Steve Kerr

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