I've gotten a lot of questions from people that think I'm an expert about Steve Kerr's popularity amongst the credible owners of the NBA. Let's be clear, I know nothing. The only answer I'm certain of is that he's well-connected at every path of his well-known NBA success. From winning championships with Michael Jordan, years as an understudy to Phil Jackson and Gregg Popovich and operating as the Phoenix Suns GM for three years, Kerr has no shortage of support from numerous outlets. But with as much coaching experience as me and you combined, why was he the Plan 1B to Stan Van Gundy's 1A - with SVG being the best possible coach, in my opinion - as the coaching hire?
So I knew Bob. And I’ve known Joe actually a long time through a mutual friend, a venture capitalist in the Bay Area. So we’ve been on golf trips together.
The familiarity for sure was helpful and it helped everybody relax and just sort of… be themselves.
Those are damning words coming from the next coach of the Golden State Warriors. Juxtapose that against Mark Jackson's "minor" disagreements that include his refusal to move his church from Southern California and we're starting to see a not-so-subtle disconnect differentiating between the old and new regime.
When Joe Lacob first hired Mark Jackson he did not anticipate much intimate friction, either. But Lacob, Bob Myers and the rest of management were confident this time to cash out the rookie head coach to the tune of 5 years and $25 million (similar to the one Jim Harbaugh received three years ago). There are many circumstances that help us contextualize the difference between the contracts. Jackson never had experience with basketball operations other than functioning as the star point guard on a very good team.
Kerr, on the other hand, spent considerable time managing players, egos, and philosophies. Later in his detailed chat with Tim Kawakami of San Jose Mercury News, he notes that his offense won't turn away from the Stephen Curry and (insert name) pick-and-roll. So while the golf buddies comment is disconcerting, there are certainly notions with which Kerr can stand upon while trying to prosper under the intense pressure.
And yet, it gets back to why the team was so willing to go the extra mile - one that even the New York Knicks who just signed Phil Jackson to a bajillion dollar contract wouldn't go - to land something that's considerably splashy without the requisite weight.
Perhaps it's Lacob's inability to simply deal with Mark Jackson. Perhaps it's the familiarity and Kerr's acceptance to the fact he won't own control over all basketball decisions. Keep in mind, Stan Van Gundy essentially wasn't the name tabbed because Lacob was unwilling to cede Myers' and his control of the team over. Perhaps it is the highly bright, and open-minded (seemingly accurate on all accounts and necessary) ideal that is Steve Kerr that got Lacob chomping at the bit to go to the extra year. Take some time out to listen to some of his Grantland spots and even his announcing perspectives are top-notch. Kerr won't start his era with a co-coach in the way Mark Jackson had to deal with Mike Malone. There will be no questions about his Xs-and-Os.
Ownership has spun this into the notion that the two-headed combination of Myers and Lacob had had enough of the offense and personal interaction issues. Steve Kerr ostensibly solves both of these problems at once. And yet, this still leaves open the door to the question as to whether the credentials were worth going this high and blind, flying all the way to Oklahoma City after their Game 6, to woo the guy they wanted?
Warriors haven't had serious talks w/ Kerr in days, w/ owner Joe Lacob rapidly joining management in believing Stan Van Gundy's best choice.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) May 12, 2014
Kerr was and is Lacob's guy all along. For whatever reason it may be, he got what he wanted.
If the team desired offensive innovation they could simply go with Mike D'Antoni and bank on the defenders to keep playing at their requisite talent. If they wanted a fresh face with coaching experience and a fun offense, there was Fred Hoiberg. Hell, they were even ready to interview Lionel Hollins, a coach that ran into most of the same problems Jackson was a part of near the end of the season.
But Lacob's comfortability and connections led him to the glitzy hire of Steve Kerr. We just don't know what was so glitzy to begin with.