Brandon Tierney, a diehard Knicks fan, knew the longer that negotiations with Steve Kerr went on, the odds of him actually becoming New York’s next head coach diminished.
And that’s exactly what happened.
Kerr, a West Coast native and resident, signed a five-year, $25-million deal this week to coach Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors.
But for Kerr, the decision was much harder than you might think. Just how close was he to signing with the Knicks?
“Very, very close,” Kerr’s agent, Mike Tannenbaum, said on The Morning Show. “This was never anything about an anti-Knicks thing. First of all, his relationship with Phil (Jackson) is very special. They accomplished so much together. This was really much more about really loving the Golden State roster and having three kids on the West Coast. Steve and his wife are from the San Diego area, (and) he has a daughter that goes to school in the Bay Area.”
“But he really liked the plan that Phil had for the Knicks long-term,” Tannenbaum continued, “and who’s going to bet against Phil Jackson? All he’s ever known is success. I think they’re going to do great things there. But for Steve, he just felt like when you balance personal and professional variables, the better fit was in Golden State.”
There are some who say Kerr didn’t want to coach the Knicks because he didn’t want to be in Jackson’s shadow, that he wanted to stand up on his own two feet and forge his own path.
Tannenbaum said that couldn’t be further from the truth. After all, who better to have as a mentor than Jackson?
“We really saw (having Jackson) as a huge asset and a big positive,” Tannenbaum said. “With that said, he sat down with Bob Myers, the general manager of the Golden State Warriors, (and) Kirk Lacob, the assistant general manager, and really felt comfortable with them as well. (Kerr was) really impressed with the roster they’ve already built.
“He really saw both situations as positives. He couldn’t go wrong.”
There are other rumors that Knicks owner James Dolan was willing to sign Kerr for three or four years, but not five. Tannenbaum refuted that claim.
“This was a non-economic issue,” Dolan said. “He was comfortable with where the economics were. It was all about fit.”
Tannenbaum, who previously served as general manager of the New York Jets, was also asked about Michael Sam – specifically the documentary series the Oprah Winfrey Network is making about him.
Cameras won’t be allowed in the locker room, but should the Rams by concerned about this? And is this really the right move for Sam, who will be fighting to make the roster?
“I think they’ll be proactive about it and keep it out of the locker room and out of the facility,” Tannenbaum said of the Rams. “If I was representing Michael Sam, I’d say, ‘Look, I appreciate what you’re trying to accomplish. From a social-conscious standpoint, there’s a lot you can do. But it all starts (with) making the team.’
“As you all know, his football career is going to be predicated on how he plays in the preseason games, most notably in the kicking game. All those (other) things, there’s a time and a place – and as I would tell him, it’d be the offseason. Without him making the team, none of this stuff has the same value.”