After months of speculation about Kerr joining the Knicks, it all went south. Kerr chose the Warriors, a more prominent team and closer to his home.
That left Phil Jackson, Knicks’ President of Basketball Operations, sailing without a north. The search for a Head Coach continues and a lot is at stake. Besides finding a competent coach, Phil Jackson needs a coach that brings money to the organization through marketing to please his boss James Dolan, he needs a coach that Carmelo Anthony likes, to make a stronger case for him to come back to New York after the free agency, but most importantly he needs a coach that Phil himself can manipulate or influence enough to coach the way he wants the team to be coached.
Names like Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson, established coaches available in the market, would not fit on the last category. It would be harder to force them to coach in a way that they don’t feel comfortable with.
So what are the options?
Considering Phil really wanted Steve Kerr, there are a few names out there that have the same profile. Derek Fisher and Tyronn Lue are two strong possibilities. Both players played for Phil and know his system basketball inside out. Being mentored by Phil Jackson would mean they would follow his every instruction and would be an extension of him on the sidelines.
Is it a good idea?
Well, Jason Kidd just proved to everyone that a Rookie Coach, just out of the court, could make some noise in the league, having just being eliminated in the 2nd round of playoffs with the Brooklyn Nets – yes he did coach future Hall of Famers Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, but who’s paying attention? – so the fact that both Fisher and Lue are prospects with no experience shouldn’t be a problem right?
Besides, they would almost be considered assistant coaches, because the mastermind behind the system that is to be implemented would have Phil Jackson’s fingerprints all over.
What if James Dolan does not want to go through with his promise of staying in the shadows and actually want a coach that has a name already? He could make the move behind Jackson’s back, and that wouldn’t be a surprise for anyone in New York – we all remember the Donnie Walsh tenure with the Knicks.
So I guess we’ll wait and see. This off-season keeps getting better and better, maybe just not for the Knicks themselves.