Programming note: For all the day’s sports news, tune in to SportsNet Central tonight and every night at 6, 10:30 p.m. and midnight on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area
Evidently Mark Jackson had to be fired by the Warriors as quickly as he was for Joe Lacob to get Steve Kerr, because Kerr had already told Phil Jackson he was ready to be a New York Knickerbocker.
Jackson told reporters Friday that Kerr actually had agreed to come to New York before the Warrior job opened on May 6, three days after Golden State’s season ended in Los Angeles.
"Unfortunately for him, he committed to me the day before the job opened with Golden State,” Jackson said as he addressed the hot mess that is the Knick Experience. “So I had to kind of release him to actually go to this job and say ‘you have to do what's right for yourself.’ I understood entirely the process he was going through to have that job open up. That was something he kind of thought would be a good fit for him. So that's good, we're happy for him.”
There is no hint of rancor, unethical behavior or double-dealing in the quote, so as smoking guns go, this one is pretty much room temperature. But it does add a bit of context to Kerr’s statements that he was “close” to taking the Knicks job. Evidently it was very close indeed, and that had Lacob not decided to whack Jackson at exactly the moment he did, Kerr might have actually signed something and been too far gone to retrieve.
We will see soon enough -- within a year, two at the outside -- if this represents a classically Lacobian stroke of good luck, or an unforeseen and unfortunate development in Warriors history. But for the moment, Jackson’s anecdote is a neat historical quirk -- "The Knick Coach Who Wasn’t."