Steve Kerr chooses Warriors over Knicks

Steve Kerr chooses Warriors over Knicks
May 14, 2014, 5:15 pm
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Steve Kerr will reportedly make $25 million over five years. (USATI)

The odds were against them from the start. So was sentiment and lots of history, championship history.

After trying and trying and trying to pry Steve Kerr away from the Knicks and Phil Jackson, the Warriors and CEO Joe Lacob, whose competitive streak is as wide as Oklahoma, were ready to quit.

And then on Tuesday, they came back, rallying long enough and hard enough to persuade Kerr to turn away from New York and toward California.

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Kerr on Wednesday night agreed to become the team's next head coach. The deal, reported first by NBA.com, is said to span five years and be worth $25 million. The Warriors on Wednesday night confirmed the agreement.

It was a stunning change of heart and mind, and it happened in less than 24 hours.

The Warriors had given up on Kerr last week, turning their sights to No. 2 choice Stan Van Gundy. Van Gundy, however, did not receive his desired level of player personnel authority and on Tuesday accepted the job with the Pistons, who met his request.

The Warriors responded by flying to Oklahoma City to make one final, personal appeal to Kerr. Lacob and his cabinet – general manager Bob Myers and assistant GM Kirk Lacob – were chasing Kerr with a zeal bordering on obsession.

Yet they knew of the risk. Kerr, 48, had spent several weeks in discussions with the Knicks, who in March hired Phil Jackson to run the entire basketball operation. Kerr was a member of three of Jackson's championship teams with the Bulls. Their dialogue was ongoing. It was widely presumed Kerr would maintain his allegiance to a man he considers a mentor.

Two reliable sources told CSN Bay Area last week that Kerr was going to New York.

With that in mind, the Warriors pressed Kerr on Tuesday and came away impressed with his response. They were even more impressed that he agreed to join them.

"We love Kerr,” Lacob told Yahoo! Sports. “Incredibly prepared. We got him because of our players. The Golden State Warriors’ future is bright.''

How badly did the Warriors want Kerr? They went after him knowing he was a first-time coach ticketed for the Knicks. They gave him a deal nearly twice as long and worth three times the amount Jackson received when he was hired in 2011.

Kerr, who was in Oklahoma serving as a TV analyst for TNT, had a long NBA career and is the league's No. 1 all-time 3-point shooter by percentage. He played for six different NBA teams, finishing his career with the Spurs, where he won two more championships.

After retiring in 2003, Kerr joined TNT as an analyst, remaining there until 2007, when he moved into the role of general manager of the Suns. Kerr left Phoenix after three seasons and shortly thereafter rejoined TNT.

Kerr and his wife, Margot, have three children, including a daughter, Madeleine, who attends Cal.