What Kerr hiring means for Lacob, Warriors

What Kerr hiring means for Lacob, Warriors
May 15, 2014, 12:15 pm
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Joe Lacob's passion and resources have helped build a contender. (USATSI)

Joe Lacob has found the new leader of his club in Steve Kerr. (AP)

Warriors CEO Joe Lacob is going to do all he can to win the news conference. It's his style. He made clear from the beginning that he can find a way when few, if any, believe in him and especially if nobody sees him coming.

This is the guy who finagled ownership of the Warriors when the basketball world was braced for Larry Ellison, the Oracle mega-billionaire whose reputation is that he always gets what he wants.

Lacob defied skeptics and made the surprising hire of Mark Jackson as his first head coach, promised Jackson would be successful and made good on the promise.

Lacob went after the dynamic basketball mind of Jerry West -– and got him.

Lacob pursued and captured the admired business mind of Rick Welts.

[RELATED: Roster, location main reasons Kerr took job]

So maybe, in Lacob's quest to hired Steve Kerr as his next coach, Phil "Eleven Rings" Jackson wasn't such a formidable opponent after all.

Because Kerr always was looking for comfort and Lacob always was looking for "fit," their union is not as stunning as it first might seem. Yes, it's surprising that Kerr would turn away from Jackson, his mentor, but the Knicks are such a mess that their next coach has to know "comfort" won't be part of the initial equation. There can be no comfort there until Jackson establishes its existence.

The union of Kerr and Lacob, however, is a confluence of mutual desires. It's two men who run in the same circles, with mutual acquaintances. It is, in the mind of Lacob, destiny at the cost of $25 million over five years.

But it's another example of Lacob's unflinching drive and galloping ambition. He is stubborn, sometimes to a fault –- see the Palace on the Pier fiasco -– but ever dogged and also malleable if believes he'll eventually get what he wants. If Jackson was Lacob's leap of faith in the age of open-mindedness, Kerr is Lacob's reliance on the "old boys network" that so often excludes the likes of Jackson.

We have no idea if Kerr will become a kinder, gentler Gregg Popovich or the next Vinny Del Negro. We don't know if Kerr will lead the Warriors to a fourth consecutive season increasing win totals.

What we do know is that Kerr's winning personality can grow his star under the hothouse that is a major sports news conference in 2014.

[RELATED: Kerr faces tough task with Warriors]

There is no question Kerr has stronger business survival instincts and will be a more seamless fit on the links (Jackson is not a golfer) and along corporate hallways. Whereas Jackson, a product of greater New York and its high-strung lifestyle, was by turns charming and sharp, with a sense of humor that often had a point, Kerr exudes California smooth and cool. He is, by all appearances, a man without edges.

Lacob liked Jackson, at least initially, but had to get used to his style and never did.

Lacob really, really likes Kerr. And because he already knows him, he won't have to get used to him.

So as much as Kerr might be a topic of heated conversation in the coming days and months, and as difficult as it might be for him to maintain the team's upward trajectory, he won't have the ancillary issue of a boss breathing down his neck -– or rolling his eyes behind his back, as Lacob did to Jackson.

No, what Kerr has is the unwavering support of his boss and friend.

What Lacob has is a coach he probably wanted three years ago but definitely wants right now.

The Jackson hire was a bold stroke that put Lacob and the Warriors on the map. The Kerr hire is a mighty strike that sends shock waves throughout the league, no doubt to the joy of Lacob. He is the man who conquered New York and the sent the Zen Master scrambling back to his list of contacts.

For as much as the Kerr hire was about pushing the Warriors into the next phase, we have no idea if that will happen. We do know that Lacob has bought himself the kind of victory that matters most to him.

He won. And until the Warriors also win, he'll take that every time.

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