Gregg Popovich also provided counsel to Steve Kerr before Knicks snub
Before deciding to take the Golden State Warriors job, Steve Kerr apparently relied upon the advice of friends, colleagues, former coaches, you name it. And given he snubbed the New York Knicks before accepting the Warriors head coaching gig, it stands to reason that the counsel provided by numerous individuals pointed Kerr to west to California and not east to New York City.
And now, we can add San Antonio Spurs longtime leader and reigning 2013-14 NBA Coach of the Year Gregg Popovich to the list of folks Kerr sought out for advice.
Again, given the outcome, it’s a safe bet Pop also steered Kerr away from the dysfunctional Knicks organization. Phil Jackson, Kerr’s prospective boss, probably didn’t ingratiate himself to Popovich when he refused to refer to the Spurs as a dynasty, instead referring to the tremendously successful team as “a great force.”
Popovich was asked by the New York Post if Kerr reached out to him when weighing whether to take the Knicks or Warriors job.
“Friends talk,” Popovich replied, refusing to shed any more light on what was discussed.
Same goes for Kerr, who said, “We talked, but I’m not going to tell you what he said,’’ chuckling.
Kerr currently is in San Antonio fulfilling his duties as NBA analyst for TNT during the Western Conference Finals alongside Marv Albert. Speaking of which, Kerr’s broadcasting partner also reportedly advised Kerr, in light of the power struggle that may occur between team president Phil Jackson and owner James Dolan, to avoid becoming ensnared in a potentially toxic situation that may be the Knicks head coaching gig, saying, “it never ends well” with the Knicks.
But as far as Popovich is concerned, while the substance of his discussions with Kerr remain unknown (for the most part), the veteran and respected longtime NBA coach had nothing but nice things to say about Kerr, who won two titles with Pop during his playing days.
“He’s quite an intelligent young man,’’ Popovich said of Kerr. “He’s been around. He’s seen a lot. He’s seen enough to know what he wants to do and what he doesn’t want to do. He’s great with interpersonal relationships. He’s a hard worker. He’s obviously a close friend, but I think on a professional level he’ll dive in and do everything he can, beginning with forming a staff and trying to do everything the right way. I’m excited for him.’’
Now that the two will enjoy a more adversarial relationship in the Western Conference, Popovich joked during the interview that he has reservations about saying anything to Kerr in his role of analyst during the Conference Finals.
“I’m not really sure why I have to have him interview me before the game with that TNT stuff because he’s now a competitor,’’ quipped Pop.
Ha. That Popovich. Such a wisenheimer.