The Golden State Warriors agreed to terms with Steve Kerr on a five-year, $25 million deal yesterday to replace Mark Jackson as their head coach. While many expected the Warriors to hire a more experienced coach to guide a roster in win-now mode, this hiring makes a lot of sense when you consider the factors taken into consideration by the Warriors ownership group.
Via Sam Amick of USA Today, Warriors owner Joe Lacob explained his relationship with Kerr as, “I knew him through friends — and through golf, quite frankly. I’ve been on golf trips with Steve before, so I know him socially for many years. He’s best friends with one of my best friends and some other people, so I’ve known him, but not necessarily that close or that professionally as has been portrayed.”
This spawned a series of hilarious tweets about the Lacob-Kerr connection on Twitter:
"Steve has an incredible scotch collection. 35 year old Islays, that kind of thing. Anyway, I offered him 25 million."
— netw3rk (@netw3rk) May 15, 2014
@netw3rk "We played golf and Steve refused a caddie, insisting on carrying his own clubs. I respected that he took on that responsibility."
— Robby Kalland (@RKalland) May 15, 2014
@netw3rk Kerr on Lacob: "His recommendation of horse breeder was an absolute GODSEND…"
— Brendan K. O'Grady (@BKogrady) May 15, 2014
But this tidbit about Lacob and Kerr is also important in understanding why this hiring makes sense for both sides. After a year of dysfunction within the organization, ownership wants to hire someone who can both guide the team to the next level but also restore synergy between the coach and the front office. This is why Stan Van Gundy made sense for the former, but his demand for control over basketball operations — which the Pistons eventually granted him — made the latter a very difficult proposition.
In an interview conducted with Tim Kawakami of The San Jose Mercury News, Kerr said that he would have some say in personnel decisions, but added, “I think to me the healthiest situation for any coach is to have a say, but not have the ultimate decision. I think that’s what the GM is for and I got a really good sense from all the guys that it’s about a consensus. And I’ll be part of that.”
That’s the organizational structure and hierarchy that Lacob hopes to put in place going forward, something that Jackson disrupted, which is why he’s not coaching the Warriors anymore. As for Kerr’s ability to lead a team with championship hopes despite no previous coaching experience, that part was even easier for Lacob to rationalize, “Look, we did pretty well with Mark Jackson.”
That’s why this hiring makes sense for the Warriors. Whether it actually works out, that remains to be seen.
What do you think?
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