Steve Kerr spurned the New York Knicks and signed a five-year, $25 million dollar contract with the Golden State Warriors on Monday afternoon. Kerr, who had been in talks with New York to become their new head coach after Phil Jackson had signed on as the team's president in March, will be replacing the recently fired Mark Jackson.
A source close to the NBA with knowledge of the negotiation told ESPN.com that the Knicks had offered Kerr a 4-year deal, as opposed to the 5-year deal he received from the Warriors. Multiple sources also said that Kerr took the Golden State job for "family reasons".
This comes as a major surprise from just about everybody from around the league; Kerr was expected to take the Knicks job because of his relationship with Phil Jackson, who coached Kerr and they won three championships as members of the Chicago Bulls. He also won two more NBA championships under San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and he was the General Manager of the Phoenix Suns for three seasons before stepping down.
It was rumored that Stan Van Gundy was the favorite for the Golden State job and that the Warriors thought Kerr was "in too deep" into negotiations with the Knicks. When Van Gundy took the Detroit Pistons job earlier this week, the Warriors pressed hard for Kerr and ultimately changed his mind. That was probably smart of him; the Knicks were a mess this season and could be worse off heading into next year with Carmelo Anthony likely to leave New York and having nobody else on the roster capable of carrying the aging and poorly built Knicks.
The contract comes as a surprise to many; there's too many years on that contract for a rookie head coach, especially one who managed to do poorly as the GM of the Suns. Granted, the Warriors can fire Kerr at any time they see fit, but they will owe him the remainder of the contract. Kerr steps into a good situation with the Warriors, who finished with the 6th seed in the West this year. The Warriors offer plenty of scoring and star power for the first year coach to work with. It will be interesting to see how Kerr handles the team, but if his contract is any indication, the Warriors believe he will do just fine.