On the day Mark Jackson was fired, Bob Myers met with reporters and made it sound as if replacing their former head coach with someone better would be a piece of cake.
“I would put this up there against any vacant job right now in the league as far as its attractiveness,” Myers said.
The Warriors were excited. They created a page on NBA Head Coach Tinder and everything. All they had to do was sit back and choose the prettiest candidate. Blond hair and/or mustaches were a plus.
Pistons & SVG reach agreement in principle on five-year deal worth estimated $35 mil and are on course for official announcement this week
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) May 14, 2014
The cold sting of rejection. Since Van Gundy has been around the block a few times, he might have pressured the Warriors to go a little too far too quickly in terms of control over personnel. Which, to be fair, probably has to be expected from a coach who looks like Ron Jeremy. But the Warriors weren’t ready to lose control yet, even with an experienced coach like Van Gundy.
But Detroit? Really? The city of Brandon Jennings and bankruptcy? It’s like the Warriors got stood up in favor of someone with multiple cold sores, until you realize just how much power Van Gundy was given (a lot) and how much further one’s real estate dollars go in Michigan than the Bay Area (about 20 times the square footage, give or take).
So they went back to their knight in shining armor — a more innocent, yet still highly desirable candidate. Unfortunately, Steve Kerr is currently getting wooed by an older, richer and more powerful man than anyone in Warriorsland.
If Lacob is Woody Harrelson, Phil Jackson is Robert Redford. And Jackson’s many charms are having their desired effect, which appears to mean more bad news for Golden State.
A source with knowledge of the negotiations tells @ramonashelburne that they would be “shocked” if Kerr ended up anywhere but in New York.
— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) May 13, 2014
— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) May 13, 2014
Yahoo Sources: The New York Knicks have improved coaching contract offer to Steve Kerr to include a fourth year. http://t.co/eVxxzmPbyj
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) May 14, 2014
Cue Lacob staring wistfully off in the distance while telling Myers, “So you’re saying there’s a chance …”
Even the most romantic owner knows that expecting a highly sought after head coach to choose the Warriors over the Zen Master and a team that calls Manhattan home is exceedingly foolish. Then there’s the Eastern Conference element, something that surely made Van Gundy’s decision easier as well.
Enough of those two. There’s someone out there for everybody, and the Warriors surely have a list of candidates. One would hope, anyway. Otherwise, they canned Jackson without a backup plan. And we all know there’s no way anything like THAT would ever happen.
Lionel Hollins: Hiring Hollins would be a lot like dumping someone and dating their twin. Like Jackson, Hollins’ winning percentages went from .333 in 2008-09 (39 games) to .488, .561, .621 and .683 and a trip to the Western Conference Finals in 2012-13, while the defense improved each year. Like Jackson, one of his assistants lost his job at a very strange time (between Games 2 and 3 of the Western Conference semifinals). Like Jackson, Hollins reportedly didn’t get along with management.
Mike D’Antoni: He’s got a mustache, which is a plus. But it sure would be a severe change in course to go from a defense-first coach to D’Antoni. Many have argued that with players like Andrew Bogut, Andre Iguodala, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, the team wouldn’t suddenly stop guarding people. I’ll admit, if the plan is to maximize Curry’s gifts, they could do worse than getting the guy who presided over two MVP seasons for Steve Nash.
Nate McMillan: Currently the top assistant in Indiana, McMillan has 12 years of coaching experience. He’s well respected by just about everybody, but he only has one playoff series win on his resume. However, it’s not exactly his fault that Portland took Greg Oden over Kevin Durant, or that Brandon Roy’s knees couldn’t hold up.
Alvin Gentry: Resume is similar to McMillan’s … but it’s hard to see how either guy would be viewed as anything more than a lateral move.
Jim Boylen: Just like how too many years in college causes players to sink in the draft because we see their flaws, Boylen’s candidacy is hurt by a 69-60 run at Utah where the Utes’ winning percentage decreased over the last three seasons. Nevertheless, after spending some time next to Gregg Popovich, his name is starting to get a little buzz. I called for the Warriors to hire Mike Budenholzer back in 2011. I’m not going to go that far with Boylen.
Mike Brown: This hire might cause season ticket holders to demand refunds.
Tom Thibodeau: Great defensive coach who wouldn’t be nearly as easy on the players as Jackson was (that’s putting it lightly), but he’s currently employed by another NBA team. The Warriors didn’t go into the luxury tax this past year, so what makes anyone think they’re going to give up any sort of compensation to Chicago for their head coach? Plus, the Warriors can’t keep giving away draft picks. They don’t have any in 2014.
Fred Hoiberg: Total hunch, but I think “The Mayor” will be one of the finalists. He has 10 years of experience as an NBA player, four more as a front office exec, and four more as a coach with Iowa State. He’s into spreading the floor and HOIsting threes at every opportunity, and at only 41 he doesn’t have that retread stench about him.
Kevin Ollie: He’s similar to Hoiberg in that he was an NBA reserve for a decade-plus who became one of the hottest young coaches in Division I. He’s similar to Jackson in that he’s a very religious person. Some Warriors players — including most of their starters — would probably enjoy it if their next coach maintained a certain level of spirituality in the locker room. However, there might be a desire among the front office and other players (for example: a certain center from down under) for a coach who checked religion at the locker room door.
That being said, if the Warriors master plan is to add the league’s best player (other than LeBron James) right before they move to San Francisco, Ollie wouldn’t be a bad choice.
From a BeliefNet.com Q&A in 2011:
Bonham: I’ve heard from some teammates and others around the organization that the players really follow your lead, particularly when it comes to attending game day chapels. Is that something you consciously promote?
Durant: It wasn’t even me that started that. It was (former teammate) Kevin Ollie. He’s unbelievable. He got everybody going and wanting to learn more. I was just one of the guys who was trying to follow his lead. He was a big teacher in helping me do that and making me feel more comfortable in my faith around other people and being able to pray for other people and pray out loud and things like that; take those baby steps. I’ve been trying to do a better job.
Kevin Durant is an unrestricted free agent in 2016.
George Karl: Karl is to the Warriors as Mike Holmgren is to the 49ers, in that no matter what either guy’s age or experience level is at the time, the fans of those two teams want them. Holmgren’s ship has finally sailed after so many years away from the sideline and Jim Harbaugh taking the reins. Here’s why there is absolutely no chance Karl will get any consideration: he responded with “no question” when asked whether Andre Iguodala was the Warriors’ “mole” during last year’s first round series against Karl’s Nuggets. Awkward!
Don Nelson: Just seeing if you’re still reading. There are other candidates as well, but we’ve probably gone through enough for one day.