Sports Out West

Steve Kerr says staying close to home factored into Warriors job

T-Mobile Rookie Challenge and Youth Jam

There are a variety of reasons new Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr may have taken the job, but one that’s certain is the fact that the Bay Area is closer to his Southern California home than New York City. 

Shortly after Kerr accepted the position with the Warriors, the former NBA champion spoke with NBA.com and elaborated on the decision:

“It just felt like the right move on many levels. They have a good young team. The location is ideal. My daughter goes to Cal and plays volleyball. My oldest son is in college in San Diego and our youngest is a junior in high school. It’s just a short flight for them.”

 In addition, the basketball reasons were hard to ignore as well when looking at the situation in its entirety. 

Stephen Curry has emerged as a superstar, and with an average salary of $11 million over the next four years, the team figures to have plenty of cap flexibility to build around him and add pieces to the championship puzzle. As a former general manager, Kerr understands that. 

In a first-round exit that went a hard-fought seven games in the NBA playoffs this year, the Warriors proved they’re close to competing for the Western Conference crown. Former head coach Mark Jackson had plenty of talent to work with, but an injury to Andrew Bogut coupled with dissension off the court troubled the team and proved to be a distraction. 

With Kerr, there will be some stability. Though he’s never coached before, he’s a proven basketball mind with the perspective of a player and executive. In today’s NBA, where organizational structure is emphasized, the Warriors are a better basketball fit. 

Photo Credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Photo Credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Knicks’ poor circumstances

The New York Knicks are far worse basketball-wise. 

Though Phil Jackson has emerged from the shadows to lift his former franchise up into elite status once again, they’re still a project.

Owner James Dolan is a serial mettler and despite his promises to let Jackson handle basketball operations, how the dynamic will work is still a mystery. 

In addition, the status of star Carmelo Anthony is still up in the air. The All-Star can opt out of his current contract following the 2013-14 season. The irony here is that he’d only likely opt out to secure a better deal from the one team who could pay him the most in New York. 

Jackson may decide to ask Anthony to do the complete opposite and take a pay cut to give the Knicks more financial flexibility. The New York Daily News reported in April that Jackson hoped Melo would stay “true to his word” to play in New York for less money. 

Though doing so would be a shortcut toward getting the Knicks back to prominence, it’s still a long shot to make the Knicks an elite team due to the cloud of uncertainty at other positions. 

The Knicks need a point guard and don’t have many options in free agency at the position. If they secure a player in the upcoming NBA Draft, he’ll need time to develop. That’s valuable time that the approaching-30 Anthony doesn’t have. 

Kerr’s choice was easy

What’s better than coming into a turnkey basketball scenario with a bona fide superstar as its centerpiece and an ownership group committed to winning? As is the case here, doing so in one’s home state near one’s children is probably a safe bet. Kerr couldn’t have chosen a better fit in terms of a team being ready to win right away. 

The fact that it’s a job in California makes it that much sweeter.

Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

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Michael C. Jones is the managing editor and founder of Sports Out West and a Southern California-based sports journalist. His work is also regularly featured on Yahoo! Sports and SB Nation. You can catch up with him on Twitter: @MikeJonesTweets.