After Being Spurned By Steve Kerr, Knicks Forced To Turn To Plan B

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Steve Kerr

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Steve Kerr blindsided the New York Knicks Wednesday night when he opted to accept the job as coach of Golden State Warriors. All indications were that Kerr was on the verge of becoming the Knicks coach, but now the organization and president Phil Jackson will have to turn to their Plan B.

Given Jackson’s interest in bringing in a former player to run his triangle offense, ESPN New York suggests Derek Fisher could be an option. Once Fisher’s run with the Oklahoma City Thunder comes to an end, Jackson may pursue another one of his former point guards.

There’s Brian Shaw, who just wrapped up his first season at the helm of the Denver Nuggets. Jackson would need permission from Denver to contact Shaw, who was one of his assists with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Other assistants Jackson could turn to are Jim Cleamons, Tyronn Lue, Luke Walton, Mike Madsen and Kurt Rambis. ESPN.com’s Ramona Shelburne reported after the Knicks received word of Kerr’s decision Wednesday night, the team was “regrouping,” and that Fisher, Lue and Rambis would all be considered for the position.

Two more names Jackson could consider are Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson.

It would take a lot to pry Van Gundy out of the broadcast booth and back onto the sidelines. He’s been mentioned with just about every big-time opening in recent years.

Jackson was recently fired by Golden State. Jackson is a former Knicks player and is beloved by the Madison Square Garden crowd. He was looked over for the Knicks’ opening before the team gave it to Mike D’Antoni.

The Knicks could make a play for Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau. Other teams have requested permission from Chicago to speak with Thibodeau. Impending free agent Carmelo Anthony has expressed interest in playing under him in recent months.

And then there’s one fallback option most Knicks fans are waiting to here: will Jackson simply anoint himself head coach?

Jackson joined the Knicks to run the front office. But Kerr was not only Jackson’s top choice to run the team, but his only choice. If Jackson isn’t convinced he can lure Shaw from Denver or Thibodeau from Chicago, and isn’t sold on the other rumored candidates as fits, perhaps the Zen Master takes on the job himself.

Sam Spiegelman is a native New Yorker covering sports in New Orleans. He likes Game of Thrones way too much. Tweet him @samspiegs.