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Knicks Plan to Have New Coach Hired by July, Phil Jackson Says

The New York Knicks plan to have a new coach in place before July’s summer leagues, team President Phil Jackson said.

Two days after firing coach Mike Woodson and his staff following a 37-45 season, Jackson told reporters that the Knicks are looking for a confident personality who the fans can believe in.

“We’re looking for a leader, someone that can bring out the best in players, someone that has the capability of encouraging his staff to meet the needs that players have so that they philosophically join in, they buy into what we’re doing,” Jackson told reporters today at the team’s training facility in Tarrytown, New York.

Former Phoenix Suns General Manager Steve Kerr, who won three National Basketball Association championships while playing for Jackson on the Chicago Bulls, is among the candidates to replace Woodson, even though he has never coached before.

Jackson, 68, said he spoke more than a year ago with Kerr, 48, when Jackson considered joining the group that was trying to lure the Sacramento Kings to Seattle. The two also had a conversation in January about coaching styles and Jackson said he plans to speak with Kerr again this month.

“We meet very similar space about coaching in a lot of ways,” Jackson said of Kerr. “Philosophically, we have a strong connection. Whether he is able to take a job like this, I don’t know.”

Kerr’s Career

Kerr is working for Time Warner Inc.’s TNT network as a game analyst for the NBA playoffs.

In interviews with players after the season, Jackson said players said they “weren’t on the same page” as Woodson and “didn’t buy in like we did the year before.”

Jackson’s desire to remove several staff members has caused him to clash with team owner Jim Dolan, the executive chairman of Madison Square Garden Co., the New York Daily News reported today, citing an unidentified team source. Dolan said at Jackson’s introductory news conference last month that he would “willingly and gratefully” cede control of the team.

“As far as Jim Dolan’s promise or premise when I took this job that he was going to leave basketball decisions up to me, he’s been loyal to that promise,” Jackson said.

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