The New York Knicks are trying to complete a deal with TNT's Steve Kerr that would install him as their new coach after the first round of the playoffs, according to sources with knowledge of the talks.
Sources told ESPN.com on Tuesday that the intention of new Knicks president Phil Jackson is to try to secure Kerr as his first coaching hire by early next month, which would theoretically soften the blow for the announcer's current employer to withstand losing its No. 1 analyst in the midst of the playoffs.
It remains to be seen whether Kerr is willing to make the jump so quickly.
But sources say Jackson has made significant progress in his longstanding plan to convince Kerr that the time is right to make the jump from broadcasting to accept one of the league's most high-profile coaching jobs without any prior bench experience.
There has been considerable speculation since the playoffs began that the delay also stems from Kerr waiting to see what other jobs might open depending on playoff results.
NBA coaching sources have maintained for weeks that the Golden State Warriors have strong interest in Kerr, should they elect to part ways with Mark Jackson after a 50-win season, given Kerr's strong relationships with Warriors owner Joe Lacob, son Kirk Lacob (who works in Golden State's front office) and Warriors president Rick Welts, with whom Kerr worked closely in Phoenix.
But sources reiterated that the Knicks, because of the former Chicago Bulls guard's close relationship with Jackson, are the clear front-runners to land Kerr.
Sources say that the opportunity to be mentored by the winningest coach of all time, along with Kerr's deep fondness for Jackson, have established New York as Kerr's most likely landing spot.