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Kerr spurns Knicks for Warriors

AP

The Golden State Warriors are taking another chance on a television analyst and former NBA guard who has never been a head coach at any level.

The Warriors won the bidding war with the New York Knicks for Steve Kerr on Wednesday, hiring him away from the TNT broadcast table to be their coach. Kerr agreed to a five-year, $25 million deal with Golden State, said his agent, Mike Tannenbaum.

The Warriors confirmed the agreement Wednesday night and said they will introduce Kerr at a news conference after the contract is complete.

Kerr had been in talks with the Knicks about becoming their coach since Phil Jackson took over as team president in March. He won three titles playing for Jackson in Chicago and another two under Gregg Popovich in San Antonio.

Kerr told NBA.com, which first reported the agreement, that going to Golden State “just felt like the right move on many levels.” His daughter plays volleyball nearby at the University of California, Berkeley, his oldest son is in college in San Diego and his youngest son is a junior in high school.

Kerr called the offer to coach the Knicks a “tantalizing” opportunity. He said it was “agonizing” to say no to Jackson “because of what I think of him and what he’s done for my career.”

“I told Phil, ‘I think I have to pursue this other opportunity,’ ” Kerr told the website. “He gave me his blessing. He said. ‘Go look at it, and do what was in my heart.’ “

Kerr, 48, said last month that he has wanted to coach since stepping down after three seasons as general manager of the Phoenix Suns in June 2010. And while the lure of rebuilding a flagship franchise with his mentor at Madison Square Garden looked appealing, the chance to coach a Western Conference contender in his home state proved to be too much.

Kerr replaces Mark Jackson, who was fired by the Warriors on May 6 after three seasons and back-to-back playoff appearances — mostly due to a sour relationship between him and team management.

The Warriors job is certainly a far more attractive one than when owner Joe Lacob hired Jackson away from the ESPN/ABC broadcast table in June 2011. The Warriors are coming off a 51-win season and consecutive playoff appearances for the first time in 20 years, and they’ve surrounded star Stephen Curry with a talented young core.

Pistons tap Van Gundy

Auburn Hills Michigan AP

The Detroit Pistons are counting on Stan Van Gundy to bring some much-needed stability to a struggling franchise.

They’re certainly giving him plenty of authority.

The Pistons officially announced Van Gundy’s hiring Wednesday as their new coach and president of basketball operations. The team will introduce Van Gundy at a news conference Thursday. Detroit went 29-53 last season, missing the playoffs for a fifth straight year. That was the end of Joe Dumars’ tenure as team president. Coach Maurice Cheeks was fired in February.

“Stan is a proven winner in our league,” Pistons owner Tom Gores said in a statement. “He instills his teams with passion, purpose and toughness. He is a great teacher who will help our players grow and develop.”

Van Gundy agreed to a $35 million, five-year contract — a commitment from the team that suggests he’ll have plenty of time to turn Detroit’s fortunes around. Dumars stepped down after 15 seasons in the front office, and toward the end of his tenure, the Pistons seemed increasingly adrift as they hired coach after coach with little success.

Cheeks lasted less than one year. Before him, Lawrence Frank and John Kuester were each at the helm for two seasons.

Van Gundy is 371-208 in seven-plus seasons as a coach with Miami and Orlando. He reached the NBA Finals in 2009 with the Magic.