The Golden State Warriors are increasingly pessimistic about their chances of convincing Steve Kerr to turn down the New York Knicks in favor of Golden State's coaching job, according to sources close to the process.
Sources told ESPN.com that the Warriors fear Kerr is "too deep" in talks with the Knicks and new shot-caller Phil Jackson to convince Kerr to rebuff Jackson now, despite Kerr's close relationship with Warriors owner Joe Lacob and team president Rick Welts, as well as Golden State's proximity to Kerr's offseason home in San Diego.
Sources confirmed to ESPN New York on Sunday that Kerr and the Knicks are progressing towards a contract agreement. Kerr's agent, Mike Tannenbaum, is currently in negotiations with the Knicks. One source with knowledge of the talks said nothing has been finalized but both sides are "getting closer" to an agreement.
Another league source said discussions would "pick up" on Monday.
"They're pretty far down the road," a source said of Kerr's negotiations with the Knicks.
The New York Daily News first reported Sunday that the Knicks and Kerr are close to a deal. The paper reported that the two sides are optimistic that a deal would be in place early this week and that Kerr may accompany Jackson to Chicago for the NBA Draft combine which begins Thursday.
As far as Golden State goes, sources also stressed that Stan Van Gundy is actually the closest thing to a top target at this early stage of the Warriors' search for a successor to the fired Mark Jackson, based at least in part on the premise that an experienced coach can ensure that the Warriors maintain upward momentum in the ultra-competitive Western Conference.
ESPN.com reported April 29 that the Knicks were pressing to try to get Kerr formally signed as their new coach when the first round of the playoffs ended, partly because they knew other teams would soon pursue the TNT broadcaster. The Knicks, though, were forced to relent on that timetable and continue to negotiate with Tannebaum.
The Warriors immediately joined the list of prime suitors for Kerr after firing Mark Jackson on Tuesday. ESPN.com also reported earlier this week that the Utah Jazz hoped to court Kerr for their opening as well.
Kerr has been huddling with family members in advance of his next TV assignment with TNT: Tuesday's Game 5 of the Oklahoma City/ Los Angeles Clippers series. A timetable for striking a deal with the Knicks remains unclear, but nothing has yet managed to threaten New York's longstanding status as the favorite to land Kerr as its successor to Mike Woodson.
The longer it goes without New York and Kerr closing a deal, according to one source, does give the Warriors a small measure of hope that Kerr would give them renewed consideration. But the consistent word for days in coaching circles holds that Kerr -- who, at 48, has never coached at any level -- would find it hard to walk away from Jackson at this advanced stage of negotiations because of the pair's close relationship.