The Knicks have conducted an international search and it’s been a blessed opportunity for Mills, who wasn’t allowed to embark on an earnest mission of intelligence under Jackson.
Phil Jackson had his eyes set on two coaches: Steve Kerr and Luke Walton, and then settled quickly on his back-ups. Otherwise, he wanted to hire his friend, Kurt Rambis. Current candidate, David Blatt, was the lone Steve Mills’ suggestion that made it to the interview stage.
In those two Zen Master coaching searches, Mills was restricted. After Jackson’s top choice Steve Kerr reneged, Jackson spoke only to Derek Fisher and made the hire.
On his next try, Jackson reached out to an uninterested Luke Walton. After his vision of Kurt Rambis was soundly rebuffed, Jackson interviewed Blatt. The former Cavaliers coach with a stunning European résumé was Mills’ pick.
Jackson also spoke to Frank Vogel, then Jeff Hornacek, whom he had never formally met. After a six-hour interview, Hornacek was the chosen one to run a partial triangle offense despite no triangle experience.