If you’re a New York Knicks, then you’re in for a ride next season as rumors are swelling that president of basketball operations Phil Jackson has dropped the interim tag on Kurt Rambis as he is just waiting for the right time to announce his closest buddy as the team’s next head coach.
Like or not, live with it as Jackson is nowhere close in signing David Blatt or Frank Vogel since he needs someone who believes in the ideals of the triangle offense and get it running with the team that sucked last season even with Rambis as interim, finishing the season with a discouraging 9-19 win-loss record. But for Jackson, Rambis is the right for job since he can be in constant communication with him unlike former coach Derek Fisher.
Former Denver Nuggets coach and former Lakers player Brian Shaw told ESPN he does not expect a call from Jackson anytime soon as he predicts that Jackson is locking on Rambis to be the man for the job. He added that since Jackson is so committed with the triangle offense, he would want someone who is already immersed to it to run the system with the team.
“Kurt Rambis is there. He’s very adept at running the triangle, and if Phil Jackson wanted a coach that’s going to run that system for him, he has a guy that’s there that he has confidence in. So I don’t see him bringing in somebody else who has the knowledge of that system when he already has somebody there,” Shaw said.
Jackson could not see any commitment from either Vogel or Blatt to run the system he wants to and that for him Rambis is the guy. But could this be just a pay-it-forward for Jackson to Rambis back in the 1999 days with the Los Angeles Lakers? According to a NY Post article, it seems like that the duo is reliving the 1999 incident wherein Rambis took over as interim for the Lakers after Del Harris was fired and coached the team during the lockout season finishing it with a 24-13 tally.
But Rambis could not sustain the momentum as they lost in the second round to eventual champions San Antonio Spurs. Then Lakers late owner Jerry Buss changed the team’s coaching staff after hearing interest from Jackson to coach the Lakers then. Buss was delighted that he demoted Rambis from interim to a broadcaster that also got the irked from Buss’ daughter Jeanie. But Jackson sensing the family tension hired Rambis to his coaching staff that left Tex Winters on the sidelines as well.
Jackson would go on to win five championships with the Lakers but Rambis’ ambition of being a head coach never came close to a reality. Now it seems just a reach of a hand that Rambis might land the job this time with Jackson manning the front office.
Roland Lazenby has been covering Jackson back when he was still coaching Michael Jordan and the Bulls and he thinks that Jackson needs Rambis, who could run his system and thinks like him as well.
“I think Phil believes Kurt is the best way to accomplish his goals of getting the triangle up and running and winning with it,’’ Lazenby said.
Jackson has been totally lock with the triangle that with Rambis as coach he could as well bring in some of his former player such as Bill Cartwright or even offer Brian Shaw an offer to be in the coaching staff. But one thing is for sure the Knicks are not going to see a new face as bench mentor and they have to live with Rambis for next season.
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