Kurt Rambis will continue as interim head coach of the Knicks for the rest of the season, team president Phil Jackson told reporters, including Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post (Twitter link), and he’ll get a “real shot” to keep the job for the long term, tweets Ramona Shelburne of ESPN. Still, Luke Walton and Brian Shaw will obviously be in any discussion to become the ultimate successor to the fired Derek Fisher, Shelburne adds, echoing ESPN colleague Brian Windhorst’s report that sources believe Walton and Shaw are the team’s top candidates (Twitter link). Shaw would love to take the Knicks job, a source close to him told Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News, while Walton is intent on remaining with the Warriors through the end of the season, sources tell Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter links).
See more fallout in the wake of the NBA’s latest coaching change.
- Jackson wouldn’t rule out calling Tom Thibodeau, who reportedly wants the job, but the Zen Master made it clear that the relationship between him and his next coach is important, according to Ken Berger of CBS Sports, who points out that Jackson and Thibodeau aren’t close (Twitter link). Jackson took a somewhat brusque tone when asked about Thibodeau, observes Justin Tasch of the New York Daily News (Twitter links). The next Knicks coach must be a stylistic fit, Jackson said, adding that the triangle offense isn’t paramount but is important, note Marc Berman of the New York Post and Chris Herring of The Wall Street Journal (Twitter links).
- The guaranteed portion of Fisher’s five-year, $25MM contract was worth $17MM over four years, so the Knicks owe him $8.5MM for next season and 2017/18 combined, according to Windhorst (on Twitter).
- Jackson told reporters he made the decision to fire Fisher, Bontemps notes, and Jackson went to owner James Dolan over the past weekend to get clearance to eat the remaining guarantee on Fisher’s deal, according to Shelburne (Twitter links).
- The Knicks had concluded before their recent spate of losing that Fisher wasn’t effectively transitioning from playing to coaching, sources told Windhorst, but Jackson said the team’s nine losses in its last 10 games represented the most significant catalyst for the firing, Bontemps tweets.
- Fisher’s alleged physical encounter with Matt Barnes was embarrassing but ultimately not a factor in his dismissal, Jackson said, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post (on Twitter).
- Jackson said he didn’t consider taking the interim coaching job himself, given his health issues, Bontemps notes (on Twitter).
- A share of the blame for the team’s poor performance falls on the players, Jackson acknowledged, according to Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv (Twitter link), though Jackson had been keeping close watch on Fisher this season to track his growth as a coach, Shelburne tweets.