Knicks president Phil Jackson acknowledges he has a close relationship with Kurt Rambis and that he talks more frequently with the interim coach than with former coach Derek Fisher, as Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com relays from the Zen Master’s chat with reporters today (Twitter link). Jackson wouldn’t commit to keeping Rambis beyond the season but hinted that he’d like to see him earn the removal of his interim tag, observes Frank Isola of the New York Daily News (on Twitter), which jibes with an earlier report that Jackson was pulling for Rambis to win the permanent job when he named him interim boss. Jackson didn’t appear eager to move on from Carmelo Anthony either, saying he still feels as though ‘Melo is a franchise cornerstone, Begley relays (Twitter link). Jackson cited the team’s system when he said he’s not going to obsess over chasing an elite point guard in free agency this summer, according to Begley (via Twitter), so the triangle remains at the heart of all things Knicks. See more from the Atlantic Division:
- DeMarre Carroll is likely to return later this month, according to Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca, though the Raptors didn’t give a timeline today after he visited his surgeon, Sportsnet’s Michael Grange notes (Twitter link). Some questions existed about whether Carroll would return to play at all this season after he underwent right knee surgery in January, but it appears that dire outcome won’t come to pass.
- Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge is the best negotiator Rockets GM Daryl Morey says he’s come across, tweets Jake Fischer of SI Now, relaying Morey’s comment from the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference today. Ainge and Morey have only pulled off one trade, a three-teamer with the Trail Blazers in 2012 that sent Courtney Lee to Boston.
- The Celtics have recalled Coty Clarke and Jordan Mickey from the D-League, the team announced (Twitter link). The pair, along with James Young, went to D-League Maine on Thursday for what turned out to be a one-game stay. Clarke, a 10-day signee, had a team-high 18 points on 6-of-7 shooting while Mickey scored 14.