Phil Jackson hoped Kurt Rambis would prove the right choice to keep the Knicks head coaching job for the long term when he installed him as interim bench boss last month, league sources tell Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com, and Rambis has to win to secure his position, Begley writes. A desire to better the team’s record this season is why Rambis is shying away from playing Kristaps Porzingis at center, even though the coach admits the idea intrigues him, as Begley relays. Rambis said he’s spoken to management about whether to give rookie Jerian Grant more playing time but added that the team’s brass hasn’t signaled that it wants to shift focus strictly to player development yet, according to Begley. See more on the Knicks, who’ve reportedly struck a deal with Tony Wroten:
- Delon Wright has barely played for the Raptors this season despite having been the 20th overall pick last year, with just 75 total minutes under his belt, but that doesn’t mean coach Dwane Casey is down on him, notes Jody Genessy of the Deseret News. “I think he’s going to be a heck of a player in this league,” Casey said. “His defense is lagging his offense right now. Offensively, he’s an excellent pick-and-roll player, but there’s two sides to the game. … Guarding the speedsters in the NBA is going to be his next challenge on the defensive end. He’s improved tremendously with his shooting, his 3-point shooting.”
- Soon-to-be free agent Donald Sloan has been the starting point guard for the Nets since mid-January after fighting in the preseason simply to make the opening-night roster, but he’s not upset with Brooklyn for making him work for his opportunity, telling Steve Simineri of NetsDaily that he didn’t feel “shafted” at any point. The fifth-year NBA veteran has been the most productive among Brooklyn’s cheap finds this past offseason, Simineri observes, positioning himself for more job security to start next season.
- The Nets passed on Wroten earlier this season under the direction of former GM Billy King because the Sixers had him under minutes restrictions as he came back from injury and because of his high rate of turnovers, tweets NetsDaily. He’s averaged 3.7 per game the past two seasons.
- Cleanthony Early appears closer to a return to game action from having been shot in his right knee in late December, as the Knicks have assigned him to the D-League, the team announced (Twitter link).