The presence of Kristaps Porzingis offers whomever is named the permanent coach of the Knicks hope, a luxury not enjoyed by the team’s last few hires, Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post writes. Kurt Rambis, who was named interim coach after Derek Fisher was fired, believes the rookie will develop into the type of player others will want to play alongside, Bontemps adds. “Well, clearly he’s a player that is going to be around this franchise for a long time,” Rambis said. “He’s a rookie, and I think a lot of us forget that he’s 20 years old and he’s still growing and filling out as a human being. He’s going to be learning today, tomorrow, for the rest of the year, the next five or six years, until he figures out where he is and how he can play in this league. But at some point in time he’s going to be a dominant force in this league.”
- Longtime Phil Jackson confidant Charley Rosen suggests that the alleged physical encounter between Fisher and Matt Barnes this past fall indeed played a role in Jackson’s decision to terminate Fisher’s employment as coach Monday, as Rosen writes for Today’s Fastbreak. Jackson called the situation embarrassing but said it was no factor in the coach’s dismissal. Rosen also writes that he foresees Rambis funneling more plays on offense to Porzingis.
- The decision to fire Fisher was an admission of failure by Jackson in his choice of Fisher as coach, Frank Isola of The New York Daily News writes. The team has faced a disconnect between coaches and Jackson over the executive’s insistence upon running the triangle offense, Isola adds. “That’s their problem,” said one NBA head coach of the Knicks. “They have a coach in Phil who doesn’t want to get on the bench and coach but is coaching the team anyway. That will always be the problem.”
- Jackson discounted Rajon Rondo‘s assertion that he wouldn’t be a good fit in the triangle offense, as the executive believes it is a system every player can thrive in, Marc Berman of The New York Post writes. “I know there was a bit about Rondo the other day that kind of came up and it was laughable because all players can fit in a sound offense,’’ Jackson said.
- Thanasis Antetokounmpo has returned to the Westchester Knicks, New York’s D-League affiliate, now that his 10-day contract has expired, the team announced. New York can still opt to sign Antetokounmpo to one more 10-day pact this season.
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.