Multiple reports suggest that Knicks president Phil Jackson is pushing hard for interim coach Kurt Rambis to get the job on a long-term basis. They have a close working relationship that gives Jackson the level of day-to-day input into the coaching staff he has long wanted.
The Knicks have an opportunity to bring a big-name coach to New York, but Marc Berman of the New York Post wrote this week that Jackson isn’t impressed by several of the available candidates. The organization doesn’t believe Golden State assistant Luke Walton will leave the Warriors this summer, and Jackson doesn’t like what he hears from the Bulls’ front office about ex-Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau. Jackson also doesn’t plan a spirited run at former Nuggets coach Brian Shaw, who like Rambis was schooled on the triangle offense during his days with the Lakers.
Rambis has brief experience and little success as an NBA head coach. He guided the Lakers to a 24-13 record and the second round of the playoffs after taking over for the fired Del Harris midway through the 1998/99 season. His next opportunity didn’t come until the 2009/10 and 2010/11 seasons with the Timberwolves, where he led the team to 15-67 and 17-65 records.
Rambis is 9-17 since taking over for Derek Fisher in February, and the Knicks quickly dropped out of the playoff race under his tutelage. Berman reported that players don’t have the respect for Rambis that they did for Fisher. Carmelo Anthony stated this week that he likes Rambis, but he didn’t go as far as endorsing the idea of making him the long-term coach.
Rambis defended his performance with the Knicks to Ian Begley of ESPN.com (ESPN Now link), saying the franchise is in a rebuilding stage. “We’re looking at it from a standpoint of new management, new coaching staff so last year was a year that I calculate as Year Zero, just trying to clean things up and move forward,” Rambis told Begley. “This is our first year of really trying to move forward and seeing what we have and the direction that we want to go and adding pieces. This is a natural process of what happens in the NBA.”
That brings us to tonight’s topic: Should the Knicks keep Rambis as their coach or are they better off looking elsewhere? And how much influence should Jackson have over the decision, considering reports in February that the Knicks organization believes he will eventually rejoin fiancee Jeanie Buss with the Lakers?
Take to the comments section below to share your thoughts and opinions on the topic. We look forward to what you have to say.