Kurt Rambis Rumors
Some reports have suggested that Hornacek was Jackson’s preferred target throughout his coaching search. If that was the case, Jackson didn’t inform his good friend Rambis, who became the Knicks’ interim coach after Fisher’s dismissal. Jackson’s decision to hire Hornacek caught Rambis off guard, sources say. That Rambis would have a role with the organization was seen as a foregone conclusion earlier this month, but his future with the club is less clear now.
Rambis is a good guy with a keen basketball mind, but the backlash from hiring one of Phil Jackson’s longtime lieutenants – all while the future of Jackson after next season is uncertain – would be enormous. Jackson is devoted to the triangle offense, and last month’s two-week triangle camp with Knicks players, which included daily meditation, film study and court work, league sources told The Vertical, was the strongest indication Rambis would get the gig. Yet as the weeks went by, everyone in the organization, including Jackson, came to the understanding the job needed to go to somebody else.
But team officials were “very cognizant” of the intense negativity directed at Rambis, sources said, and it would be foolish to discount it as a factor. (Rambis is likely to be retained in another capacity.) By hiring Hornacek, the Knicks averted a fan revolt—and more important, entrusted their future, and budding star Kristaps Porzingis, to an unmistakably bright basketball mind. As a rookie head coach two years ago, Hornacek guided the Suns to a 48-34 record—nearly doubling their win total and obliterating all expectations. He was runner-up for coach of the year, finishing just behind Popovich and ahead of Tom Thibodeau.
Sources have said Rambis would stay on board because of his triangle experience, but a source indicated it still is to be determined whether the triangle offense definitely will be used and if Rambis will remain or move to the front office. If the triangle returns, Rambis has all summer to tutor Hornacek in an offense many NBA cognoscenti consider outdated.
Kurt Rambis was part of Jackson’s triangle seminar last month and traveled with the Knicks’ contingent to the pre-draft combine in Chicago this week. He is expected to remain with the organization, whether as an assistant or in an executive position.