Kurt Rambis Rumors
Ian Begley: The Knicks are negotiating with Kurt Rambis on a contract that will add him to Hornacek’s staff. Hornacek said in an interview with WFAN on Friday that nothing was official but a hiring sounded imminent. “I talked to Kurt. I have a very good feel for his abilities … And I would love to have him on the staff,” Hornacek said. Rambis served as an interim coach for the Knicks last season and there was an expectation internally that he’d be hired as head coach. Jackson instead chose Hornacek, a move that caught Rambis and others off guard, according to sources. Hornacek and Rambis have a relationship dating back to their playing days in Phoenix which makes the Rambis hire – and the dynamic surrounding it – somewhat less awkward.
Jeff Hornacek is expected to hire Rambis to his coaching staff which is an odd arrangement considering that Rambis was Jackson’s preferred choice to coach the Knicks until Jackson had a dramatic change of heart and hired Hornacek. Rambis, according to sources, was upset that he was passed over for the job. But Rambis did not have the support of most the players as well as several executives. Jackson was also aware he was facing a serious backlash from fans if Rambis was named head coach.
Still, the appointment is sure to raise questions to whether Rambis was Hornacek’s hire or Jackson’s. As one Eastern Conference executive said, “everyone knows that Phil had something to do with this.”
The New York Knicks are in negotiations with Kurt Rambis on a new contract for a position on Jeff Hornacek’s coaching staff, league sources told ESPN.
Sources say that the decision to hire Rambis was made ultimately by Hornacek. “Nothing is being forced down Jeff’s neck,” one source with knowledge of the dynamic said, in reference to the idea that team president Phil Jackson would force Hornacek to hire Rambis. Sources told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne that Hornacek had initially discussed the job with Rambis a few weeks ago but Rambis did not immediately accept, telling Hornacek that he should take time to really think through his staff and what he needed before making this decision.
Jackson added that he still views Kurt Rambis — who went 9-19 down the stretch last season as coach — as an integral part of the staff going forward and an asset for Hornacek. “Well, Kurt fits,’’ Jackson told SNY. “He fits in a number of ways. He’s a teammate of Jeff’s in Phoenix at one point in their careers. He’s also a great team guy, he has a great idea what we’re trying to get accomplished, and I think he can help Jeff feel his way through this club and find the best way for them to play.’’
Ian Begley: Jeff Hornacek says he will make the final call on his coaching staff hires. “I can decide who I want to have,” he said in an interview with WFAN. “With (ex-Knicks interim coach) Kurt (Rambis), I’ve had experience with him as a player, we played on the same team in Phoenix. I know Kurt’s coaching abilities, what he can provide to us. And I’ve talked to him once about the possibility and how he would fit on our staff. I’m going to continue to talk to him over these next few days as well as filling out the whole staff altogether. If we go on this process, if I think he’d be good for us, then I’d love to have him. If we talk and we just don’t seem like it’s going to fit then he’ll move on and get another job. Through our talks, we’ll figure that out.”