The Knicks paid Kurt Rambis a lot of money to get him on staff.
After firing Derek Fisher and promoting Rambis to interim head coach, Phil Jackson is hoping for Rambis to do more than just run out the clock on a lost season.
Phil Jackson, according to league sources, hired Rambis as his interim with the hope of keeping him on as his next head coach.
Jackson seems to like Rambis personally, and that probably plays into the Knicks’ desire to keep Rambis. Rambis – who had an awful stint as Timberwolves head coach – also has the potential to feed Jackson’s ego. If Rambis succeeds with the Knicks after struggling so badly in Minnesota, that would that reflect positively on Jackson and the triangle offense. The narrative would be: Empower Jackson and trust the triangle, and everything will work.
Unfortunately for Jackson, Rambis hasn’t made a strong case for the permanent job.
Rambis has prioritized winning over player development, surely trying to win the tryout Jackson set up. But New York has been even worse under him (4-8) than Fisher (23-31). (The Knicks better hope this perverse incentive doesn’t stall Kristaps Porzingis’ growth.)
Most importantly, Jackson’s boss – owner James Dolan – is reportedly particularly upset with his team’s slide. Despite his promise not to meddle, would Dolan really allow Jackson to hire Rambis for the permanent gig?
It doesn’t help that Rambis enabled the Knicks to embarrass themselves (not that they need much help).
There’s more than a month left in the season, and Rambis still has an opportunity to impress. Heck, it’s possible Jackson – his pool of candidates seemingly narrowed to people he knows and triangle devotees – hires Rambis even if the interim coach doesn’t turn around his tenure.
Or maybe Jackson gets something even better from Rambis’ interim stint and now-publicized tryout: lowered expectations for the next coach.