Your “Because Knicks” Story of the Day: Sources: Phil Jackson pushing for Knicks to keep Kurt Rambis

According to Marc Stein and Ian Begley of

The New York Knicks are giving strong consideration to making Kurt Rambis their full-time head coach, according to league sources.

Sources told that Rambis, who has served as the Knicks’ interim coach since Derek Fisher was fired Feb. 8, is the preferred choice of team president ?Phil Jackson, who sources say is pushing for a new multiyear deal for Rambis despite New York’s 8-16 record since the coaching change.

So yes, our only hope now lies in James Dolan being the logical one of the Dolan/Phil Jackson pairing.

Have mercy on us all, basketball gods.

77 replies on “Your “Because Knicks” Story of the Day: Sources: Phil Jackson pushing for Knicks to keep Kurt Rambis”

I thought the wolves were done after the charge reversal in regulation but they tough it out with some help by GSW turning the ball over

What a game! Towns, holy crap, how is that guy younger than Porzingis?! He was astonishing. Dude was playing great man to man defense on Steph freakin’ Curry!!!

This is probably a good time to go ahead and start watching some YouTube vids of 2017 draft prospects, because there is another unintentional tank about to happen.

“Hey, at least Phil was smart enough to fire Rambis midseason and trade players so the Knicks can get a high lottery pick! You have to give him credit for that!”

In all seriousness, while this is a terrible, terrible thing, the Knicks can probably get to the playoffs (or close to it) next year even with Rambis as the head coach. They shouldn’t hire Kurt Rambis, as he is godawful, but hey, Randy Wittman has won 44 and 46 games in his career as a coach, ya know? Byron Scott is a bigger joke than Rambis, and he’s actually coached teams to the NBA Finals twice (and won 56 games with the Hornets after that!)!!

That doesn’t make this any less awful of an idea, of course, but it also doesn’t mean complete doom next year. It’s a pathetic move long term, but I bet a Rambis-led Knick team still wins more games than this year if they add some good guards in free agency.

In fact, that’s what kind of galls me about it, as Jackson can then use that fact to show that hiring Rambis was a good move. “We won more games than last year, so it was a good move!” But it most certainly is not a good move. It’s an insane move by a guy who…well…let’s just say a guy who makes some curious decisions at times.

But hey, at least they have Porzingis!

Once we’ve got Rambis locked up Phil should really look into a long-term contract for Sasha. That guy is really good at the triangle.

If this is true then Dolan needs to fire everyone involved with this bullshit. Kurt Rambis is not a good coach. Like not at all. A part of me wants to believe that Phil Jackson won’t tie himself to the triangle but now he’s appearing to be an egomaniacal jackass who thinks the Knicks are his pet operation. There are real people who really love the Knicks and this is just an unacceptable outcome if he goes this route. He’s actually playing with my emotions here. Kurt Rambis? The guy who has been objectively worse than Fisher is your choice because he strokes your ego and has a good relationship with you? You want to know more about the team? Then coach the damn team and make Rambis your assistant. This is just a joke to me. Rambis sucks at managing rotations, he sucks at choosing plays to run, he sucks at minute allocation, and pretty much everything else a coach should be good at is what Rambis sucks at. But we’re gonna keep him because he understands the triangle? You know who else understands triangle principles? Tom Thibodeau and David Blatt. This feels worse than the Bargnani trade.

In fairness to Kurt, he has never coached a good roster. But this guy was a reason Love wasn’t playing in Minnesota, no? Like how much dumber does it get?

You know the world is upside down when Frank Isola is the one dispensing hope to Knicks fans:

If Dolan rejects Jackson’s recommendation, there could be chaos and crisis at the home office.

To Dolan’s credit, he is giving himself a safety net for when Jackson’s contract expires in two seasons or if Jackson decides to step away or is fired before his deal runs out.

Among the list of potential successors is believed to be Toronto Raptors GM Masai Ujiri, the highly regarded Africa-born executive who has an interesting history with Dolan.

The two worked on the Anthony trade when Ujiri worked for the Denver Nuggets. Ujiri also traded Andrea Bargnani to the Knicks for this year’s first-round pick and was prepared to trade Kyle Lowry to New York a few seasons ago before Dolan vetoed the move.

So clearly, this falls under the category, “if you can’t beat him, hire him.”

It’s also worth noting that Ujiri was originally brought to Toronto by Tim Leiweke, former CEO of Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) and Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE). Leiweke has since left Toronto and has started a business with Azoff. There’s that man again.

Ujiri is under contract for two more years so even if he wanted to leave Toronto there is no guarantee the Raptors would let him out of his deal. But that’s not the point. What’s interesting is that Dolan is already working on a back-up plan while Jackson’s builds a case for keeping Rambis.

If these reports are true it just confirms that Jackson is a TERRIBLE Gm which is what I’ve been saying all along along with a few other people on this site. At some point the apologies and rationalizations simply have to end.

I’d salivate over the prospect of Masai Ujiri, however. Here’s to hoping the raptors get upset in the playoffs so ownership rushes into a poor decision. And here’s to hoping Dolan makes the one good decision of his career.

Pretty soon we’ll be referring to the Phil Jackson era just as derisively as we do all the other clusterfuck eras we’ve been subjected to. Oh well. Porzingis!

I was just coming to post that very tidbit of the article.

So after Masai Ujiri kicked our teeth in on two trades that dramatically altered the face of our franchise (he beat us so bad he got our 2016 pick twice), and you can argue the Melo trade was probably a wash on both sides, Dolan wants to hire him? That’s excellent work there, Dolan. If that man didn’t have two years left on his deal I would be banging the table for Ujiri.

Is it possible that we could pull off a front office three team trade? Phil Jackson to the Lakers, Ujiri to the Knicks, and D’Angelo Russell to the Raptors to eventually become Kyle Lowry’s successor. Then in the summer, Ujiri can engineer the three team trade that nets us Irving, the Brooklyn pick, and Jae Crowder.

I don’t see how a team that is almost #1 in the conference is going to let their GM go with two years left on his deal. That just seems like false hope by Isola. False hope – seemingly the only hope Knicks fans are allowed to have.

Well they do talk about firing Dwane Casey every year in Toronto, so it could be possible. Don’t ruin the moment for us!

Two ways to look at this Phil/Rambis thing:

1) Phil wants to be more hands on in terms of coaching the team. This is as close as he can get. I understand that and am semi-in favor of it. We need better guards, and if that happens, this team might take a big step forward next year.

2) Phil really wants to quit but doesn’t want to lose the $12MM guaranteed next year before the mutual opt-out clause after next season. He knows Rambis is a near-last choice amongst Knicks fans, and is using his loyalty to his long-time lieutenant as a “last straw” for Dolan, forcing Dolan to fire him. Phil gets to collect the $12MM for doing nothing and gets to tell everyone that the team was on the upswing and Dolan fired him because Dolan is Dolan and the Knicks are the Knicks.

Not sure which one is the right answer.

Re: Ujiri – my guess is there is actually something there. Isola was careful to qualify it by saying this is just a backup option – like perhaps he would let Mills run the team for the 2017 season then get Ujiri after that.

These Masai discussions are obviously real, inevitable even. And they are incredibly shrewd. It can’t have been easy for Dolan and Masai to communicate directly without the whole world finding out and trying to intervene, especially given their history and all the folks who would like to nip this sort of thing in the bud. A lot of cloak and dagger, I’d imagine, probably even some blatant pretense. But they obviously found a way in — it’s happening — and it may turn out to be the single greatest move in the history of NBA management. Franchise changing, even. Of course, celebrating is a little crass, because when you have a poaching situation it’s worth remembering that an entire city has been fleeced on the other side. Goodbye, Porzingis.

That’s why you send PJax to LAL and send the Raptors D’Angelo Russell in a three team trade. Masai Ujiri is a franchise player to me. He took over a 34-48 Raptors team in 2013 and now they’re likely to hit 55 wins. He did a great job in the 3 years he was in Denver, and he’s doing a great job in Toronto. Look at his track record:

The Melo trade. The Iguodala trade, drafting Evan Fournier and Kenneth Faried with late first rounders, the Bargnani trade, the Rudy Gay trade, and the Lou Williams trade were all great moves to get a team headed in the right direction, as well as his patience with not signing DeRozan to a max extension. Landing him would give us one of the five best executives in basketball and would surely make the Knicks relevant.

Seen on Reddit: “‘I swear to *ing God, Melo, I will sign Rambis to a multi-year deal if you don’t agree to a trade. I’ll *ing do it.’ seen this on twitter lmao”

I don’t know what to think. You guys have seen me as optimistically pro-Phil for the past few months, and if this does happen, it’s the last straw with this Phil guy for me.

Ujiri signed Corey Joseph and Bismack Biyombo. We signed Arron Afflalo and Derrick Williams. Guess which option I would have preferred?

Fans (last summer):Lance::Fans (this summer):Rambis?

I never figured I’d say this but I hope CAA intervenes and attempts to put the kibosh on Rambis. Melo’s got zero confidence in Rambis so CAA whispering in one of Dolan’s ear and Isiah in the other ear will put JD in a difficult position because he vowed to let Phil make these decisions. How do you not let Phil Jackson pick his own coach? Dolan wanted this leaked as a trial balloon to gauge the reaction. Maaaaybe a 1-year deal is the final compromise but even that would trouble me because the team will improve regardless who is coaching it and then Phil will use that as justification to give him a long contract next summer. I don’t want Rambis tarnishing our Latvian jewel.

I’ve been thinking for a while that this summer would be a big test of whether Phil had any Plan B. His Plan A for 2 years running has been to use the magic of the triangle to turn a group of middling veterans into an overachieving playoff team. Both years it has flopped badly. If he’s really thinking of hiring Rambis that suggests pretty heavily to me that there is no Plan B. He’s just going to once again remake the rotating cast of mediocre, mid-range jumper shooting vets and try to sell everyone on the idea that the reason the last two years failed is because we didn’t sprinkle quite enough magical triangle pixie dust on everything (basically throw Fish under the bus), and this year it’s all going to work out. My patience with Phil is running very, very thin.

Also I feel it necessary to point out that in the thread after Fisher was fired Brian had the audacity to say Rambis “isn’t a bad coach”. I can’t help but feel like he has some responsibility for all of this.

If yes Rambis means Melo demands a trade? I would be okay with that, although I’ve seen very little from Rambis that makes me think he’s not an idiot.

wait, the T-Wolves beat the Warriors? wow.

There’s another wild card in all of this. KP’s people are very aggressive, remember they told 76ers not to even think about drafting him. KP’s a smart guy so he realizes Rambis is a moron and he won’t want him as coach for the next 3 years. One phone call from his peeps to Dolan saying he’d seriously consider taking the QO and then be an UFA would torpedo Rambis.

I was having a lovely time last night enjoying good drinks with great company. Then I looked at my phone because it vibrated and I saw this headline from my ESPN alerts. My involuntary reaction to reading it led someone to say “are you ok? Looks like you just got news that someone died.”

On the bright side, #1 pick in 2017!!!

On the downside, he’ll probably be on the bench while Sasha Vujevic starts.

C’mon, everyone knows that a Rambis-coached team will be pointlessly mediocre, i.e. making their pick in the mid-lottery

“Kurt and I have a relationship that goes back to 2001. He knows the ins and outs, what pleases me, and what probably I want to have changed”

Oh, well, fuck, if it pleases you m’lord.

I think Phil realizes that if he doesn’t lock up Rambis to a long term deal, there are a bunch of other teams lined up to grab him based on his stellar track record as an NBA coach.

Two questions:

1. Is there another team in the league that would hire Rambis?
2. Does Ujiri beat anyone other than the Knicks in trades? If not, what would be the point of having him?

Ha, just read the post just above mine… d-mar, you said it. But I still wonder what other idiots are out there for Ujiri to swindle.

2. Does Ujiri beat anyone other than the Knicks in trades? If not, what would be the point of having him?

Well, he has a very good record of player acquisition as well–as massive mentioned before: drafting Fournier, Faried; trading Bargs, Rudy Gay, Melo, Lou Williams. Acquiring Iguodala, getting a 2017 first rounder for Greivis Vasquez (!), signing Corey Joseph + Biyombo, etc.

He’s a really good GM and always seems to break even or get the better end of a trade. He’s light years ahead of Phil fucking Jackson. Moreover, he knows how to build a team, even with an ignoramus coach in Dwayne Casey (ok, he’s not THAT bad.)

He traded for Iguodala, Javale McGee, and got rid of Rudy Gay. He also drafted Evan Fournier and Kenneth Faried with late first rounders. He signed Corey Joseph and Bismack Biyombo, and has not offered DeRozan the mega max deal we know he’s going to get this summer. When he got to Toronto, they were 34-48. Now they’re 52-25 three seasons later with 5 more winnable games. When he left Denver, they were a 57-25 team. Now Denver, three years later, is current 32-47. The guy has proven he’s a good GM as he’s built 50 win teams in two different conferences (Ujiri’s Nuggets looked nothing like the Melo/Warkentein Nuggets) without a true franchise player. That’s the type of guy I want to build a team around Kristaps Porzingis.

Remember when we were bemoaning Mike Woodson’s tenure as Knicks coach?

Those were the days. He looks like Red Auerbach next to Rambis.

At least Woodson has been to the playoffs and coached 2 teams to 50+ wins.

Phil Jackson was supposed to come in here and change the culture, and sadly the culture hasn’t changed at all. The Knicks are still a laughingstock, still a tabloid-worthy mess, with as much palace intrigue and cronyism swirling around as ever. He wants to hire Kurt Rambis full time, not because Rambis is a successful coach or a keen basketball mind or well-liked by players or any other sane reason. He wants to hire Rambis because Rambis is a good toady, and because Rambis is an old trusted buddy. Phil’s whole tenure here has become one big giant ego wank job gone wrong.

No more GM or coaching hires who are cult of personality type guys. Of course those are the types of dudes that James Dolan likes best, but maybe these Ujiri rumors are a hint that even stupid ass James Dolan is starting to figure out that hiring the big splashy name who is really famous is not the way to win anything.

1. Is there another team in the league that would hire Rambis?

Honestly, there isn’t another team in the league that would consider hiring him. He would have no chance of getting an interview for any other head coaching job. But he knows what pleases Phil, so here we are.

Definitely not trending in the right direction at the moment. Someone better get a tape recorder in front of Carmelo and ask him if he thinks Rambis has earned a long term contract.

The only way I’m happy:

Step 1: Hire Rambis

Step 2: Melo waives NTC, we get a big haul

Step 3: Rambis steps down for Blatt/Thibs

Never happening.

Either way, I think the players (Melo and Robin Lopez especially, and KP isn’t shy about these things, see: 76ers issue) wouldn’t be for this, and Dolan as well. Don’t see it happening. But it says a TON about Phil that he’d consider this, so Brian may have been right on him.

What if this is Phil’s exit strategy?

He probably thought he’d be much further along by now. It must be clear to him that this a total rebuild and he’s never going to build anything around Melo. He probably isn’t inclined to spend the next 4-5 years of his life working on this.

So he tries to get this shit coach promoted to full time, knowing no one in their right mind would approve it. Now he can say he didn’t have the autonomy he was promised and use that as his excuse to back out and leave this job that he doesn’t want anymore.

I had been hoping that Phil’s talk about possibly keeping on Rambis was just a way to not undermine the coach who for the moment has the job. The fact that he’s going on the offensive about keeping Rambis is super disheartening.

Here’s some optimistic reverse psychology bullshit. Phil is leaking this Rambis stuff because he likes to mess with the media and give them red meat. At the same time it jerks off Dolan a little because the papers are actually writing that Dolan has the better ideas and agrees with the fans. So Phil has everyone fooled and is really ready to pull the trigger on Blatt in the background. Please please be true. One thing Phil has been good at is jerking the media’s chain.

Someone better get a tape recorder in front of Carmelo and ask him if he thinks Rambis has earned a long term contract.

any other city and I’d say that’s not happening, but sometimes NY tabloids are good.

(of course, Melo already said that he wanted Phil to do a real coaching search)

Occam’s Razor sez Phil is either dumb or deluded enough to think Rambis is actually a good coach.

Occam’s Razor sez Phil is either dumb or deluded enough to think Rambis is actually a good coach.

Yeah. We can maybe hold out some desperate hope that this is all BS, even though every single NBA reporter, whether local (Berman) or national (Stein), with an axe to grind against the team (Isola) or not (Herring), says they are hearing the same damn thing. But if this is true, it’s time to stop looking for deeper meaning in what Phil is doing. Sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar, and sometimes an old man with a huge ego, a huger blindspot for his buddies and his pet offense, and a lack of philosophical flexibility turns out to be exactly that.

Oh, well, at least he got us Kristaps.

We could also remember that Phil likes to fuck with the media with bullshit ideas every so often. How often does every reporter get the same story at the same time?

I’m still leaning on the Phil-is-a-jackass side, and hoping to be proven wrong.

It’s the Knicks, what did anyone expect? It’s been 15 years since we had a coach that most of our fanbase thought of as good (I still think D’Antoni is a good coach, but there are intelligent Knicks fans who disagree with me). The problem is always Dolan.

I was listening to a bill simmons podcast on my commute today, and he and that doofus Chuck Klosterman were talking about the recent Joe Lacob interview. Simmons gave Lacob credit for hiring Steve Kerr, and Klosterman said something like “Well, is that really so smart? Jimmy Dolan wanted to hire him too and that guy is an idiot”. And that’s the truth. Jimmy is a meddling idiot, and it’s going to take a miracle for us to ever achieve any sort of sustained success as long as he owns the team.

That’s what’s so frustrating. Phil has been so bad that we actually want Dolan to meddle. That’s how grim things have become.

Sasha’s like the second or third best guard on the team-open up the safe!

Sasha’s like the second or third best guard on the team-open up the safe!

Well, he is an ex-Laker, which makes up about 90% of Phil’s assessment of any player (or coach)

If you want to know how good Sasha is, just count the ringz. He has two more than any other player on the Knicks.

Maybe Sasha spares us the roster spot and retires at the end of the season…

…in order to be signed by Phil as the next HC of the New York Knicks as a sort of Fisher do over.

I mean, Sasha’s not a proven failure as a coach at the NBA level, so he’s one up on Rambis. Plus he has great hair.

You guys will all be eating crow when Phil hires Luke Walton…

….I hope….

You’d might as well hire Jason Schwartzman given the fact that he and Vuj are qualitatively indistinguishable from one another up to and including their jump shot

Even if Phil could somehow convince Walton to come here, am I the only one who thinks that situation would play out similarly to the Fisher one? Phil will impose on Walton to keep a bunch of washed-up, mediocre assistants, but Walton would probably also bring some of “his guys” from Golden State. Walton is going to (most likely) be coming off two straight titles. I’m guessing he (and his guys) are going to have some strong opinions about how things should be run, some of which will jive with Phil and some of which won’t. Is there any reason to think Walton will react any better to being micromanaged by Phil than Fish did? Is there any reason to think he’s going to be any more impressed by the contributions of Rambis and Cleamons than Fish was?

He’s almost inevitably going to start doing things more his way and steering away from those guys, and we know how Phil is not going to like it. Everything to me screams for all intents and purposes Phil wants to be the coach but without any of the responsibility. He wants to be able to give as much input as he wants, from choosing the staff to the system, to suggesting things in practice, to giving tips and pointers when he wants, etc. etc. etc. He just doesn’t want to have to put himself through the grind of actually doing it on a day to day basis. So he wants the next best thing, which is to install someone as the “head coach” who is willing to let Phil step into that role as often as he pleases. If you see it that way then hiring someone who was a former assistant of his makes perfect sense. Hiring a former player doesn’t really.

If Rambis was just a bumbling coach, I wouldn’t be that opposed to bringing him back on a 2-year deal. He’d coach the team to 20 wins next year, they’d get a Top 5 pick, and then you can fire him and bring in a real coach who’ll build around Zingis and the 2017 pick.

The problem is he’s not just a bumbling coach. He’s a dangerous coach. Our two greatest assets are Zing and Melo. Rambis plays Melo 40 mpg in a meaningless season. Can you imagine what he’ll do in November-February when the games count? He’ll be running Melo out for 44 mpg, Melo will blow out his knee, and become an Amare-level albatross that can’t play and has no trade value.

Meanwhile, Rambis has been trying to convert Zingis into a SF, when the guy should be playing center in a modern NBA. During this formative period of Zing’s career, any “lessons” he learns from Rambis (always post up and take 16-foot turnaround jumpers!) could be doing permanent damage to his development.

A Rambis era will have repercussions for this franchise long after he leaves. Mark my words. He will cripple us for YEARS.

Kurt Rambis is a bottom five NBA coach next to guys like Byron Scott and Jason Kidd. He makes his team worse and should be calling plays for ESPN or something. He’s not somebody you give decision making capability on a coaching level. I bet he can teach the triangle though.

He’ll be running Melo out for 44 mpg, Melo will blow out his knee, and become an Amare-level albatross that can’t play and has no trade value.

“Hey, I decide Melo’s trade value. Not his knee. Fuck off, novice.” -Melo’s Inexplicable, Unforgivable No-Trade Clause™

If there were no decent coaches available, I wouldn’t have a major objection to hiring Rambis. I don’t think he’s a top coach and think the triangle and what he and Phil are trying to do is outdated. But he’s probably not as bad as people think either. His coaching record was badly marred by a horrible T-Wolves team. The thing is, there are a couple good to elite coaches available that would probably love to come to NY. It’s borderline insane to reject clear cut top coaches like that for Rambis. If what they are saying about Jackson is true, he’s smoking too much of something. He is in some kind of psychological denial mode.

Just replace “CAA guys” with “Phil Jackson’s Triangle Homies” and you have the same miserable festering nepotism that brought you Chris Smith and the Andrea Bargnani trade. It’s the same wrongheaded bullshit just with a slightly different wrapper on it.

The only silver lining I see here is that Melo might start demanding a trade. The Knicks are about to cement their status as the NBA’s #1 laughing stock and whipping boy if Rambis gets this job, and I can’t imagine Melo wants to waste his last few years with a somewhat functioning knee as the butt of #LOLKnicks jokes.


Yup. We had finally escaped the basement thanks to Zingis and the Kings’ dysfunctionality. We were bad but not a laughingstock. A Rambis multi-year deal will push us right back into joke territory.

It’s hard to describe the combination of fury, disbelief, and sadness that results when your team announces in advance a move that EVERYBODY knows is terrible. It’s Bargnani all over again. “We’re giving up how many draft picks for a guy who is getting booed by his home fans? Wait, this can’t be real. Somebody step in and stop this, please!”

Now it’s, “We’re extending a horrible coach who makes 10 elementary mistakes per game and may ruin several of our players? Because he’s friends with the GM? No! Somebody step in and stop this, please!”

The dangerous thing about the possible Rambis hire is that the Knicks could hire him, be the laughing stock of the lamestream media throughout the off season, make a couple decent FA pickups, and then get into the playoffs next season while the media jumps on the Rambandwagon and ignores the dumb shit he’s doing. And then we’d be stuck with him for a long enough time that he could fuck things up

From now on all Knicks fans should include a #neverrambis hashtag to all their tweets and notes.

What the Knicks need is Tex Winter. Let’s dust him off and make him Rambo’s lead assistant.

Phil considered Tex Winter. Here are his notes:

Pros: triangle triangle triangle triangle triangle triangle TRIANGLE

Cons: Since he is older than me, he may not follow my commands 100% of the time.

Conclusion: Power > triangle. Pass.

Weird, Hinkie was on Zach Lowe’s podcast a day or two ago trying to spin his tenure and now he’s resigned via 13 page long resignation letter.

The dangerous thing about the possible Rambis hire is that the Knicks could hire him, be the laughing stock of the lamestream media throughout the off season, make a couple decent FA pickups, and then get into the playoffs next season while the media jumps on the Rambandwagon and ignores the dumb shit he’s doing. And then we’d be stuck with him for a long enough time that he could fuck things up

Yep, that’s a very possible scenario, honestly. Not the playoffs, exactly, but an improvement that gets credited to Rambis.

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