New York Knicks Head Coach Search Begins; Luke Walton Among Talks
The New York Knicks head coach search begins, as team President Phil Jackson is in the process of a massive coaching search.
After the hire of long time player, and championship contributor Derek Fischer, Phil Jackson terminated Fishers contract in February following a 23-31 start in a season many believed the franchise would be primed to make a post season run. He was replaced by Assistant Head Coach Kurt Rambis, who was given the interim tag for the remainder of this past season. According to Jackson, Rambis is a quality candidate; and Jackson’s favorite according to those close to the team.
In total, Fisher finished his initial coaching experience with a 40-96 record in one and a half seasons with the Knicks. It was his first head coaching job of his career.
Luke Walton is a Possible Match
As the search begins, Phil Jackson reportedly has identified Golden State Warriors Assistant Luke Walton as his primary target. Walton, a former Phil Jackson favorite with the Los Angeles Lakers, was the Interim Head Coach when Steve Kerr was sidelined following early season back surgery. In his role, he led the Golden State Warriors out of the gate to an NBA record 24-0 start; and over 39-4 record.
While the Knicks and Walton have yet to formally discuss the vacancy; the Golden State Warriors have announced they will give teams permission to discuss the opportunity; but only in between post season series. Once each series begins, communication will be off limits.
Jackson hasn’t ruled anyone else out of the coaching pool, telling Knicks Beat Writer “Only people I probably know will be in the interview process,’’ Jackson acknowledged. “I will reach out to make connections to some people. I’ve been in this position in the NBA over 50 years. I’ve seen lot of situations where coaches end up coming in without simpatico with the general manager. Someone who has compatibility with what I do as a leader would have to be in sync with what we do.”
That point brings up the legitimacy behind Kurt Rambis’ case for the Head Coaching position. Rambis is the closest thing to a “triangle guru” not named Phil Jackson. His integral understanding of the triangle offense, and its marginal success in the final twenty-eight games of the regular season, left quite the impression on Phil Jackson.
Earlier this week, Jackson and Rambis held a Triangle Workshop for some of the Knicks younger players. The goal was to review tape, hold an informational meeting and to perform some on the court demonstrations. Insuring the players understand proper footwork is integral to the success of the Triangle offense, and the inclusion of the franchises “interim head coach” only helps to solidify his role inside the organization.
Whether that will be to become the Head Coach, or a Triangle Consultant is yet to be seen; in the eyes of the beholder, Rambis’ chances of taking the reigns can only become tighter with his every involvement with the organization moving forward.
Jackson has said he would prefer to hire a coach before May, but has said the process could take as long as July. In either case, the next head coach in New York better put their personal clip board away and be prepared to run Jackson’s Triangle offense; or they too will be given termination papers.
(Knicks Head Coach Search Begins)