Jackson will take time to decide if Rambis is Knicks coach
GREENBURGH, N.Y. (AP) Phil Jackson wants to work with a coach he knows, and he'll take some time before deciding if that's Kurt Rambis.
Jackson said Thursday that Rambis will be interviewed for the New York Knicks' coaching job after he finished the season as the team's interim coach. Jackson, the team's president of basketball operations, said he hasn't taken or made any calls about the position, which Rambis held since Derek Fisher was fired in early February.
For now, Rambis has a head start on the field.
''That's the only one I've said I'd interview right now,'' Jackson said. ''I've resisted taking calls or making calls until the season's over and I have these exit meetings, but Kurt knows he'll be interviewed for the job.''
Rambis was a former assistant coach under Jackson in Los Angeles and the two have a good working relationship, but he understands if Jackson needs to look around at other options.
''He's got to do what he's got to do,'' Rambis said. ''That doesn't bother me.''
The Knicks finished 32-50, their third straight season out of the playoffs, and there are a number of top candidates who would be available if Jackson opened a wide-spread coaching search.
That's what Carmelo Anthony indicated the Knicks should do.
''I think it should be open,'' Anthony said. ''I think we should at least make it open and just like any other process, it should be open.''
It may be - but only to a point.
Jackson was an 11-time champion as a coach who believes in a certain system of basketball that should be played. That will limit the options available and potentially eliminate someone like Tom Thibodeau right off the bat.
''Only people I probably know will be in the interview process,'' Jackson said. ''I will reach out to make connections to some people, but I've been in this NBA over 50 years and I've seen a lot of situations where coaches end up coming in without simpatico with the general manager and those things don't work well. So someone who has compatibility with what I do, would have to be in sync with what we do.''
Jackson gave no timetable, saying it could be July or it could be May.
The roster also needs plenty of work after the Knicks faltered badly following a promising 22-22 start. Besides the coach, the other question is whether will be a part of it next season.
''As of right now, I'll be here,'' Anthony said.
He has to approve any trade, so if he wants to stay, he will. But he no longer sounds so certain, recognizing that he may not be able to win the title he craves in the city he loves. He made the playoffs his first 10 years in the league before missing it three straight years as he enters the tail end of his career.
''When is going to come a time when I can compete at that level again?'' he wondered.
Still, Jackson said they communicate and that Anthony ''wants to stay here.'' Rookie Kristaps Porzingis hopes that remains the case.
''I need him, he knows that,'' Porzingis said. ''I want to play with him in the future.''
Biggest Need: Help in the backcourt. The Knicks' guards struggle to get into the paint and have trouble keeping their opponents out it, a bad combination.
- The Good News: Porzingis had a mostly terrific rookie year before it ended early with a shoulder injury that he said is feeling better. ... Anthony demonstrated better all-around play and leadership skills in his return after knee surgery ended last season early. ... Robin Lopez showed a solid offensive game in the post. ... Players still love New York and Madison Square Garden, giving them something to pitch in free agency.
- The Bad news: Don't have a first-round pick after trading it to Toronto three years ago for Andrea Bargnani. ... Jackson won't be sure how much the Knicks will have to spend in free agency until Arron Afflalo and Derrick Williams decide on their player options, and if both opt to stay, it may prevent them from being able to offer a maximum contract. ... Questions remain about the viability of the triangle offense that Jackson favors.