Kurt Rambis is a Phil Jackson guy. He served as Jackson’s assistant for almost a decade with the Los Angeles Lakers and followed his mentor to the Big Apple to become the New York Knicks associate head coach in 2016.
Needless to say, Rambis was not hand-picked by Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek. Whatever drama that might bring about between the two remains to be seen. But one report suggests that players on the fledgling Knicks roster are not too fond of Rambis.
“Kurt Rambis, who is beyond unpopular with the players, league sources said,” Yahoo Sports NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski reported recently. “When players want coaching and teaching, they get yelling, sources said. Most wonder about Rambis’ allegiances, because after all, he’s Jackson’s guy, not Hornacek’s.”
That definitely doesn’t seem like a sustainable environment to exist in. It surely won’t quiet the suggestions that Jackson and his Knicks are an absolute dumpster fire right now.
This comes immediately after the resignation of a top personnel man for the Knicks. It also comes following a disastrous 2016-17 campaign that saw the Knicks win just 31 games in a season that was defined by off-court drama between Jackson and star forward Carmelo Anthony.
There’s surely going to be a power play in New York this summer. Whether that means Anthony really forces his way out of town remains to be seen. Heck, Jackson himself recently indicated that the future Hall of Famer would be better off with another team (more on that here).
The longer-term issue here could be between Hornacek and Jackson. The head coach is just one season into his tenure with New York. He took over for Rambis, who acted as the team’s interim head coach after Derek Fisher was fired during the 2015-16 season.
What happens here could tell us a lot about the direction of the Knick moving forward. What we do know is that Jackson appears to be in this for the long haul. That’s probably not a good thing for the franchise.