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Phil Jackson: Kurt Rambis Suggested Jeff Hornacek For Knicks Coaching Job

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — According to Phil Jackson, Jeff Hornacek received a rather surpising endorsement for the Knicks’ head coaching job this spring.

In an interview with Today’s Fastbreak, Jackson said Kurt Rambis suggested Hornacek as a possible hire. It’s a curious comment because Rambis, who served as the Knicks’ interim head coach for 28 games last season, was thought to be a serious candidate for the job and there was never a hint publicly that he had pulled himself out of the running.

“It was Kurt Rambis who first suggested Jeff,” Jackson told Today’s Fastbreak. “They had played together in Phoenix for several seasons so Kurt had a good read on Jeff.”

Hornacek hired Rambis to his staff, but it wasn’t an instant move, suggesting Hornacek likely took time to weigh whether Rambis was a good fit rather than automatically rewarding him for putting in a good word. Hornacek has said Jackson gave him the complete freedom to assemble his staff.

In the article, Jackson explained what sold him on Hornacek.

“I liked the way his (Phoenix Suns) players had freedom within a structure, which is exactly how the triangle should function,” Jackson said. “Jeff was a good system coach, something that I felt was absolutely necessary for whomever I would think of hiring.”

But Jackson insisted that he doesn’t plan to meddle in the X’s and O’s.

“As far as his own game plan, all I did was to give Jeff the basic format that I like and he was enthusiastic about using it,” Jackson said. “But I understand that he has to coach what he knows how to coach. His plans for fastbreaks, early offense, build-up drills and the like are up to him.”


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