New Knicks Coach Said Last Week Hiring Decisions Are Solely Up To Him


NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)Phil Jackson is once again publicly endorsing Kurt Rambis, this time for an assistant coaching job under Jeff Hornacek.

The Knicks’ president reportedly gave serious consideration to promoting Rambis to full-time head coach. Rambis served as interim coach after Derek Fisher was fired, going 9-19.

But Jackson instead hired Hornacek, the former Phoenix Suns coach who is in the process of assembling his staff. Might Rambis be on it?

Jackson was asked by SNY about that possibility Monday and seemed to hint Rambis could still be in the Knicks’ plans.

“Kurt fits,” Jackson said. “He fits in a number of ways. He was a teammate of Jeff’s in Phoenix at one point in our careers. He’s also a great team guy. He’s got a great idea of what we’re trying to accomplish, and I think he can help Jeff feel his way through this club and find the best way for them to play.”

Hornacek, however, was not tipping his hand Friday when it came to Rambis, who served as an assistant coach under Jackson with the Los Angeles Lakers. Hornacek told WFAN’s Mike Francesa that he has the complete freedom to hire his staff.

“I know Kurt’s coaching abilities, what he can provide to us, and I’ve talked to him once about the possibility and how he would fit on our staff,” Hornacek said. “I’m going to continue to talk to him over these next few days. … As we go on in this process, if I think he’d be good for us, then I’d love to have him. If we talk and we just don’t seem like it’s going to fit well, then he’ll move on and get another job.”

MORE: Schmeelk: 5 Takeaways From Jeff Hornacek’s News Conference

In March, Jackson told reporters that he believed Rambis was “perfectly capable” of serving as the Knicks’ head coach on a full-time basis.

Jackson also told SNY on Monday that, although the Knicks don’t have a pick in this month’s draft, the organization is still doing its homework and working out players.

“We don’t have a draft pick, but we think that subsequently we might,” he said.

When asked what the team’s priorities are in free agency, Jackson said: “You name it, we’ve got it. Basically we’re just out getting talent, players that fit in with what we try to do, have a collective thought, team players.”

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