CLEVELAND — Kurt Rambis will remain with the Knicks and will be a part of Jeff Hornacek’s coaching staff, according to a league source.
The Knicks are working on a new contract for Rambis, the source said. Rambis had one year remaining on his deal, and the two sides are negotiating an extension to match the three-year contract that Hornacek signed.
Rambis is expected to be the associate head coach, which was his title under former Knicks coach Derek Fisher.
ESPN.com was the first to report the contract talks.
Rambis finished the season as interim coach, and was given strong consideration to be the Knicks’ full-time coach going forward. But team president Phil Jackson hired Hornacek last week.
Hornacek and Rambis played together in Phoenix for 2 ½ seasons and have a long-standing relationship. At his introductory news conference last week, Hornacek was asked about Rambis’ status and sounded as if he was leaning toward keeping him on staff.
“I think it’d probably be more awkward if I didn’t know Kurt,” Hornacek said. “But I do know Kurt and we talked about a lot of things and how, if I kept him on as coach, what his role would be. It was a good talk.”
Rambis has a close friendship with Jackson and is a proponent of the triangle offense. Rambis was 9-19 as interim coach, and had the Knicks playing more triangle than they had under Fisher.
Hornacek played a more up-tempo offense when he coached in Phoenix and also favors pick-and-roll play, but the Knicks are still expected to run principles of the triangle. Jackson and Rambis ran a triangle clinic/minicamp shortly after the season for Knicks players.
“Well, Kurt fits,’’ Jackson said in an interview this week with SNY. “He fits in a number of ways. He’s a teammate of Jeff’s in Phoenix at one point in their careers. He’s also a great team guy, he has a great idea what we’re trying to get accomplished, and I think he can help Jeff feel his way through this club and find the best way for them to play.’’
Hornacek’s assistant with the Suns, Jerry Sichting, is expected to be a part of his Knicks staff. Hornacek still has to make decisions on Knicks assistants Jim Cleamons, Brian Keefe, Josh Longstaff and Rasheed Hazzard. They all joined the team with Fisher, although Jackson brought in Rambis and Cleamons to help Fisher’s transition from player to first-time coach.