After Steve Kerr spurned the opportunity to become the Knicks’ head coach and took the same position with the Warriors, the Knicks’ search for the fired Mike Woodson’s successor goes back to the drawing board.
If that drawing board is to include diagrams of team president Phil Jackson’s favored system, the triangle offense, here is a trio of potential candidates who might be good options and who aren’t still playing or currently working as NBA head coaches.
Longtime Knicks fans will remember when he patrolled the paint for the team before helping Jackson’s Chicago Bulls win their first three championships. His first NBA head coaching gig was rocky (51-100 over two-plus seasons with the Bulls, who featured a young center named Tyson Chandler), but a more talented team and Jackson’s backing could lead to more success.
Rambis was the last Lakers interim coach before Jackson arrived in Los Angeles and led the team to three consecutive titles. After taking the role with 37 games to go in the season, he guided the Lakers to the Western Conference semifinals. His first permanent head coaching gig didn’t go so well (32-132 in two seasons with the Timberwolves), but he spent plenty of time on Jackson’s staff and is a clear favorite of the Zen Master.
Another disciple of the triangle offense who has served under Jackson, Cleamons was a flop with the pre-Dirk Nowitzki Mavericks (28-70 in one-plus seasons). It’s been nearly 17 years since he was fired by Dallas, and he’s filled that time by being an assistant all over the league, but mostly for Jackson’s Lakers. At 65 years old by the time the next season starts, he’s no spring chicken, so he might be better off as an assistant for a non-triangle coach, if one is hired — Mark Jackson, anyone?