Phil Jackson met recently with former Pacers coach Frank Vogel about the Knicks’ coaching position, a league source confirmed on Sunday.
Jackson, the Knicks president, and general manager Steve Mills were present at the meeting. The source said Vogel remains under consideration for the Knicks’ vacancy.
Interim coach Kurt Rambis and former Cavaliers coach David Blatt, who Jackson and Mills met with about three weeks ago, also are candidates to coach the Knicks.
Vogel compiled a 250-181 record and led Indiana to the Eastern Conference finals twice in 5 1⁄2 seasons. Pacers president Larry Bird decided not to renew Vogel’s contract after the Pacers lost in seven games to Toronto in the first round of the playoffs.
The source said Mills reached out to Vogel’s representatives the day after Indiana let him go. Jackson was on vacation at the time.
Vogel is one of the better coaches available. He emphasized defense and made the playoffs all but one season with Indiana. The one time the Pacers didn’t make it was in the 2014-15 season when they were without their best player, Paul George, for all but six games — and Indiana missed by one game.
Vogel served as an advance scout with the Lakers when Jackson coached there. But Vogel has been quoted as saying he’s only met Jackson once. Vogel also is a candidate for the Rockets’ and Grizzlies’ openings.
The only potential knock on Vogel is he doesn’t run the triangle offense, which is the system Jackson wants the Knicks to use. That’s why Rambis has been considered the leading candidate to coach the Knicks.
Rambis served as an assistant under Jackson with the Lakers and was initially hired to be the Knicks’ associate head coach under Derek Fisher. When Jackson fired Fisher in February, he turned the reins over to Rambis, who put more of an emphasis on the triangle offense.
It remains possible that Jackson could hire either Vogel or Blatt and make Rambis an executive or associate head coach again so he can help run the offense.
Jackson held a triangle seminar/minicamp for Knicks players after the season; Rambis was a part of the seminar.
Rambis also was part of a Knicks’ contingent in Chicago this week at the NBA pre-draft combine. Jackson wasn’t there, but Mills and assistant GM Allan Houston were. The Knicks don’t have a draft pick, but they could acquire one.
Blatt, who played college basketball with Mills at Princeton, runs the Princeton offense, which emphasizes constant motion, and was very successful coaching in Europe before being hired by the Cavaliers in 2014. He helped them reach the Finals last season but was fired this season with a 30-11 record.
Jackson also spoke to Luke Walton shortly after the season about the Knicks’ job, but he ended up taking the Lakers’ head coaching position.