It shouldn't suck to be a Knicks fan right now. Here's a team with a really promising frontcourt: a star who just played a solid and healthy post-surgery season while saying all the right things, a just-signed big man who flourished with his new teammates, and a stupefyingly brilliant rookie with the potential to be legendary. They've got some nice "pieces," a clean cap sheet, plus room to build their backcourt into something adequate, and eventually good over the next couple seasons. All the Knicks need is a coach and a couple more modestly smart roster moves and they could be competitive for the foreseeable future.
And yet all around us is a sense of doom! This time of year can be an information void for fans of a non-playoff team. The void is never a vacuum in New York, though, and especially not under Phil Jackson. The future of the roster isn't much of a concern yet, because we're all too busy waiting and thrashing in the absence of a coach, or even a tangible search for one. All we have to work with right now are sparse and inscrutable words from Phil, all the blanks filled in by media. Media are very, very adept at blank-filling.
If you're paying close attention, you woke up this morning (or late last night) to Peter Vecsey insisting supposed candidate David Blatt is not in fact being considered, and that Tom Thibodeau offered his services to New York but found no interest. Is any of that true? I dunno! It's plausible, and it fits in line with most other rumors. Anything's plausible. Pretty much any reporter high or low can hear anything from any source high or low and inject it into the void, where it will reverberate in the absence of anything solid to absorb it.
(Side note: Carmelo Anthony did this on a much smaller scale last summer. He said a little bit and leaked a little bit -- not enough to understand, but too much to ignore -- and let reporters and fans fill in the rest. It was an unpleasant moment. Melo has since been refreshingly frank about most subjects. I think it's great.)
We've gone through this process a few times with Phil. Think of all the leaks about the draft and free agency before last offseason. It's unclear to me why and from whom reporters hear all these things in the lead-up to a big decision. All I know is it's the fucking worst. It makes me yearn to be a fan as I was in childhood -- watch all the basketball, find out about transactions when they happen, miss all of the rumor and subtext. This part isn't fun.
All of this is to say the following: I still hold a thread of hope that Phil Jackson is going to hire a coach reporters' sources have not primed us to expect, and I still believe this team can become quite good with a decent coach (even with a sub-decent coach, honestly.)
If, however, my hope is foolish and the dreaded deal is coming, then goddamn, man, just do the deed. Hiring Kurt Rambis would upset a lot of us, but at least it'll allow us to stop wondering, get over it, and look forward. If we're waiting for something, I so desperately wish I knew what it was. If we're not actually waiting for anything and this whole delay is just a gesture as some theorize, then it is cruel and unusual. Rumor colors the time between now and whatever decision Phil Jackson is about to make, and it suuuuuucks.