The New York Knicks haven't played since Sunday, which should have permitted us a nice 48-hour vacation from any news related to interim head coach Kurt Rambis.
LOLZ we all knew that wasn't gonna happen. The predawn hours of April 6, 2016 shall from this time forth forever be known as the Night of the Living Rambis. Hide your kids, hide your porno stash -- Rambis is comin' for you, and he cannot be killed by conventional weapons!
First Frank Isola chimed in on the potential implications of the love-fest between the current coach and team president Phil Jackson:
Phil Jackson is more vocal at Knicks practices since Kurt Rambis replaced Derek Fisher as head coach in February. For Jackson, it really is the best of both worlds; he can satisfy his coaching appetite without having the losses tarnish his resume.
Several players confirmed that they have noticed Jackson taking a more active role in helping Rambis run the team. Fisher mostly resisted Jackson's input, especially in front of the team because he felt it undermined his authority.
Rambis, meanwhile, is Jackson's preferred choice to keep the job because Rambis is more than willing to do things Jackson's way.
If the Knicks really do belong to Jackson and he has full autonomy over personnel decision, than Rambis will receive a contract extension at some point this spring.
Ah, but this is Isola, right? Dude always has an ax to grind. Unfortunately, ESPN's Marc Stein and Ian Begley reported something eerily similar a few hours later:
Sources told ESPN.com that Rambis, who has served as the Knicks' interim coach since Derek Fisher was fired Feb. 8, is the preferred choice of team president Phil Jackson, who sources say is pushing for a new multiyear deal for Rambis despite New York's 8-16 record since the coaching change.
With Jackson, 70, insisting that he can no longer handle the day-to-day rigors of coaching, sources say he sees Rambis as the coach best suited to not only run the triangle offense he favors but also manage the team using Jackson's long-held principles.
And Chris Herring is backing it up as well:
Had been hearing exact same, w/ regards to multi-year possibility and was working to confirm. Unreal. https://t.co/f899w1OxSJ— Chris Herring (@HerringWSJ) April 6, 2016
Oh fudge. If these reports are true, then there are only two things standing between Rambis and the permanent gig. The chief obstacle could be owner James Dolan, according to Isola.
Rambis and Jackson also need the blessing of Dolan, the Chairman of Madison Square Garden. Dolan reportedly isn't entirely opposed to Rambis but he's not quite ready to sign off on hiring him either.
The other obstacle -- and I'm just spit-balling here -- is that the Knicks players don't particularly care for him as a coach. Carmelo Anthony has already publicly announced his preference for a thorough coaching search, and has been doing his best to force Rambis into playing the younger guys. Judging by their often tense on-court interactions, Robin Lopez is about as amenable to Rambis as he is to opposing mascots.
I've been a Phil Jackson booster through thick and thin. He's made his share of mistakes, but usually he has acted in the best interests of the franchise's future. He drafted Kristaps Porzingis. He traded for Jerian Grant. He brought in Langston Galloway and Lance Thomas. He signed Lopez. He draft-n-stashed Willy Hernangomez. He broke the endless cycle of dealing away draft picks. Those are all good things.
Promoting Kurt Rambis to full-time head coach, however, would be inexcusable. It would be the height of cronyism. Rambis had his chance to prove himself; he's had multiple chances. He's not a head coach. Please don't do this, Phil.