Perhaps Kurt Rambis is still a shoo-in to remain head coach of the New York Knicks. What this series presupposes is ... maybe he isn't? We already know that Carmelo Anthony expects a thorough search, and we are here for you, big cat! Feel free to use these profiles, Knicks front office bros.
Let's dive into a list of potential coaching candidates that interest the P&T staff, presented in no particular order of preference or likelihood or anything. We've already covered
Scott Brooks (hired by Washington) and Becky Hammon. And now, a surprise candidate emerges ...
As Knicks fans continue to look on in horror at the what looks very much like a meandering two-tortoise race for the Knicks coaching job, another big-time coaching candidate may yet emerge from a most surprising place:
Sources: Indiana coach Frank Vogel's contract expires at season's end and so far there's been no discussion of a contract extension.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) May 2, 2016
Now, let us begin by stating the obvious: Vogel could very well end up re-signing with Indiana by the time you finish reading this sentence. If he decides to play the market, however, he would make an ideal candidate. His teams defend -- Indy has fielded a top-10 defense in each of his five full seasons as head coach. The Pacers missed the playoffs once in that time, and that was the season Paul George missed with a broken leg. He runs the kind of team defense-starved Knicks fans have dream about for the past 15 years. He's even a New Jersey native (though Wildwood, NJ, is really more of a Philly town).
Of course, all the plaudits and coaching acumen in the world don't mean diddly-squat to the Knicks front office if he fails the "Phil Jackson guy" test. Does the Zen Master know Frank Vogel?
Kinda. They have met before, when Vogel was an advanced scout for Jackson's Lakers, according to the New York Post. More importantly, they share a connection through former Phil assistant Brian Shaw, who was Vogel's associate head coach during his first two full seasons in Indy. Vogel cited Shaw's apprenticeship under Jackson as a big reason for hiring him in an interview with Nuvo's Mark Dubec:
"From the standpoint of studying the NBA game I was always a big fan of Phil Jackson and his approach. Obviously he had great players, but there were a lot of coaches with great players that didn't win at the level he did. That was a big reason why I hired [Pacers associate head coach] Brian Shaw. He was as close to Phil as anyone could be and I thought I could rely on that experience and it's been awesome."
Oh, and he's already defended the Triangle to a certain extent. Per Dave D'Alessandro:
"Obviously, Phil perfected it, and others have tried and failed," Frank Vogel said, before his Pacers rolled over for the Knicks and a loud Garden audience that included Jackson, 92-86, Wednesday night. "I've had extensive conversations with Brian Shaw, and even though teams don't (use) a triangle, there are triangle concepts in every offense -- the spacing, cutting, it's a part of our package. We just don't call it the triangle."
Great defensive mind, requisite Triangle homage and Phil Jackson ass-kissing ... Vogel appears to be the total package. The Knicks could bring back Shaw as Vogel's consigliere/Jackson's snitch, and Kurt Rambis can sit with them on the bench and pretend like he's responsible for all the success! Please do this if at all possible, Knicks.