The New York Knicks were supposed to have little drama to their coaching search, with league-wide sentiment that interim coach Kurt Rambis was a shoe-in to get the job on a permanent basis, but new rumors suggest that the competition could be more open than previously thought.
Reports have emerged that Knicks president Phil Jackson met with former Indiana Pacers coach Frank Vogel this week, the second in-person meeting for the Knicks after former Cleveland Cavaliers head coach David Blatt was interviewed last month.
ESPN reported that the interviews are casting uncertainty around a vacancy many assumed Rambis would fill.
"Some in coaching circles have described Rambis' eventual hiring as a foregone conclusion, though league sources say that is inaccurate. The Knicks' meeting with Vogel, which was earlier reported by the New York Daily News, would seem to bolster that point."As recently as last week, the Knicks coaching job appeared to belong to Kurt Rambis. Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News wrote that the team was expected to pick Rambis, but more than a week has passed since that report, and the team appears no closer to signing Rambis. Other rumors have pointed toward Blatt becoming the next coach of the New York Knicks. The former Cavaliers coach has the endorsement of Knicks star Carmelo Anthony, as The New York Post reported that Anthony thinks Blatt would be the best pick to develop 7-foot-3 star Kristaps Pirzingis and turn the Knicks into an immediate contender.
Blatt also has some experience in complicated offensive schemes, which could give him a leg up in running the triangle under Phil Jackson.
Harvey Araton of the New York Times wrote that Blatt's interview with the Knicks went very well.
"He pitched himself to Jackson as a defensive-minded coach who, while playing collegiately at Princeton, was reared on the joy of a deliberate, five-man offense and therefore amenable to embracing Jackson's beloved triangle. He reminded Jackson that he initially went to Cleveland in 2014 to coach a young, undisciplined Cavaliers team, a work in progress. That was before James suddenly returned as the homecoming King, when the Cavs were essentially the Knicks, minus the veteran shotmaking of Carmelo Anthony."Blatt could be a hot commodity, however. He was let go despite leading the Cavaliers to the NBA Finals last season and to an Eastern Conference-best 30-11 record at the time he was fired. There could be a lot of interest in his services, and the Houston Rockets already brought Blatt in for an interview, ESPN reported.
Frank Vogel could have his own advantage in the race for the Knicks job. He has worked with Phil Jackson before, serving as an advanced scout for the Los Angeles Lakers in 2005-06, when Jackson was the team's coach.
Vogel had some big praise for Jackson in the past, as well.
"From the standpoint of studying the NBA game, I was always a big fan of Phil Jackson and his approach," Vogel told the Indianapolis publication Nuvo in 2013 (via ESPN). "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."
As the New York Knicks continue on their coaching search, rumors indicate that it is now a wide-open race and certainly not Kurt Rambis' job to lose.
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