Phil Jackson turns to plan B

Steve Kerr decided to join Golden State and a team that is better situated to win now, rather than join his former head coach Phil Jackson in the Big Apple and that New York state of mind. So, Jackson must now select a new head coach among several that are available.

1-Jim Cleamons.Jim Cleamons

He seems to be the most likely choice, despite a horrid debut as a HC with the Dallas Mavericks from 1996-1998 (28-70) when they went their separate ways after Jerry Reinsdorf booted everybody out of Chicago. Cleamons has an understanding of the Triangle after having been an assistant on Jackson’s previous teams in Chicago and with the Los Angeles Lakers. Most importantly, he has shown he can work for Jackson and that’s not always an easy task. As great as he is, Jackson has a very strong willed and stubborn personality so the chances of him luring a name coach is slim. That’s a huge reason Jackson was interested in Kerr, familiarity.

Cleamons will only be the figurehead as the HC, he’ll have Jackson whispering sweet nothings and coaching advice in his earpiece while he’s standing on the sidelines.

2-Derek Fisher.Billy Hunter and Derek FIsher

Fisher played for Jackson in Los Angeles with the Lakers and will retire after this season. Fisher could turn out to be another Jason Kidd, first-time coach with absolutely no experience. Having played the point guard position, Fisher knows how to run a team. Now, coaching is often said to be different but is it really that much different for a former PG? Maybe, for any other position it might. But, PG’s are responsible for setting up the offense and directing the pace of the game, distributing the ball, and knowing where the players are supposed to be on the floor. Surround him with some veteran assistant’s and he could be just fine. Having been a former president of the players union, Fisher will command respect. Plus, he’s a likeable guy, he shouldn’t have a problem in the locker room with players that might be close to him in age.

3-Kurt Rambis.Kurt Rambis

Rambis is also familiar with Jackson and has the most experience (56-145 in three seasons with the Lakers and Minnesota Timberwolves) and actually had some success with the Lakers. In 1998-1999 he was the coach and LA went 24-13 before they were swept in the Western Conference semifinals by the San Antonio Spurs. The following season, Jackson joined the team and the rest is history.

Rambis has experience with the Triangle and that’s going to be a requirement as Jackson is surely going to want the offense run.

The common denominator is all these coaches have experience working with Jackson. Mark Jackson, Lionel Hollins, and Nate McMillan aren’t coming to save the day, Knick fans. Jackson is as close to a dictator as there is, he got the job he wanted and he will not be bringing in anybody he may clash with. I believe it will be one of these three, in order.

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Big time sports fan of the Lakers, Raiders, Angels and Dodgers. From 1990-1995, I worked at the Glendale News-Press and I had a blast. I covered mainly high school sporting events and Glendale Community College athletic events, but also attended Dodgers, Raiders, and Rams games. I also write for Joel Huerto (former co-writer and editor at the GNP) at I watch a lot of sports on TV (basketball, football, usually just postseason MLB) and UFC.


  1. It really doesn’t matter. At the end of the day, no coach is any better than his roster. Have you seen this roster? NOBODY is going to be successful with the Knicks current bunch of misfits. That includes your 3 Jackson protégés. Anyone taking this job should rent, not buy. Unfortunately none of them will ever get another call; so we’re one and done.

  2. It’s clearly a rebuilding situation (especially if Melo bolts), but after next season….they’ll have major cap space, Hllywd.

  3. If I were Phil I’d throw a ton of money at Kevin Ollie. Players want to play for him and clearly he knows how to coach basketball and delivered results very quickly at Connecticut.

    And I wouldn’t worry too much about the triangle. Phil isn’t the coach and he shouldn’t force his philosophies on the coaching staff. I understand wanting to have a shared strategy but the coach should absolutely be allowed to implement what he thinks will work, and if Phil is planning on narrowing his options by only considering triangle experts then the Jackson-Dolan partnership will end even sooner than I’d initially thought.

  4. Ollie would be perfect. But he’s been successful in college because college kids take his direction Not sure the same would apply in the NBA.

  5. Ollie is well respected in NBA circles, I respectfully disagree. I think he’s a Jacque Vaughn/Jason Kidd clone.

  6. I think Ollie could coach in the NBA but not sure he wants to. I think he likes working with young talent and developing it. Also, UConn is gonna give him a very big raise so unless an NBA team blows him away with an offer he is not gonna leave UConn.

    He keeps saying he wants to coach UConn to another championship but he also says he will listen to any offer from any NBA team. I think that’s a negotiating ploy with UConn. Both UConn and Ollie say talks are ongoing and progressing.

    My money says he stays at UConn.

  7. Maybe, Joe. But, eventually? He’ll be in the pros someday. He already won an NCAA title at a young age and there is only so much he can accomplish there. EJ and I have talked extensively about this and he’s going to be in the NBA before all these other coaches (Coach K, Roy Williams, etc) are. And it could be sooner than later with the relationship he and KD have.

  8. Some day is not gonna be soon… His wife has real strong ties in the area. And has a nursing career…cardiac unit nurse at a Hartford area hospital. I think he stays in Connecticut for awhile.

    as for an area team signing him: I don’t see him going to the Knicks and the Nets seem to be blocked. Celtics? nawww… then I’d have to root agin him.

    Remember I’m from Connecticut and the news media here have a lot more than you guys hear. All the NBA rumors are rampant but most sources here say he’s most likely staying at UConn.

    Not saying shit can’t happen and some NBA team can’t steal him away with a ridiculous offer but I don’t see it happening.

  9. Phil Jackson will have a hard time turning things around in New York. The problem is not the lack of talent with the Knicks but its the immaturity and lack of chemistry.

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