New York Knicks: Top 5 Head Coaching Candidates

Apr 10, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks interim head coach Kurt Rambis reacts against the Toronto Raptors during the second half at Madison Square Garden. The Raptors defeated the Knicks 93-89. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 10, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks interim head coach Kurt Rambis reacts against the Toronto Raptors during the second half at Madison Square Garden. The Raptors defeated the Knicks 93-89. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports /

Who are the most likely candidates to get the New York Knicks’ head coaching job?

With 8 teams left in the mix for this year’s title, the New York Knicks are spending their spring deciding who will be patrolling the sidelines next season. A lot of names have been in circulation, some already finding destinations in other cities, and others taking interviews around the league, leaving the Knicks coaching, “Vacancy,” very much in question.

Vacancy is used lightly, because technically, Kurt Rambis is still the team’s head coach. But nothing Phil Jackson and the Knicks’ front office has done this offseason so far has indicated that Rambis will remain. So, who will be?

With some realistic, and not so realistic options out there, I decided to list the Top 5 most realistic candidates to be the man calling the shots next season for the blue and orange.

  1. The Commentators (Jeff Van Gundy & Mark Jackson)

As big of a loss as it would be to the ESPN broadcast crew, it would also be great to see Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson back courtside. It’s become a bit of a blur over the past couple of years because they’ve become very likable in the booth, but let’s not forget these men weren’t perfect coaches. Van Gundy, the former Knicks coach, had his fair share of issues in New York, and carried more bags under his eyes than the team flight.

And Mark Jackson didn’t get along with the front office in Golden State for various reasons, causing him to be run out of town. And we all know where the Warriors stand now, post-Jackson.

Both of these ideas are extremely farfetched, but it’s still fun to think about.

Likelihood: 0.5/10

  1. Patrick Ewing

It’s not very likely, but it’s not something to completely discredit. After all, Patrick Ewing is the Knicks’ all-time leading scorer, has a soft spot for the Big Apple, and is already on the coaching prowl. The current associate head coach for the Charlotte Hornets, a team already eliminated from the postseason, is already going on interviews.

Ewing was scheduled to meet with the Sacramento Kings to potentially fill their coaching vacancy this week.

However, Ewing would most definitely jump at the chance to coach in New York. “If the Knicks called me and offered me a position and gave me an interview, I think it would be great. Naturally, I’d love to be back in New York,” Ewing told The Vertical back in March. With the Sacramento Kings becoming the Cleveland Browns of the NBA, the Knicks may be the more appealing job.

The question remains, why haven’t the Knicks reached out to their former star?

Likelihood: 2/10

  1. The First Ever Coaching Duo (Kurt Rambis & Phil Jackson)

Innovative or stupid? We’re not sure which way the pendulum would swing if the Knicks decided to become the first team ever to have two coaches. In theory, Phil Jackson would coach home games only, and Rambis would travel with the team, serving as head coach for road games.

I would assume he would also patrol the sidelines as an assistant coach for the games Jackson is present for.

It would be a complicated, unprecedented situation, and no one is sure exactly how/if it would work. How much confidence would a move like this really show the Knicks have in Rambis? How would Jackson develop a rapport with the players only coaching 41 games?

It’s an experiment a turbulent team like the Knicks can’t afford to perform.

Likelihood: 4/10

  1. David Blatt

The Phil Jackson of Europe, and the former coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers interviewed with the Knicks last Monday. On Sunday, it was reported that a deal between the Knicks and Blatt, “Is close.”

Blatt never really had a fair shot with Cleveland. LeBron James was the coach of that team, and everyone knows it. He took Cleveland to the NBA Finals in his first year coaching in the Association, and they had the best record in the Eastern Conference when he was fired.

Even current Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue was quoted saying that it would be great if Blatt were offered a coaching job because, “He deserves it.”

Could this be a near done deal? It seems David Blatt could actually be a good fit in New York as he is willing to run Phil Jackson’s triangle offense. He also has experience coaching stars, so managing Carmelo Anthony may be something Blatt can handle.

This would be an intriguing signing for the Knicks.

Likelihood: 6.5/10

  1. Kurt Rambis

Despite all the rumors and hearsay, the most likely scenario is that Kurt Rambis remains the head coach for at least next season, whether Knick fans will be happy with it or not. Rambis, who took over as interim head coach in February after Jackson’s first hire, Derek Fisher, was fired, seems to be the strongest option in Phil Jackson’s opinion right now. Why? Their long-lasting relationship.

The two have ties going back to the Lakers days, developing a professional relationship all the way back in 2001. “He knows the ins and outs, what pleases me, and what I want to probably change,” said Jackson on his relationship with Rambis. It’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know, and despite an 8-16 record this season, and multiple failed coaching attempts on his resume, it looks like it’s’ still Rambis’ job job to lose.

Likelihood: 9/10

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No matter who it ends up being though, let’s just hope Carmelo Anthony has a say.