Funny how times change. When Phil Jackson took over as the New York Knicks’ president of basketball operations in 2014, part of the appeal for Knicks fans was that there was finally someone in the organization with enough clout to keep James Dolan out of the way. Now, Dolan may be saving Jackson from himself. The New York Daily News‘ Frank Isola reports that Dolan may be opposed to Jackson’s preferred coaching candidate, Kurt Rambis, and that Jackson and Knicks GM Steve Mills recently met with Frank Vogel about the job:
Phil Jackson met face-to-face with former Indiana Pacers head coach Frank Vogel last week, the Daily News has learned.
The clandestine meeting, which is believed to have taken place in Los Angeles, also included Knicks general manager Steve Mills, according to a team source.
Kurt Rambis, David Blatt and Vogel are the top three candidates for one of the more coveted NBA jobs. Jackson’s meeting with Vogel also raises further questions as to whether Garden chairman James Dolan is opposed to signing off on Jackson’s preferred choice, Rambis.
Let’s be clear: until the Knicks call a press conference announcing a non-Rambis hire, fans aren’t out of the woods yet. But the fact that Jackson and Mills are at least meeting with other, better candidates like Vogel and Blatt means there’s a chance common sense will prevail. Vogel even appears open to running some elements of the triangle, according to ESPN.com’s Ian Begley:
Vogel did not run the triangle offense in Indiana but has spoken publicly about his respect for Jackson in the past.
“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. “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.”
Whatever it takes to throw someone in front of Rambis.