NBA Rumors: New York Knicks are interested in hiring Toronto Raptors GM Masai Ujiri if Phil Jackson resigns from his presidential role next season, per fresh reports.
According to Frank Isola of the New York Daily News, Jackson is keen on promoting interim coach Kurt Rambis to a full-time position for next season, a decision that won’t please Knicks owner James Dolan. According to the report, Jackson could threaten to resign if he doesn’t get his way.
Jackson is contracted for another two seasons with an opt out clause ahead of the 2017-18 season. If Dolan were to fire him before that, Jackson would still be guaranteed $12 million a year.
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Rambis to remain coach?
Isola revealed that Irving Azoff, who essentially brought Jackson to New York, will support the Knicks president’s decision to stick with Rambis. “Rambis is Jackson’s one and only choice to coach the team and Jackson even has the blessing of Irving Azoff, the famous manager of the Eagles who brokered the deal with James Dolan to bring Jackson to New York 25 months ago. Azoff, a business partner with Dolan, is also close with Rambis and his wife.”
Coach Rambis has a .284 career winning percentage including an 8-16 record with the Knicks. And yet, Jackson intends to give the former Showtime Laker an extended run as coach. According to Isola, Dolan could intervene and demand for a new coach.
“Rambis and Jackson also need the blessing of Dolan, the Chairman of Madison Square Garden. Dolan reportedly isn’t entirely opposed to Rambis but he’s not quite ready to sign off on hiring him either,” he writes.
Ujiri’s history with Dolan…
If Jackson bolts from New York, Dolan & Co. are keen on hiring Raptors GM Masai Ujiri. “The two (Dolan and Ujiri) worked on the Anthony trade when Ujiri worked for the Denver Nuggets. Ujiri also traded Andrea Bargnani to the Knicks for this year’s first-round pick and was prepared to trade Kyle Lowry to New York a few seasons ago before Dolan vetoed the move,” continues Isola.
Just like Jackson, Ujiri is under contract for another two seasons. Regardless of what transpires, it’s interesting to note that Dolan is already working on back-up plan while Phil Jackson continues to back under-fire coach Kurt Rambis.
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