Only Phil's inner circle need apply?

As the Knicks coaching search nears the two-month mark, many wonder why team president Phil Jackson hasn't reached out to ex-Knick point guard Mark Jackson or ex-Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy to interview for the opening.

Instead of talking to coaches with experience on the bench, Jackson has focused his search on two men new to coaching with whom he has a previous relationship: Steve Kerr and Derek Fisher.

Earlier this month, Jackson explained the rationale behind talking only to those in his "circle."

"I have a big circle," Jackson said with a grin.

He added, "I'd like to have a prior relationship with a coach so that we know that we’ve gone through some kind of issues together. We’ve dealt with some kind of battle situations. We’ve had conflicts, we’ve had disagreements and we know how to work things out. Those, I think, are part and parcel I think to having a relationship with people that can work together that can still disagree and come to terms."

Given that statement, it's fair to assume that unless things fall through with Jackson's pursuit of Fisher, he won't be scheduling any interviews with Van Gundy or Mark Jackson.

Sources told ESPN.com that Jackson also hasn't entirely ruled out talking with Mark Jackson, who has rejoined ESPN as a broadcaster after his dismissal by the Warriors. But sources insist that Jackson's preference is to hire a young coach who he can mold.

Other candidates on Jackson's short list include Kurt Rambis, who worked as an assistant to the ousted Mike D'Antoni with the Lakers last season, and current D-League developmental coach Luke Walton of the L.A. D-Fenders. Sources told ESPN.com earlier this week that Rambis and Walton are more likely regarded as potential assistants for the eventual coach.

Jackson was asked last week if he thought hiring a younger coach without much experience was an advantage in the New York market.

"I'm thinking about Don Nelson coming in here, and Lenny Wilkens coming in here, Hall of Fame coaches that were unsuccessful coming in and coaching the Knicks ... I think the fan core deserves kind of an unbiased [coach]. You [reporters] will do your research and find the nooks and crannies about all these guys that are proposed, but they will come in without a bias that will have an open, clean slate to kind of work with. I think there is something in that that appeals to me," Jackson said.

The Zen Master added that his search isn't limited to coaches with little to no experience.

"There are other guys out there that have coached that are busy, that have jobs, also [who] I would welcome as coaches but they have jobs. and ... there's some college guys I'm even interested in. I shouldn't even say even, but I'm interested in could come in and do this and have experience. So it's not limited in that way."

He also made it clear that he's not looking for a coach to come in for one or two seasons while the Knicks look to rebuild.

"I want to assure you that whoever the coach is and is the choice, will be a person that understands the direction I'm trying to create for this basketball team. And will have the attributes that are really necessary to bring this franchise along and not just for a stop-gap measure but for a duration of time."

Question: Do you agree with Jackson's approach of interviewing only those with whom he has a previous relationship?

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