The New York Knicks are in negotiations with Kurt Rambis on a new contract for a position on Jeff Hornacek's coaching staff, league sources told ESPN.
Rambis was given serious consideration for the Knicks' head-coaching vacancy, but the club ultimately decided to hire Hornacek, leaving Rambis' future with the team in limbo.
Hornacek has signed off on adding Rambis to his staff, sources say, and while Rambis still had one year remaining on his current contract, the sides decided to negotiate a new deal.
Sources say Hornacek ultimately made the decision to hire Rambis. "Nothing is being forced down Jeff's neck," one source with knowledge of the dynamic said, in reference to the idea that team president Phil Jackson would force Hornacek to hire Rambis. Sources told ESPN's Ramona Shelburne that Hornacek had initially discussed the job with Rambis a few weeks ago, but Rambis did not immediately accept, telling Hornacek he should take time to really think through his staff and what he needed before making this decision.
Hornacek and Rambis have a long-standing friendship dating back to their playing days together with the Phoenix Suns in the late '80s and early '90s. Rambis offered Hornacek a job on his staff when he was head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves between 2009 and 2011, a source told Shelburne. Hornacek also discussed bringing Rambis onto his staff in Phoenix when he coached there from 2013 to 2016.
Rambis' deal hadn't been finalized as of Wednesday afternoon but the coach played a significant role in the club's free-agent mini camp at the practice facility earlier in the day, according to sources.
Jackson publicly endorsed the idea of bringing Rambis back on staff in an interview with SportsNet New York on Monday.
The team president said Rambis "fits in a number of ways" as a potential addition to Hornacek's staff. He added that Rambis, who served as an associate head coach under former head coach Derek Fisher, "has a great idea of what we're trying to get accomplished, and I think he can help Jeff feel his way through this club and find the best way to play." The New York Post reported on Tuesday that "talks" between Hornacek and Rambis are "going well."
Hornacek is also expected to add former Phoenix Suns assistant Jerry Sichting to his staff. The coach additionally will have to make decisions on assistants Brian Keefe, Josh Longstaff, Rasheed Hazzard and Jim Cleamons.