Mike D’Antoni Hires Assistant Coach Kurt Rambis

by July 30, 2013

As expected, the Los Angeles Lakers officially announced the hiring of assistant coach Kurt Rambis (along with Johnny Davis.) Rambis says he has longtime friend Phil Jackson’s blessing, but maintains his loyalty to Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni. Per ESPN: “Rambis, an ESPN analyst, rejoins the team after serving as an assistant coach on and off between 1999 and 2009; he was the lead assistant from 2001-04 and 2005-09. He has eight championship rings as a player, coach and front-office executive. ‘Kurt is a great basketball mind, extremely good at working with big men and his experience as a head coach in this league is going to prove very helpful to our staff,’ Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said in a statement. Davis brings more than 20 years of NBA coaching experience to the Lakers, including stints as coach for the Orlando Magic (2003-05) and Philadelphia 76ers (1996-97). ‘Johnny is a two-time NBA head coach with years of experience playing as well as coaching in this league,’ D’Antoni said. ‘The vast array of NBA knowledge he brings to the table will be invaluable to us.’ […] ‘Mike and I have known each other for a long period of time,’ Rambis told said. ‘We were coaches in a basketball camp many years ago in Phoenix. The NBA used to have a camp there for draftees and potential draftees that we worked out, so we’ve known each other for a long time. It was a comfortable environment for Mike to just come up and ask if I was interested in getting back into coaching and if I was interested in getting back involved with the Lakers.’ Rambis said former Lakers coach Phil Jackson was in favor of the move. ‘We’re still friends,’ Rambis said of Jackson. ‘We still talk basketball. He’s back in Montana. He’s got a lot of family and friends back there now, so he’s dealing with an awful lot of people at his homes there. So, he’s focusing on them. But, he thinks this is a great opportunity for me and he’s excited about it.’ However, Rambis made it clear that his loyalty is to D’Antoni even though he will maintain a relationship with Jackson.”