Rambis Hire Fraught With (Real Or Imagined) Intrigue For 2013-14, Beyond

Phoenix Suns v Minnesota Timberwolves


HANG TIME SOUTHWEST — Kurt Rambis is back with his beloved Los Angeles Lakers — not reunited with Phil Jackson, but aligned with Mike D’Antoni — as the Hollywood subplots thicken yet again [insert suspenseful organ music here].

On the surface, Rambis is a great hire. He’s had three previous stints with the team he won four championships with, playing the role of the blue-collar banger, the garbage man on a team of stars. Known for being more of a defensive mind, he should serve well his new boss who has been a little light on ‘D’ wherever he’s been and will never make it as a Tom Thibodeau stunt double.

On Monday, the Lakers announced the hiring of Rambis and longtime assistant Johnny Davis. Earlier in the month, Mark Madsen was elevated as a member of D’Antoni’s revamped staff for the mystery that is the 2013-14 season.

“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,” D’Antoni said in statement.

Rambis went 32-132 in two seasons at Minnesota, but, after all, that was with those Timberwolves. But Rambis did go 24-13 with the Lakers after Del Harris got the boot following a 6-6 start to that lockout-shortened season. Jackson began his first L.A. run the next season.

Rambis’ latest return to the Lakers comes eight months after he first unpacked his whiteboard. Five games into last season and Rambis was set to check out of both his ESPN and local L.A. analyst chairs for a red-carpet return to the bench. When the Lakers canned Mike Brown it certainly appeared that the great one — ”11 Rings” Jackson — would descend from the Montana mountaintop and right-hand Rambis would be right behind him.

“They had told Phil that it was his job [in a Saturday interview], that he was their first choice, and they agreed to wait until Monday … to allow him time to digest whether or not he felt he was, in fact, the right coach to come and coach this team,” Rambis told USA TODAY Sports on Nov. 12. “And, in fact, his agent [Todd Musburger] flew into town — he’s here from Chicago — to start negotiations. So Phil had made his mind up that he wanted to coach this team. Somewhere between Saturday afternoon, when Phil and I had a conversation, and Sunday night, the Laker organization made a complete 180-degree turn.”

In the ugly aftermath, Rambis wasn’t shy about criticizing D’Antoni’s coaching from whichever analyst chair he occupied.

Now, he’s just happy to be a member of D’Antoni’s staff, as he tweeted Monday.

At D’Antoni’s last stop, he also made a mid-stint hire to bring in the more defensive-set Mike Woodson from the Atlanta Hawks prior to the 2011-12 season. Seven months later, the embattled D’Antoni resigned and Woodson was named interim coach, and later had the interim tag removed.

D’Antoni hiring Rambis can be interpreted as a smart move to bring in a longtime Kobe Bryant ally, a decision some might say reveals a flexible side to the coach when he’s so often criticized for inexplicable rigidity. Or it can be viewed as management’s way of moving in a ready-made interim in case things dip in a southerly direction and smoke signals must go out to Jackson.

Or, maybe this interesting hire simply indicates the Lakers are moving to sign another Rambis guy from his past Lakers days — Lamar Odom.


  1. FrankL2010 says:

    Kobe, please tell Jim and Mitch to sign Lamar and Sasha again 🙂

  2. mark a gabriel says:

    I’m a die hard laker nation fan I hope my Lakers get Lamar Odom.

  3. E-Dubbz says:

    All I can say is WOW! Jeanie, Phil, are you watching this? .. Magic Johnson?

  4. Justin says:

    hahahah rambis.. the worst coach in the nba!!!!! lakers ur just setting ur self up for failure

  5. FrankL2010 says:

    *** I would love to see Lamar and Sasha be in purple and gold again (worth a try, who knows?).

  6. FrankL2010 says:

    Rambis knows Lakers players, at least. I would to see Lamar and Sasha be in purple and gold again (worth a try, who knows?). Mike D? Uhmmm not a players’ coach, he doesn’t even know how to use player and have them show their maximum potential

  7. PAPA says:

    One thing for sure, all the decisions that Jim Butt has been making ever since he took over have lead to this team to a disaster ending. Can someone please explainwhat is going on with the lakers?? Kobe has a few years to go in his career and this idiot is making the worse decisions, first by hiring Mike Brown and then choosing Dumtoni instead of the Zen master…

    A message to all the lakers fans, we have to keep on forcing our opinion and requesting the best for the lakers and not keep quiet and let this idiot lead this ball club down the drain…we need to send out messages and speak out for the best of our club….

  8. lee says:

    it doesnt matter who takes over this team is going to barely make the playoffs if the even do i honestly dont see it happening this team is done i can think of alot of teams better on paper with better coaches i think the nuggets have a better chance then the lakers and its going to bea roughseason for them 2

  9. JPH says:

    D’Antoni is a brilliant basketball mind, special in his way. He’s also a good person, a good leader, a good coach, and the Lakers’ demise has nothing to do with him. Period.

  10. Craig says:

    I would even consider training Kobe, They have nothing to lose.

  11. purpngold says:

    Good ol Jimmy finally made a good coaching hire. Rambis will make a better coach once Dantoni is gone. Thank heavens, there is still hope.

  12. Unkle Daddy says:

    These is the beginning of the end for D’Antoni. Rambis will take over mid season, hopefully we’ll never see D’Antoni on the sidelines again.

  13. B Radd says:

    Jim Buss lost it before he even made it. Up in smoke is where the Lakers organization is headed. D’Antoni will not succeed. Kurt Rambis is not the answer. The Laker’s only chance is to liquidate and start collecting draft picks. Stop trying to put superteams together. Only Pat Riley has that kind of influence, no one else.