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Jim Cleamons has expressed interest in joining Phil Jackson's staff, according to the New York Post, but his more likely fate would be as an assistant instead of a head coach, if Jackson makes the 64-year-old an offer.
Bill Cartwright has interviewed with Jackson already, per the New York Daily News, but he too is more likely to end up an assistant. Over parts of three seasons coaching the Chicago Bulls, Cartwright's career record is 51-100.
ESPN Los Angeles' Ramona Shelburne reported that triangle disciple Kurt Rambis would be a candidate for the Knicks' opening immediately after Steve Kerr opted for the Golden State Warriors' job. He'd be yet another fit as an assistant—a role he has served with the Los Angeles Lakers for a bulk of the last 20 years—to help guide a young coach preaching the triangle.
As Minnesota Timberwolves head coach from 2009-10 through 2010-11, he went just 32-132 and famously advised Kevin Love not to shoot three-pointers.
Phil Jackson met with Mike Dunleavy Sr. near the draft combine, according to Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com. He also formally interviewed with the Los Angeles Lakers just days later, so speculation here is that Dunleavy's talk with the Zen Master may have consisted of equal parts Knicks questions and Lakers questions.
Brian Shaw was Phil's trendiest assistant during Jackson's latter Lakers year, so it's only natural that he'd emerge as New York's top choice, according to the New York Post.
The only hurdle is that Shaw is under contract with the Denver Nuggets, and team president Josh Kroenke told Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, "I don't foresee a scenario or circumstance where he's going to be anywhere but with the Nuggets next season."
At the end of May, Jackson spoke to reporters about the team's coaching search and specifically ruled out Shaw. He noted that Denver would demand compensation for letting the second-year coach out of his contract—compensation the Knicks wouldn't be able to muster.
"Brian is under contract with Denver, and Denver has everything that we owned for the last few years so there’s nothing else I want to give them," Jackson said, per the Miami Herald.
If he could, he probably would. But Jackson's health renders his coaching career essentially over at this point, although the Knicks have made sure to leave the door cracked ever so slightly open since Jackson was brought in.
During an interview with ESPN Radio in New York, owner James Dolan said he didn't "think" Jackson would be coaching the Knicks. "We didn't bring him in to do that," he said, according to Basketball Insiders' Tommy Beer.
Sure, the Knicks didn't bring him in with those intentions, but if the circumstances were extenuating...
On May 30 during a session with beat reporters, Jackson said, via ESPN New York, "Unless the Lord heals in me in the next week or two, I wouldn't see myself being physically prepared to take on the grind of coaching a basketball team right now."
Comments like that make you wonder. Phil wants to coach these Knicks, it seems. They'd be no walk in the park to coach, but he is a head coach, after all—maybe the best ever. If it were up to him, he might throw in the towel on this search and call on himself to carry out the coaching duties.
But Phil has admitted defeat. He can't do it due to his health, and now he'll need to trust someone else to do the job he knows best.