The New York Knicks are currently trapped in basketball purgatory, and a few key decisions facing the franchise this summer could ultimately determine how long their stay in limbo lasts.
One of the most prominent and puzzling questions at the moment revolves around the team's head coaching situation, which took an unexpected turn when the franchise decided to fire Derek Fisher and name Kurt Rambis as his temporary replacement.
However, a new wrinkle emerged Tuesday when ESPN's Ramona Shelburne reported that 11-ring Zen Master and Knicks president Phil Jackson could conceivably return to the bench next season for half of the Knicks' games.
"There's even talk Jackson could offer to coach home games next season, with Rambis coaching the road games," Shelburne wrote. "It's an offer the late [Los Angeles] Lakers owner Jerry Buss once flatly rejected, but it could be an interesting compromise to hiring Rambis as the head coach next season."
Speaking to reporters Tuesday afternoon, Knicks superstar Carmelo Anthony sounded disenchanted with the theoretical proposal.
"Nah, nah, nah," Anthony said when asked about the proposed coaching setup, per the New York Daily News' Frank Isola. "I don't think that should be accepted. I wouldn't accept that if that was the case."
|Knicks Under Kurt Rambis (Through March 14)|
|W-L||ORtg (Rank)||DRtg (Rank)||Net Rating (Rank)||Pace|
|5-9||104.9 (T-17)||106.3 (16)||-1.3 (17)||95.57 (28)|
Anthony also told reporters that he believes Rambis has earned a shot to interview for the full-time gig but stopped short of flat-out endorsing him.
"I think you consider Kurt (for the full-time) job," Anthony said, per ESPN.com's Ian Begley. "... But I think you still have to at least to listen other candidates out there."
Speaking of other candidates, Shelburne reported that Golden State Warriors assistant Luke Walton "will get a long look this offseason" but added he "is in no hurry to leave the Warriors."
Phil Jackson disciple Brian Shaw is also reportedly "intrigued" by the Knicks job, according to a friend who spoke to the New York Post's Marc Berman, while former Chicago Bulls boss Tom Thibodeau has reportedly long coveted the chance to coach in the Big Apple, per ESPN.com's Ian O'Connor.
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But regardless of which coach Jackson picks, the Knicks can't settle for anything less than a wildly successful summer.
The Knicks are in prime position to woo free agents with "at least $18 million in cap space this summer," per Begley, so this may be the team's big shot to try to convince a superstar like Kevin Durant to come aboard as the salary cap skyrockets.
"They [New York's front office] have an opportunity, we have an opportunity to do something this offseason," Anthony said, per Begley. "We gotta do something. It's there."
With Jackson and Anthony both high-quality pitchmen and the Knicks operating as one of the most prestigious teams in arguably the most compelling market in basketball, New York has a golden opportunity to make a splash and accelerate the rebuild in a big way.