Knicks assistant coach Kurt Rambis is "beyond unpopular" with Knicks players, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.
"...Kurt Rambis, who is beyond unpopular with the players, league sources said. When players want coaching and teaching, they get yelling, sources said. Most wonder about Rambis' allegiances, because after all, he's Jackson's guy, not Hornacek's," Wojnarowski reports.
Phil Jackson pushed for Rambis, who finished last season as the team's interim coach, to get the permanent title of head coach last offseason. Jackson ended up hiring Jeff Hornacek as the team's head coach, but Rambis was kept as an assistant coach on Hornacek's staff.
Jackson has always put his support behind Rambis, including during last week's season-ending press conference.
Rambis was brought on as an assistant coach under Derek Fisher in the summer of 2014. He went 9-19 as interim head coach of the Knicks during the 2015-2016 season.
Rambis has been praised for his defensive awareness and clearly has knowledge of the triangle offense. After being a key cog on Phil Jackson's staff and winning a multitude of NBA championships as a Lakers assistant, his success at this level is undeniable.
That being said, his communication skills appear to be lacking, especially as it relates to this generation's players. Personalities vary and the players in 2017 are much different than they were 10-20 years ago. There are so many things to consider, including the way these players communicate, receive their information, etc. Rambis hasn't seemed to make the necessary adjustment.
As a member of a support staff, Rambis adds value. As a definitive leader, however, his failures as a head coach should speak for themselves. What's more, Phil Jackson asserted during his recent press conference that Rambis was normally the most outspoken coach when it came to New York's strategy on defense. The Knicks struggled mightily on that end of the floor this season, so he either failed to convey the right message or communicate in an effective way.
Rambis' reputation as Jackson's guy likely hurts his favor with the players as well. Carmelo Anthony's teammates did not take kindly to the executive's treatment of the star. It also created a cloud of negativity over the team all season long. If Rambis is to be considered an extension of Jackson, that can't be perceived in a positive light.
This year's team had new faces, but plenty of returning players as well. Those who were around during Rambis' short but poor tenure as Knicks' head coach might not hold him in very high regard because of that. Coincidentally enough, Rambis' isolation and public treatment of Arron Afflalo were arguably similar (albeit it, to a much lesser extent) to Jackson's disregard for Anthony. It's difficult for players to be motivated under such leadership.