Golden State Warriors assistant Luke Walton has no current interest in the New York Knicks' coaching gig after talking with Knicks president Phil Jackson, according to the New York Daily News' Frank Isola.
Jackson and Walton discussed the coaching vacancy over the phone, according to the New York Post's Marc Berman, though nothing appears imminent.
It is unclear if and/or when Walton and Jackson will talk again, according to Isola.
Walton, who led the Warriors to a 39-4 record while filling in for head coach Steve Kerr, was granted permission by the Warriors to interview for additional head coaching positions, Berman reported on Saturday.
Walton interviewed for the Brooklyn Nets' head coaching vacancy, according to Berman, but took himself out of consideration. The Nets hired former Hawks assistant Kenny Atkinson on Sunday.
Jackson said he is limiting the coaching search to people he knows, and Walton had played for Jackson and the Lakers from 2003 to 2011.
Two years ago, according to Berman, Walton declined Jackson's offer to be an assistant coach to Derek Fisher, who was hired in June 2014.
Add Walton to the list of candidates we've said Jackson has been accruing for the past several weeks, including David Blatt and Mark Jackson. Isola reports there is no interest "right now," though Walton could wait until after Golden State's season ends before making a decision on his future for two reasons. One, the Warriors season comes first, as does the future health of coach Steve Kerr, so he may want to hang around there for awhile. The other being what happens in Los Angeles with the Lakers. I've been told that John Calipari is the heavy favorite there to replace Byron Scott and possibly Mitch Kupchak, who was noticeably absent from this year's Portsmouth Invitational.
As we've said, Phil Jackson is clearly doing his diligence, so the idea he's married to the idea of hiring Rambis would appear to be misleading. This is an important decision for Phil, who has stated his allegiance to staying in New York and building the Knicks system of basketball.
Walton has long been considered a strong candidate for the Knicks' job. After watching him grow and display a skilled ability to lead the Warriors earlier this season as interim head coach, perhaps Jackson regrets not making a stronger push for him as head coach, as opposed to pulling the trigger on Fisher initially, instead.
Given just how talented they are, one could argue just about anyone could have experienced similar success leading Golden State. But while stepping in for Kerr, Walton showed an aptitude for reacting timely and making late-game changes when his team was faced with even the smallest bit of pressure. He knows how to roll with the punches. There's something to be said about someone whose fingers are constantly on the pulse of a given situation. Fisher had trouble making adjustments.
Walton is a proven winner, not only as a player, but now as a coach as well.
Obviously very familiar with the triangle offense, Walton would likely embrace Jackson's guiding hand. But at this point, he's also been exposed to other winning environments. Someone with a bit of more well rounded experience could benefit the Knicks, because they'll be able to pull from various positive formulas to create a new one to spell potential success in New York. Jackson's vision clearly hasn't been perfect thus far.
Walton has top notch potential, but he obviously isn't all too proven as a head coach. In the Knicks' case, this could still prove to be a good thing. Most candidates Jackson is likely to consider at this point have a poor track record as head coach. Officially (barring his 39-4 record as interim coach earlier this year), Walton has a clean slate.