The imprint Kurt Rambis has left on the Lakers stems nearly everywhere.
He became the Lakers’ coveted reserve during the “Showtime Era.” Rambis once served as interim coach during a lock-out shortened season. He became a Lakers’ assistant with for head coaches that served as one of the franchise’s most popular (Phil Jackson) and most reviled (Mike D’Antoni). Rambis even had a role in the Lakers’ front office.
Rambis interviewed with Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak and executive vice president of player personnel Jim Buss on Tuesday regarding their vacant head coaching position, according to a league source familiar with the discussions, making it possible he could add yet another line on his purple-and-gold colored resume.
The Lakers have interviewed other candidates with past ties to the Lakers, including Mike Dunleavy and Byron Scott. The Lakers will also interview other veteran candidates, including Alvin Gentry on Wednesday and Lionel Hollins on Thursday, according to league sources familiar with the discussions. The Cleveland Cavaliers will also interview with Gentry on Friday and Hollins sometime next week.
The Los Angeles Times first reported the developments surrounding the Lakers’ interview with Rambis.
Rambis would be a familiar presence if the Lakers hired him. He won four NBA championships during the Showtime Era. Rambis spent seven seasons as an assistant under Jackson when he won two of his five NBA championships with the Lakers. He held several front office positions, while his wife, Linda, has also worked as the Lakers’ manager for special projects.
Incidentally, Rambis served as an assistant last season under D’Antoni where he oversaw a Lakers defense than ranked last in nearly every statistical category, including 29th in total team defense (109.2 points per game), 24th in defensive field-goal percentage (46.8) and 30th in fast-break points allowed (16.7). But it remains unclear to what degree Rambis had authority to exert his influence. It did not help the Lakers fielded a roster decimated with injuries and lacked consistent defenders. Nonetheless, Lakers players lauded Rambis for his on-court instruction.
Rambis’ head-coaching stints includes two years with the Minnesota Timberwolves and serving as the Lakers’ interim coach in 1999 after Del Harris was fired. Rambis, who has liked Jackson’s triangle system, would likely run a more traditional half-court offense than D’Antoni’s small-ball system.