Keith SchlosserDating back to Steve Kerr’s candidacy for the Knicks’ head coaching job, there were also many other names from Phil Jackson’s inner circle swirling around.
One of them was Luke Walton, a former Lakers’ champion who spent last season as a player development assistant in the D-League. As fate would have it, Jackson and Walton have not spoken since the Knicks’ attention shifted from Kerr to Derek Fisher (Begley, June 7).
It would appear that, given those comments, Walton was being considered as a candidate for an assistant job (alongside Kerr), rather than the head coaching one. Still, given Walton’s relationship with Fisher from their time in Los Angeles, one would think there’s an even better fit there, than there would have been with Kerr.
By now, it’s clear that as close knit as Jackson’s inner circle really is, it’s still quite large. There are plenty of candidates to choose from and fill out the coaching staff. But will there be enough spots to go around for all those being considered? That is the question.
In addition to Walton, Bill Cartwright is still waiting in the wings. The likes of Jackson-confidants Jim Cleamons, Kurt Rambis, and Frank Hamblen have all been mentioned as well.
As a young and somewhat inexperienced coach, Walton surely meets some of the qualifications Jackson has in mind for a potential head coach. But with Fisher the primary target, some of the more veteran staffers may take priority over Walton as assistant candidates to fill out the staff with and support Fisher.